Bug: a magazine style clip show based around strange and unusual music videos on YouTube and the online audience’s reaction to them.
Rude Tube: a magazine style clip show based around viral videos on YouTube accompanied by interviews with the people who made the films or starred in them.
Adam Buxton is half of alternative comedy duo Adam and Joe and presenter of their popular Channel 4 show, The Adam and Joe Show (1996-2001) The show had a large cult following and led to the Adam and Joe Radio Show (2007-2011) on BBC Radio 6 Music which had approx. 160,000 listeners a week, and 380,000 podcast downloads a month.
Presenters or actors with loyal fans or ‘cult followings’, such as Adam and Joe’s, guarantee a large instant audience base and so are a great anchor for a new TV show.
Adam plays, very much, the underdog and is happy to laugh at himself. He has had mediocre success but he is not mainstream enough that he has ‘sold out’. His show is on Sky Atlantic not Sky One. This is a level of success people are comfortable with, a level they can imagine themselves attaining if they decided to try the role out for themselves, but not too high that they feel resentful and need to knock him.
Alex started his career in comedy, doing well at open mic nights and penning material for The Eleven O’Clock Show (1998-2000) and Smack the Pony (1999-2003) He then moved to London and worked for several alternative/indie stations, including Xfm, where he was suspended over a controversial song he and his team had penned about rape, ‘I Won’t Take No for An Answer’. Although the three of them returned to the show a week later Alex left Xfm, quite abruptly, eight months later.
A year on and he was picked up by NME Radio to co host their Friday night show, Radio Propaganda, with DJ Dan in 2010. During this time he was also signed up by Channel 4 and was soon doing guest appearances on panel show 8 out of 10 Cats and presenting coverage of V Festival.
Alex is not shy of controversy and in 2007 had a very public feud with indie band The Enemy. Refusing to play their songs on his radio show, after they banned him airing an interview recorded with him for Channel 4 music show Popworld. His comedy is also quite controversial, particuarly his performances on prank show Balls of Steel, and I think this made him an ideal choice as the presenter of a show like Rude Tube. He would not be fazed by the more risqué side of comedy, that it reveals, and neither would his fans.
Adam Buxton’s Bug opens with gold bugs running across the screen and finally merging into a hill, above which we see the distinctive Bug logo. The opening titles colours of gold and black are repeated in the set and graphics. The large background screen displays the Bug logo, when not showing video clips, and even Adam’s laptop has the logo design on it, so whichever camera angle is being used we are always reminded of exactly which show we are watching. The colors are quite masculine, hoping to appeal to the ‘hipster’ style of man Adam jokes about himself being and who his audience also identify with.
The Rude Tube logo and set have changed through several series but the set design always contains bright vibrant colors. A rainbow of strong hues; mainly red, blues and purples. Definitely no pastels. I believe these colours have been chosen to appeal to the late teen to early 30’s age group, and like the choices made in Bug’s set design, they also lean towards capturing a male audience. Possibly the very age range of audience Adam Buxton’s previous venture, The Adam and Joe Show, would have been catering to. Like Bug the show’s logo is always present on a screen behind Alex as he presents.
Both the Rude Tube studio and Bug’s make great use of lighting as an injection of colour. Blocks of rainbow coloured lighting on Rude Tube and large lamps with gold filtered light on Bug’s set. Alex’s show can also use much brighter lighting as it is not recorded in front of a live audience, as Bug is.
Both Bug and Rude Tube are clip shows and the internet clips shown have a highly humorous content. Adam (46) and Alex (37) write content for the shows as well as presenting them and after many years in the business know exactly who their target audience is and what makes them happy.
Bug often features music videos and both shows often have a central theme for each episode. The late teen to mid/late twenties, predominantly male, audience Adam had as part of The Adam and Joe Show would now be mid thirties to late forties and looking for a TV show of their own that wasn’t just a replica of Top Gear. Adam’s brand of humor may have matured a little, as he has, but it is still largely the same and as he writes the comedy segments for the show and picks the YouTube clips his fans are guaranteed the humor they’ve come to expect from him and are reassured by the familiar face they grew up with.
Rude Tube’s recent episodes include Cats v Dogs, Prank Bank, 200% Cats and Rudelympics. Mixing the more controversial side of the internet with a guaranteed crowd pleaser, cats doing dumb stuff.
What do you like and why? What would you change?
The YouTube comments read out by Adam Buxton are, by far, my favourite part of the show. It always amuses me how cross people can get with things online and Adam’s choice of unusual voices makes the comments even funnier. Fans have even begun to comment on some heated posts:
My least favourite item on Bug is Adam’s singing VT’s. I’m really sorry Adam, if you ever come across my blog, I love everything else about your show but The Sushi Song really was terrible. Although still better than The Counting Song, but i’ll leave it here for other people to make their own mind up about it.
On Rude Tube I really like the interviews with the people behind their video clips. It’s amazing to hear the story behind something particuarly bizarre or dangerous on the show or to be surprised that even stranger things happened before the camera started rolling.
If I had the chance I’d like to change the TV studio set for Rude Tube. I love the rainbow of colours they use, and the set photo I featured earlier is an example of when the show has got the design really right, but in some episodes it can begin to look a little garish.
Think of one item idea that would work for each programme.
I think both show’s could benefit from an item that made them more interactive with their audience. I would introduce a Best Internet Clip segment, as voted for each week by the viewers at home. Ten new music videos would be uploaded to the Bug website and ten YouTube videos uploaded to the RudeTube website. Which ever video proved most popular with voting viewers would be played on the show and a prize would awarded to one lucky voter as a lure to get the audience voting.