Marty Morrissey is heroically unembarrassable in Marty and Bernard’s Big Adventure

Review: This buddy-comedy-meets-makeover-show eventually takes the joke too far

The seasoned GAA pundit, Marty Morrissey, and the comedian Bernard O'Shea just can't get enough of each other.

They bonded as two of the darker horse contenders on Dancing With the Stars. They have since discovered in each other, apparently, a mutual incomprehension with the state of modern malehood and, more credibly, a very compatible sense of humour.

“Have you ever got any work done?” Bernard asks Marty at the outset.

Marty, a man to whom nature – and nature alone -– has been selectively kind, says that he has not. "Really?" says Bernard, with the kind of encouragement Mrs Doyle used to reserve for tea. Marty pretends to be offended.

In the first episode of a two-part programme, this, it turns out, will be the sustaining joke, as a buddy comedy meets a makeover show. “Have you ever got a manicure before?” Bernard asks innocently as they have their cuticles buffed. No, says Marty. A girl flashes them a sceptically look.

That makes it sound as though the joke is all on Morrissey, raising his elegant eyebrows at every mention of male grooming, flashing his dazzling teeth at every thought of professional intervention. But actually Morrissey is both a serious enquirer (“Macho is kind of gone now,” he confirms with dapper GAA fella Bernard Brogan) and clearly game for a laugh.

There’s something both genuine and genuinely amusing about their interactions, even in that hoary old set-up of receiving his-and-his cosmetic facials, as they succumb to giggles.

It helps, of course, that Morrissey is heroically unembarrassable – sitting happily in a salon, for instance, with waxed Q-tips jutting from his nostrils like walrus tusks – and that O’Shea is a quick wit.

"You have no idea how many newspaper headlines you've just written," he says, quite correctly, to a New York cosmetic surgeon who injects botox into the laughter lines at Morrissey's eyes. (Although, as was once said of Mick Jagger, nothing is that funny.)

That their escapade has taken them to New York at all, though, is the definition of taking a joke too far. This, we learn, was Morrissey's childhood home, reared in the Bronx. But really, it's an excuse to repeat the grooming, modelling, photoshoots and giggles, play for play, against a cooler backdrop at the production's expense.

Then again, what is New York these day but a lavish backdrop for the Insta-famous? A check in with Erika Fox, a NYC-based Irish "influencer" is again rescued from the banal by the boys' odd-couple banter. "Are you declaring all of this?" O'Shea asks her, with mock respect for the tax code, when Morrissey somehow steers the topic of sponsorship to payment procedures.

And O’Shea’s straight-faced remark to a gently despairing modelling agent that, “I don’t want loads of people looking at me” is made a little sweeter by the fact that he clearly gets the gag.

That enhances another joke, though, which the show is too kind-hearted to rub in anybody’s face, about how easy professional make-overs are these days. All you need is a little chutzpah and a lot of self-belief to be an influencer, a stylist, a beauty consultant or a modelling agent in a city of sheer surface.

“Could we make it here?” Bernard had wondered in Times Square, before quickly deciding, “Absolutely no way.”

Flash forward to some coat-swooshing still photography and ankle-fetishising slo-mo video and a chorus of approval: "You guys are officially Instagram models!"

That’s as well-manicured a joke about modern man as you’re likely to find. Congratulations guys, you made it.

Read More