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I TALK Catastrophe

I review a lot of comedy on the site, but few have made me laugh as much right from the word go as Catastrophe, Channel 4's latest comedy from Sharon Horgan (Pulling) and Rob Delaney.  

The six-part series follows an Irish woman and an American man who after one drunken night, (well she was drunk, he was sober) make a big mistake. A mistake they're going to have to deal with.

If you think it's a small mistake you're very mistaken (no pun intended), one night of clumsy lust ends in instant pregnancy. When Rob's character, Rob is told by Sharon's character, Sharon, that she is pregnant he decides to fly over from America to London and the two of the give the whole "being in a relationship" thing a go!

But as you can probably imagine from a comedy called Catastrophe it doesn't all go swimmingly...

I'm going to start right at the very beginning... I love the story of how Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney met. Speaking at the launch for the series at BAFTA this week, Sharon said "We met on Twitter. I can't work out if that's a really boring answer or just a modern answer." Rob then revealed how when he found out she was following him on Twitter he contacted Sharon to her that something was wrong with her account, but actually Sharon replied that she was a big fan of his work and really meant to follow him.

"We met five years ago in person, hit it off." Rob said, to which Sharon chipped in with "Yeah, I mean we didn't hit it off immediately. It was very awkward... your profile on Twitter doesn't say who you are. You could have been a massive weirdo!"

Luckily Rob wasn't a weirdo and the two of them did hit off (eventually) and the result of that meet-up five years ago is a very funny Channel 4 comedy. They started writing the pilot in September 2012, shot it in February 2014 so it's taken a fair while for Catastrophe to hit our screens.

Right from the word go, the laughs are there. Catastrophe is funny, and funny in a way that isn't obvious or played for laughs. The more you get to know the two characters the funnier it gets and that laughter can come from not only dialogue, but the mannerisms the two of them have and the unlikely happens... you start to believe the two of them as a couple and weirdly want things to work out between Rob and Sharon.

The inevitable question I guess is whether there are any elements of the real Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan in Catastrophe, to which the answer is yes. Speaking at BAFTA, both actors commented on how their characters are probably 50 per cent them and the more the discussion went on Sharon turned to Rob and said "We shouldn't put so much of us in it!" She also went on to describe how watching it in front of an audience at BAFTA made her "Sweat from her eyeballs" which I thought was an interesting way to describe how nervous she was.

We start the first episode, and indeed the series, with the night the two of them met; the bar, the drinks, the hotel room, the sex. And then weeks later... the pregnancy. That's where the series really begins. As well as having to deal with all the things a pregnancy comes with they have an awful friend, played by Ashley Jensen, who hosts a painfully awkward dinner party in the first episode. And if she wasn't enough of a handful for the couple to deal with, in the second episode we meet Rob's eccentric Bostonian mother who is played by the wonderful Carrie Fisher who evens comes complete with her real-life pug.

So that's what to expect, now please do yourself a favour and tune in at 10pm on Monday or record it, or watch it on demand, or buy the DVD... basically, one way or another make sure you watch Catastrophe because you will not be disappointed, it's comedy, but clever comedy, and fingers crossed there'll be many more series to come. Speaking at BAFTA Sharon expressed that she'd like to have three series of Catastrophe even though Channel 4 are yet to decide on a second!

Catastrophe starts Monday 19th January at 10pm on Channel 4


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