The latest comedic offering from Jack Whitehall is Netflix original series, Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father.
Following the peculiar pair around South East Asia, the comical documentary takes us on a five week journey – a gap year that Jack missed out on prior to his stand-up career.
The six-part series documents Jack and his well-do-to father, Michael Whitehall, as they explore the typical backpacker hotspots: Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. Due to his successful career as a stand-up comic, Jack never got to take a gap year; so now he’s compressing it into just over a month, with his dad as company.
This series will definitely make you laugh. Jack fully embraces the backpacker aesthetic, with his tank tops, baseball cap and budget hostels. Michael, however, is the quintessential Englishman, always in a suit and tie in search for the perfect cup of tea. He seems to be miserable for most of the trip, which only adds to enjoyment of the viewers and Jack’s overall trip.
They visit a variety of places and try out an array of interesting experiences, including Jack playing elephant polo. Michael helps to commentate the polo, and does nothing but berate Jack for his lack of sporting ability. Michael’s disappointment in Jack is a prevailing theme throughout their trip.
There is a hilarious joke that runs throughout the documentary, with Jack and Michael discussing Jack being sent to boarding school at the naive age of 8. After much despite, Michael later admits that perhaps he made a mistake. Our hearts swell up for Jack when he realises his dad is coming to terms with the time they missed out on in his early childhood. Then Michael concedes that in fact, eight was far too late and that he should have sent Jack away at six instead!
They also visit a monastery and meet a monk from Cheshire who has lived in Thailand for 20 years. The monk to our surprise recognises Jack from Fresh Meat, which is apparently available to watch in Thai monasteries! They also run into Steven Seagal in a hotel (who ends up throwing Jack into the hotel’s pond); ride on the opulent Eastern and Oriental Express to visit part of the Burma railway; and try the ancient art of face-slapping (exactly what it sounds like).
The series also highlights some of the issues in the countries. In Cambodia, Jack visits an organisation that trains rats to detect TNT, to allow them to clear the landmines that still litter the country and maim many to this day. This was an interesting segment that reminded us of the reality of travelling and living in various parts of the world.
Overall, the series was thoroughly enjoyable to watch, both for its comedic value and for the beauty of the places they visited. This is a fun, light-hearted comedy/travel series that most people would enjoy. For fans of Fresh Meat or The, Inbetweeners, this is a must-see!