The latest city to put up - and indeed put up with - outspoken comedian Jack Whitehall is Manchester, where he's hanging out with cricket legend Andrew Flintoff and hip-hop artist Maverick Sabre. There's a spot of cross-dressing too, although Vera Gwendolyn sounds like a rather old-fashioned drag queen alter-ego for someone as young and trendy as Whitehall.The Telegraph, 8th April 2012
Comedian Jack Whitehall, 23, has always been somewhat prodigious, first arriving on our screens aged just 20. He won further acclaim last year with his scene-stealing turn in student sitcom Fresh Meat. Now he gets this solo vehicle, which finds him travelling to UK cities to learn about their culture before performing at a local venue. First up is Newcastle, so he meets football hero Alan Shearer, welcomes musical duo Rizzle Kicks and, most amusingly, stays with a Geordie family and heads "out on the toon" with the son.Michael Hogan, The Telegraph, 26th March 2012
Jack Whitehall was on a truly tedious journey whith his comedy roadshow Hit the Road Jack, which began in Cardiff. I couldn't have been won over more decisively by Whitehall's stint as student toff in Fresh Meat; it was spot on, very funny, and that bit with the dying horse unexpectedly slayed me. No wonder they gave him his own show.
But Whitehall is evidently only as good as his script, and this one stinks. First he does a bit of stand-up at Blaenavon Workmen's Hall; his "posho visits the provinces" schtick goes down well live, if not on-screen, with material about the Welshness of Doctor Who, in which he compares the tardis to a Welsh girl's vagina ("you wanna see something that's bigger on the inside?").
The real volumetric mystery here, however, is his weirdly bouffant hair - what product is he using? Anyway, we flit to a bizarre, pointless interlude in which Whitehall pretends to be a rugby coach (now in a blond wig which makes him look like Owen Wilson). The team, set up to appear stupid, just look nonplussed. Later, Whitehall goes and stays with a Valleys family - stuff on male voice choirs and cameos on Welsh soap Pobol y Cwm ensue. Hilarity does not.
For Whitehall's jokes fall into but two camps: unimaginative stereotyping of the Welsh, and studenty. (He will keep on about shotting Jagermeister or downing Smirnoff Ices, when clearly he's just swallowed his own publicity). He appears to be going for a kind of gap yah colonial tour round the wilds of Great Britain - anywhere outside the Home Counties - in which we're encouraged to laugh at the natives. I can't quite believe Whitehall's this dumb; presumably he'll soon be doing interviews featuring the phrase "regrettable career choice". Or maybe he really was a one-trick pony.Holly Williams, The Independent, 25th March 2012
I quite like Jack Whitehall. The posh thing no longer irritates and he was great in Fresh Meat. But the stand-up-meets-chat-show-meets-hidden-camera format of Hit The Road Jack is woefully thin. I know Channel 4's overgrown teens have finally accepted their Russell Brand crush will remain forever unrequited and have now switched to Jack instead. But if they keep giving him guff like this I fear they'll end up having their hearts broken again.Ian Hyland, Daily Mail, 24th March 2012
'This has been lush,' sounds very odd in a snooty English voice and Jack Whitehall played cultures clashing for all they were worth in Hit The Road Jack - a move not dissimilar from Sarah Millican and her working class Geordie jokes aimed at a traditionally middle class BBC Two audience that are currently going down well in her Television Programme.
His comedy road trip kicked off in Cardiff where he stayed with a local family and joined a local men's choir. They Welsh. He British. Nationality-based awkwardness obviously ensued, before Whitehall took on a cameo role in soap opera Pobol y Cwm and rounded up with a stand-up gig.
He shamelessly revelled in every boyo cliché in the book (token rugby coach in particular), but, playing on the posh chump charm of Fresh Meat's JP, Whitehall pulled it off.Keith Watson, Metro, 21st March 2012
Hit the Road Jack is on Channel 4 but it feels more like BBC Three. Even by the standards of youth programming it's hyperactively hectic. The 'Jack' of the title is Jack Whitehall, a young comedian with the looks of a boy band cutie, and the show is... well, it isn't really any one type of show. It's just an excuse to have Whitehall on screen.
Each week, he'll visit a different part of Britain - not that we'll see much of whichever part it is, because most of the show takes place in a TV studio. Last night the studio was in Wales. He began with two minutes of jokes about the country; hurtled into a skit in which he supposedly tricked Welsh rugby players into thinking he was an "alternative rugby guru"; then an interview with Welsh actress Ruth Jones that lasted all of 90 seconds; a micro-feature about "how to fit in" with the Welsh (conclusion: join a male voice choir); 25 seconds' more chat with Jones; into the ad break with five, yes five, seconds of music from guest rapper Lethal Bizzle (not to worry, Bizzle fans: at the end of the show he was allowed to play for a whole two minutes)...
Whitehall himself is likeable and amusing. "To impress you guys I decided to learn the name of that Welsh railway station everyone goes on about. Ready? 'Car... diff... Cen... tral'." Insecurely, the camera kept cutting away to shots of the studio audience hooting and cheering. Message: "Look how much these people are enjoying themselves! This man must be good!"
He is, but it's a funny thing about audiences: the more hysterically the one in the studio raves, the less the one at home feels inclined to join them.Michael Deacon, The Telegraph, 21st March 2012
In Hit the Road Jack, Jack Whitehall offers us a hybrid stand-up/chat-show/prank-sketch/national-tour format in which none of the components entirely works. If you like him you'll probably quite like the series too, though even if that's the case you might feel they could tighten up the candid-camera sections. If you can see the "dupe" trying not to crack up it's hard to feel they've been duped at all.Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 21st March 2012
When Jack Whitehall hurtled on to the live stand-up scene a couple of years back, we found the hype never matched the talent. But it seems C4 knows just what to do with him: he was well cast as a posh boy with issues in the enjoyable Fresh Meat, and now it's fashioned a show that's a good outlet for his exuberance. It's a mixture of stand-up, pranks and chat, during which he immerses himself in different parts of Britain.Metro, 20th March 2012