Last week, the comedy was Shakespearean, this week it is what Len fondly calls ‘heritage comedy’- old but good (and as Tommy points out, politically uncorrect) humour. Think second-rate Morecambe and Wise; Cheese and Crackers’ sketches are sufficiently funny to work as both homages and parody. Wisely, Shearsmith and Pemberton do not look back with rose-tinted glasses. Behind Len’s clowning is a lot of tears and behind Tommy’s straight man are mixed feelings of nostalgia and bitterness.
Of course, there’s more behind the behind, all revolving around an event that happened in Bernie Clifton’s dressing room that Tommy cryptically alludes to. One of the joys of Inside No. 9 is how our sympathies are constantly switching over the course of thirty minutes. It’s easy to dismiss Tommy as a killjoy for turning his back on the business, even appearing to sneer at the ‘primitiveness’ of the comedy, and Len brings back fond memories of old-fashioned comedy, but throughout the episode, you constantly have to re-evaluate these initial perceptions.
Unlike Cheese and Crackers, Shearsmith and Pemberton can chalk this up as another successful episode.