It was light, funny, inoffensive (mostly) and enjoyable. And pretty much everything you’d seen when Rove was on Channel 10 three years ago, except now in Los Angeles.

He’s been in LA working on his stand-up (which showed), doing some stuff for his famous mates (including Jay Leno), and now presenting a chat/variety/comedy show only for Australians delivered on a medium accessed by the least amount of them. Rove LA offered a new set and location, but not necessarily anything new – and that’s not such a bad thing.

Fans of his self-titled Channel 10 series will be extremely comfortable with the style of this FOX8 offering as it plays to McManus’s strentgths. His interview style is engaging and draws not only the subject in but the audience as well. The dynamic has changed a little with no desk, rather the host on a couch and the guests on a curved couch forming a small “conversation semi-circle”, with all guests present from the get-go of the show – allowing them to see him work the audience with his opening monologue. While this week’s stand-up was nothing special, his pre-show intro could have been lifted from his show 5 years ago.

He was most comfortable chatting with the guests (Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Griffin, Jerry Ferrara) and given they style the show’s strength will be the guest mix. Kathy Griffin dominated not unreasonably and was hilarious to boot – which helped a lot. Somewhat clunky segments featuring inappropriate questions designed to develop conversation or draw laughs didn’t really do either. While the show was intimate even with an inclusion of an audience, it did miss the banter of regular cast (Peter Helliar as a great example).

The low point of the show could have been the high point – Rove cut to an audience member after a commercial break (didn’t realise they had them on PAY TV), querying him about bringing his journal to a taping, which he then grabs and prepares to read out loud. Turned out to be Brenton Thwaites from another FOX8 show SLiDE. Clunkiest. Unsubtle Cross-Promo. Ever.

Given the show is aired at 8:30pm on a subscription TV channel, the content was always going to be a bit risque. Rove visited an Adult Entertainment convention (not unlike Sexpo) and spoke with a number of stars. Nothing too outrageous, although I’ll never be able to scrub the sound and vision of an ass clapping from my memory. A little swearing here and there, Rove’s trademark cheeky grin, a wink – all is forgiven.

At least one mention of the Facebook fan page had me go have a look – offering this gem from someone watching the show: “Love Lisa Kudrow’s laugh – sounds like Phoebe LOL”.

People love Rove, and while critics may not like his show too much the audience generally loved it. I’m intrigued as to why he’s launched a show on subscription TV as opposed to a free-to-air network, but he’ll certainly give it a red hot go. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t awesome. It was Rove. Make of that what you will.

Rove LA – Mon 8:30pm, FOX8.