The case for Mock The Week
Mock The Week is clearly the superior show – it's fresher, it's more wide-ranging and it mixes stand up and impressions with headline raking to make sure it's always as shocking as it is sharp. Frankie Boyle is the dark prince of the put-down, and his original partnership with doe-eyed man-child Russell Howard was far more exciting than the stale old rivalry between Ian 'straightman' HislopHislop and Paul 'grumpy git' Merton. Long reigning Mock The Week-er Hugh Dennis clearly knows his stuff (news and comedy) and his impressions say a lot more about the Royals than a tired caption round ever could. Loveable host Dara O'Briain makes sure everyone stays in check, chipping in with his own ready wit.
The Scenes We'd Like To See round is without doubt the most entertaining portion of the show. Not only for the sidesplitting and incredibly fast comedy from the various guests, but for the battle of the egos between Hugh Dennis and well, anyone who tries to get on the microphone. With topics ranging from "Things you wouldn't want to hear at an airport" through to "Unlikely lines from a Harry Potter novel" the comedians' talents are stretched and tested throughout.
Dara O'Briain's chuckles of approval and occasional tut of disapproval (we think it's safe to say he's fed up of Mickey Flanagan yelling out "He couldn't get out of the turning!") speak volumes - you don't get that from all those guest hosts, who tend to look more nervous than the guests, especially when it's Brucie at the helm. Plus Have I Got News For You is to blame for Boris Johnson...
The case for Have I Got News For You
Trying to claim that Mock The Week is superior to the fondly named HIGNFY, is like saying a sixth form skit about the life of Kerry Katona is better than Private Eye. Sure, the whippersnappers have some good one-liners, but if you're looking for satire so sharp you could lance a boil with it there's only one place to turn. Let's be serious, if your idea of political commentary is Andy Parsons then frankly it's no wonder we're all doomed. Is the guy capable of starting a sentence with anything other than "Is it?" It's like listening to a spoilt child at Christmas trying to guess what's inside each of his one hundred hand-wrapped presents – and quite honestly, we don't particularly want to know what he thinks 'it' is.
Ian is Peter Cook's heir apparent, and Paul's the most quick-witted man on the box, hands down. Yes, he's even better than – oh, it's not even worth it, he's better than them all. We've checked. The ever-changing host keeps it lively and the mix of righteous indignation, proper political know-how and oddball guest publications make this a treat for the brain and the funnybone.
In addition, while the scandals of Angus Deayton brought a fair amount of comedy to the show (who can forget that first episode after the scandal broke?) there is a real sense of glee when the team captains are given a chance to heap a tonne of fresh sarcasm onto some poor ill-prepared host. And while we've never actually fully understood the points system (we're pretty sure they just make it up), it's all part of the show's undeniable charm. Plus the expression on Paul's face if Ian records a rare win is priceless.