Warning: Karl Pilkington does not moan like he used to.
Don’t worry: he hasn’t stopped completely and still retains his distinctive, unique and often hilarious world view. But, on this evidence at least, his reputation as a serial moaner is undeserved. Pilkington is often understandably bewildered by many of the strange people and bizarre practices he encounters here, but he embraces most of what he sees and confronts many challenges (night-club dancing, ironing in a remote and precarious American location and even going on patrol as a superhero), head-on.
Probably the main difference from his earlier series, An Idiot Abroad, is the absence of the sometimes cruel presence of Pilkington’s old comradres Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Rather than being sent to random locations as to their whim, here Pilkington is able to travel to some marvellous places to meet some often very odd people in the hope of gaining enlightenment on a range of topics including Art, Identity and How To Live Your Life. Through it all he remains, his usual self: both very ordinary and also unique, devoted to his girlfriend back in the UK and often and seemingly unintentionally, very very funny.
He meets some strange types here including as Utah man who has five wives, an Indian who offers an unconvincing argument as to the merits of drinking urine, a 91-year old woman skydiver and a young lady who specialises in vomiting up her own works of art. If some of this sounds crude, well, it sometimes is. The worse thing about the show is that the director seems obsessed with showing someone vomiting, at least once in every episode.
But through it all is Karl. Whether railing against solar power, defending the Dickens character, Ebeneezer Scrooge or being totally astonished to find that he actually quite likes wearing a wig, Karl Pilkington is the key to the show’s success.
And despite what I said earlier: her does still moan quite a bit.
DVD: The Moaning of Life 2 with Karl Pilkington
Release date: November 23rd 2015