Apologies for the delay again – now www.colchestercomedyfestival.co.uk is over I should be able to concentrate on the important things in life, like thinking of amusing swearwords to describe this year’s crop of febrile, sharp suited wankclowns.

Week 2 and it’s already the infamous Advertising Task. Hurrah. The teams are summoned to fashion school Istituto Marangoli on London’s “Fashion Street” erm Fashion Street. I like the idea of naming streets after the things in them. Perhaps we could rebrand Downing Street as Shit Street?

We’re treated to a fashionable glimpse of builders cleavage from one of the boys and Karthig (for ease of typing, not that I’m a friend or fan he will be “K” to me from now on – like in Kafka novels but without the sympathy for the hero) demonstrates his fashion know-how (“You only wear black shoes to go to a funeral”).

Inside the fashion school we’re treated to a lot of shots of plastic dummies – but as well as the candidates there’s also a load of mannequins being shunted around on rails. Sugar sets them the challenge to brand and advertise (TV ad, bus shelter poster and digital billboard) jeans made from Japanese denim then pitch to “jeans leaders” and top advertising execs. The losers, Sugar promises will be “fired.. or hung out to dry” he indicates the dummies on the rails… “like one of those things over there” (thanks for explaining that Lord Sugar).

K declares he would be the best model for the advert and I don’t think he’s joking (“If I wanted to be like everyone else I would have plucked my monobrow… but I don’t want to be like everyone else.. everyone wants to be like me”).

Rebecca with her marketing skillz volunteers to lead the girls team, but Jess buts in citing her top Fashion Brand experience as the reason she should be PM. So there’s a vote. Amongst 8 of them. 8 hands go up, but someone tells Rebecca “You can’t vote for yourself”. “I suppose that’s stupid” Rebecca simpers and puts her hand down. Jess wins. It takes a while for Rebecca to do a massive “HANG ON!” and by then it’s too late. I really worry Trump is going to try this tactic.

Mukai is elected boys team leader because of his marketing experience and they’re already brainstorming names. JD likes “Itchi ban” which makes me think of some sort of jeans induced arse crack rash. I think it’s Courtney who goes for “Emo Jeans” (imagine the tagline: “Emo Jeans – they cut themselves”) and they all love it except Mukai who vetoes it and imposes “Day After Yesterday” (“Which is ALWAYS today!” he says smugly – the boys look blank) – shortened to D.A.Y. (I honestly think they might have been onto a better seller with “Generation After Yesterday”).

Jess suggests Unclaimed and Rebecca gets all excited (“It’s like taking a selfy… claiming your own look” – she doesn’t appear to understand what the prefix “Un” does to the meaning of a word), but she’s still cruelly dispatched by Jess to cover packaging (Rebecca “not branding which I do every day”?). Jessica’s losing it already and declares she wants quality from her branding “I don’t want any dog masks or anything like that!” (I am sure she said this but WTF? Does she think the task is related to dogging?). In the car she confides to Alana and Aleksandra that she has no faith in Rebecca as a subteam leader but they both stress that sacking Rebecca at this stage would “completely destabilise the team” (as though it’s stable now). They all go and get feedback from “luxury shoppers” (or some women) who say they would be motivated to by jeans if the model looked good in them and the fabric felt nice (whereas I would be motivated to buy jeans if they were made out of something stretchy and fluffy that doesn’t make your stomach look like an action man if you’ve been wearing it all day.

The boys have the great idea of unisex jeans and scour the streets for their chosen yoof market rejecting hipsters over the age of 20 for being “too old” like they’re the ruling elite in Logan’s Run. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that if it’s hard finding their key demographic on the high street either they’re in the wrong place or focussing on the wrong demographic.

Dillon shows his artistic flare by taking about six hours to declare yellow a unisex colour and designs a yellow label “DAY Denim” to K’s chagrin (“Why do you have to say denim?” “You need to think about straplines?” “Give me attention Waaaah!”). “Can you talk quieter” Dillon the artiste asks tetchily “I can’t be interrupted in my thinking process”. Finally Dillon’s ready to run his design past the PM but Mukai’s not interested (“STOP STOP STOP!”) and hangs up. Even Claude’s shocked.

Rebecca has come up with a strapline (once they figure out this isn’t part of the actual jeans!) for UNclaimed and triumphantly writes “Claim YOUR fit” on the whiteboard to the annoyance of me and any other friends of grammar. She chooses grey for her design (“A nice neutral colour”) as it matches her personality.

Jess takes her team to the photo shoot in Bloomsbury where there’s just one teensy problem – they’ve lost the jeans. “I want a clean image” Jess says. Invisible jeans would be pretty damn clean. “So you’re doing photos for your jeans campaign without jeans” Karren remarks acidly and Jess suffers a meltdown so spectacular that even for her you can tell she’s having a bad time. Karren sends her out to gulp down some fresh air and calm down so that everyone else can raise their eyebrows and shrug at each other. Finally the jeans show up and for some reason Aleksandra and Trishna model them wearing unmatching shoes. Alana’s wearing a “We’re doomed face” (“We’re going to lose again and it’s just embarrassing”) and tries to encourage Jess to come up with a clear concept that runs through all the marketing strands, but Jess is having none of it (“You’re coming up with problems to our solutions!”). “OK” Alana concedes glumly.

At the boys photoshoot Mukai also doesn’t have any jeans but when he calls the subteam no-one answers because Dillon’s too busy testing out his gaydar on the series of young buff models he’s auditioning. “Imagine you’re flirting with somebody” he tells buff boy whilst sidling up to him and giggling. In the end he only sends one model to the photoshoot as he’s locked all the others in a cupboard somewhere.

Whilst the girls record a jingle for their interactive bus shelter display (as though bus shelters weren’t hellish enough already), for some strange reason Dillon records himself making phone noises and random sounds like he’s a fricking starling or something. After all the dicking about they miss the deadline for the digital display and Paul looks like he wants to force feed him that bloody bow tie. JD cheers them up by reeling off a cavalcade of chirpy clichés (“It’s ok we knock out a video win the challenge win the treat bish bosh bash punch Lord Sugar in the bollocks job done!” etc). When K eagerly positions himself to win Dillon’s throne as sub team leader, Mukai himself moves to lead that team causing K’s monobrow to furrow in scuppered rage.

Jess is determined on day two that there will be no repeat of yesterday’s “comedy of errors” and decides that silencing her colleagues will improve her chances of success (“People keep chippin in an cloudin mah vision”). She moves Rebecca to the B team and keeps Aleksandra (“I loved your input” i.e. Aleksandra did not question her, unlike Alana who’s dispatched to the other team as far away from Jess as possible. Lucky Alana).

Both teams work on their packaging with Rebecca selecting what looks like a cross between a giant coffee cup and toilet roll tube to bring that luxury feel (Jess: “Ah think that’s really luxurious”) whereas the boys go for broke on the Japanese theme with quite pleasant cherry blossom lining bearing the legend “Made in Japan”. They extol the virtues of a “nice box” (not in a Donald Trump locker room way) and Olly rather sweetly declares he “kept a fragrant box for 15 years.. it now stores mini disks” much to Claude’s amusement.

The girls appear to have set their TV ad in an empty Tiger Tiger which supposedly represents a Japanese restaurant. Jess yammers at Grainne to do make-up and Natalie to erm.. oh she’s forgotten what Natalie is meant to do. Not sure if Natalie knows to be honest. They’ve obviously brain stormed Japan and the only thing they could think of was sushi (I suppose I should be grateful they haven’t got slightly more brain cells or we may have ended up with Hara Kiri jeans or something). “The next best thing to Japanese food” simpers the actress “is the jeans they make” (well it’s what we were all thinking isn’t it?). “Fierce!” yells Jess. The next scene is viewed creepily from the gap under the loo door where the model is turning up the jean hems supposedly to claim her look but you worry she might have just got some wee on them or something. Things take a turn for the worse when the girls select Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off to accompany this imagery.

In Brixton Dillon’s direction of the yoof epic “The Skateboard Jeans Massacre” is reminiscent of Roger De Bris from “The Producers” (“Clear the set please SOfiane!”) . K sits on the skatepark wall telling everyone how great he is (“God it’s so hot.. I feel like stripping but I don’t want it to be a meat market with all the chicks looking at me”). Dillon edits, but K wants to play with the editing suite. “No” warns Mukai. “Why not? Are you scared?” K challenges. Mukai asks for feedback on the rough cut “Does that make sense?”. “No it doesn’t” whines K “I want to spend 5 minutes with it” and he descends into a flailing tantrum when they all try to pretend he’s not actually there. JD eventually can take it no longer “Please! For the love of god stop talking” he pleads.

The bus shelters are unveiled on Oxford Street and UNCLAIMED is barely visible so pale is Rebecca’s chosen grey. The #ClaimYourFit digital display allowing people to upload their own selfies onto it is possible, the only possible flaw being the selfies show their faces and not their fecking jeans. I suppose at least it’s a display as the boys bus shelter simply sounds like a slightly muted Klunk from Dastardly and Muttley is hiding behind it. At least it gives the advertising execs a good giggle when they go to check it out.

It’s nearly pitch o clock and Jess is keeping calm and shouting agitatedly at everyone. “Will you be comfortable being calm.. calm is key here” Aleksandra soothes. “Thanks” snaps Jess cattily “I didn’t realise that!” As the other girls are forced to sit in their own bus shelter, Jess delivers the pitch (a jumble of buzzwords) at breakneck speed and Rebecca wanly spouts branding bollocks (“It encapsulates the feeling of owning your own look and claiming that look” WHAT?!) as the rest of Nebulous coo dreamily “ooh isn’t she doing well”. Everyone looks suitably baffled at the advert, which would make more sense if it had the dancing dwarf from Twin Peaks turn up in it. Aleksandra gamely tries to sell that cardboard tube packaging as “luxury” (“It has some weight to it like a beautiful diamond would if you held it”) but the execs think their messages are mixed as the packaging is more suited to older consumers whereas the advert targets younger people.

It’s the DAY of the denim and Mukai stumbles incoherently before admitting he’s “completely fluffed it” and handing over to JD who delivers his branding summary in a pseudo pally manner (“After a couple of cheesy conversations we thought this is a good name yes.. DAY jeans”). Way to come across as professional and reliable – it’s akin to saying “You can trust us – we’re a bit shit”.

I do love their advert which probably does capture the spirit of today’s yoof in that when the boy in it falls off his skateboard the woman is more concerned over whether he’s torn his jeans. It ends with her breathing “Always Japanese” and him responding “Definitely cool” like they’re speaking Pokemon or something.

They come unstuck when asked to explain the unisex idea by stating that they would obviously have different cuts and designs for girls and boys which undermines the whole idea of “unisex”. Outside Paul’s getting very Hulk Smashy at how badly the once Mighty Titans are going to lose.

The experts grass up the teams to Sugar and it’s time for the boardroom. Whilst Dillon is getting flack for being too much of a perfectionist, K chips in continuously before Sugar gently suggests its wise to leave the expert to do their thing and “shut up” if you don’t have anything constructive to say. Like that’s going to stop K – he’s on a mission to be HEARD.

Courtney blames lack of communication with the other team for the missing digital display. Mukai blames Dillon’s team for not contacting him, until Claude points out that they did try but he hung up like a dickie bowed twankard.

DAY’s advert is played and Natalie does a Billy Idol-esque sneery face. Mukai has to admit that his pitch was “unfortunately not perfect” (or even existent). “Was he a good team leader?” Sugar asks. Of course K has the answer immediately “No from my side in my humble opinion”.

Rebecca reveals Jess’s vote gerrymandering and Jess is off with her trademark breathless high speed train crash trying to defend herself over little details like losing the jeans. “I hear you were a little bit flustered” Sugar understates. “She fell apart” Aleksandra corrects him helpfully and Jess turns on her (“The reason ah got so teary and upset is cos everyone was undermining me”).

Natalie gets stick for doing SFA except the models hair and cleaning up (Karren slam: “Not skills Lord Sugar’s looking for”) and Sugar sees Olly as a hanger on too despite the fact he wrote down at least 5 whole market research questions. #GoOlly

It turns out both teams fell for the clever “Japanese” red herring in the original task as it was all meant to be about the jeans (Sugar: “Do you think the customer gives a damn where the denim comes from?”) – naughty! He’s therefore apoplectic about Rebecca’s digital display (Rebecca “It’s about getting the ideal customer to interact with the brand”) which fails to mention or even show jeans. Still at least he gets to deliver the clunky scripted groaner “You wait ages for a terrible bus shelter ad and two come along at the same time”.

Furious that “not one of you geniuses”(Jeaniuses – I see what he did there) managed to run the project properly (“Never mind mad men more like demented dimwits”) Sugar has both teams despatched to cafés of doom and there’s a welcome return for the Bridge Café where Paul is getting very Kray twin (whichever the angrier shoutier one was) at Mukai whereas K just blames anybody who isn’t him.

The girls are having a screaming catfight in the corrugated café of incompetence where Jess thinks they should have all respected her (“who listened to me? NO ONE!”) as she has “a LUXURIOUS womens fashion brand”. “Stop shouting at us” Rebecca pleads meekly. “OH SHUT UP” shouts Jess, bringing Aleksandra into her firing line “I had you two yipping at me ear none stop”. “I thought you said I worked well” Aleksandra retorts. “I just didn’t want to bring your confidence down”. Natalie joins in calling Aleksandra patronising and Trishna looks like she wants to scream (“We’re meant to be grown up women! We’re acting like little schoolgirls”).

Mukai chooses to bring K back in for being disruptive and JD because Mukai is an idiot and didn’t listen when Sugar clearly pointed out Olly as being a bit of a passenger.

Jess brings in Alana who gives her best hacky look for “bringing problems to solutions” (clue -it’s not a solution if there are applicable problems) and Natalie (who gives a deadly revenge stare reminiscent of Uma Thurman in Kill Bill ).


JD predictably fights his corner strong, bringing up Mukai’s pitch not so perfect and slamming K when he tries to interrupt (“I’m talking at the moment you can av your moment …I know you want it”). K still needs Lord Sugar to know that he did all the good things in the task and everyone else was a useless arsehat but Mukai points out that everyone found K disruptive. “Not everyone” K insists disruptively, turning to our bollock headed billionaire peer and pleading “Just give me 10 seconds Lord Sugar”. “You’re not very subtle are you” Sugar observes. K moves from blaming JD for the fail to declaring that it was impossible working for Mukai as he didn’t listen to K’s great ideas.

Jess gets stick for cracking up, so cracks up some more until her train of thought derails. She blames Alana for having a face on (something anyone spending time with Jess should surely sympathise with). Alana calls it correctly as a “personality clash” (I think Alana, despite being a little flimsy, has a “personality” whereas Jess has an “eruption”) but Sugar turns on Alana asking her to justify her existence until she gets quite teary, whereupon Natalie behaves like a true sister and kicks her when she’s down (“I will not fold like a deck of cards I’ll give you 100% Lord Sugar”).

Apparently Natalie put “creative” on her CV. “I done the best I can” she mutters, blaming Rebecca for taking control of design until Karren points out she didn’t exactly bring anything to the table other than perhaps a j-cloth and some pledge. “I tried!” Natalie insists. “I was there” Karren cuts her off.

The girls defend their position by bragging about how much they work (Jess “16,17,18 hour days”; Natalie: “100 hours a week with passion” (?) ) as though that’s a good thing – they might be spending all that time trying to find the right place to stick a stamp on an envelope for all we know.

K’s condemned as a “loose cannon” but he pledges to learn quickly and lead the next task (that will be fun won’t it?).

JD gets the benefit of the doubt and is staying and it looks like K’s on his way out but Natalie’s fired for being boring and only having one facial expression. She sneers and flounces out to the taxi of doom where she has a little Begby-esque rant about how she don’t need Sugar’s steenking cash anyway.

Meanwhile Sugar’s still fucking with poor Alana’s head (“You’re struggling..”) and almost raises the finger of doom at K, but is reminded that keeping him in will keep us shouting at our tellies for a few weeks more and relents. In the car on the way back K’s still offering his theory whilst JD looks quietly murderous (“It’s been a long day and a lot of people are talking a lot of nonsense”).

Next week the contestants launch their own sweet ranges. Is there a gobstopper big enough to stop K?

Liking: Sofiane, Aleksandra, Samuel, Trishna
Useless but Sweet:  Olly
Warming To: JD, Dillon, Alana, Angry Paul
Unimpressed by: Courtney, Frances, Grainne
Twat in a Bow Tie: Mukai
Being of Beige: Rebecca
Bringing out the Killy Rage: Jess, K
Bye Bye: Michelle, Natalie