Rolling UK Comedy Thread - "Ricky Don't Lose Larry David's Number

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It's like a little piece of Cookd and Bombd on dear old ILx.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:24 (twelve years ago) Permalink

anyway... Gervais gets painfully OTM takedown from The Indy.

Ricky Gervais: Step into my office

He created one of the great sitcoms. He is a very funny man. And he's concerned about his 'legacy'. Which is exactly why Nicholas Barber would like to have a quiet word with Ricky Gervais

Published: 14 January 2007

Ricky Gervais opens his new live show wearing a plastic crown and a regal red robe, with his name in lights behind him and a six-foot model of an Emmy award to his left. "Not too much, is it?" he asks with mock-concern, but the answer is, no, it's not too much. If anything, it's not enough. Once he's slipped off the fancy dress, the reigning King of Comedy strolls around the stage for an hour and a bit in his trademark jeans and black T-shirt. He couldn't be more relaxed if he was at home in his pyjamas (which he is, he says, by 6.30 most nights).

He's such a natural comic that he gets laughs every time he unleashes his falsetto sarcasm or his saliva-soaked giggle. He skilfully deconstructs his stories as he's telling them, and he slips nimbly back and forth across the boundaries of taste, so we're never quite certain how offended to be.

But compared to any other stand-up show in a venue the size of Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall, it's a lackadaisical performance. Between swigs from a beer can, Gervais recounts a few chat-show anecdotes, does some student bar stuff about how nonsense songs don't make sense, has a smirk at those dunces who abused a paediatrician because they thought he was a paedophile, and dishes up regular portions of ironic homophobia.

At least, I assume it's ironic. When he makes an Aids joke, and then mutters, "I won't do that one in Brighton," I'm not 100-per-cent sure why it's less objectionable than it would have been if Jim Davidson had made the same remark. Overall, it's an amiable show, but there's not much in the way of depth or quotable punchlines, and there's no theme beyond the tour's title, Fame: doing charity gigs, signing autographs, being misrepresented in the tabloids, hugging Chris Tarrant. You'd assume that someone who didn't start writing The Office until his late thirties would have a stock of pre-fame memories to transmute into comedy. There was his stint in an Eighties pop duo, and then as a university entertainments officer, to name the two best-known jobs he had before he made headway at XFM and on Channel 4's 11 O'Clock Show. But instead of mining these veins of material, Gervais seems obsessed by his own celebrity. He's like one of those rock bands who get to their third album and can't dredge up anything to write songs about except groupies, hotel rooms and the disappointments of being a multi-millionaire.

Maybe we shouldn't be surprised. Since The Office brought Gervais sudden fame and fortune, he's been the proverbial kid in a candy store, living out the fantasies of every film and comedy geek. He made a guest appearance on Alias because he was a fan of the show. He wrote an episode of The Simpsons, and turned up in it in cartoon form. He became friends with Jonathan Ross, as every rising UK comedian is contractually obliged to do. When Channel 4 offered him his own interview strand, he jumped at the chance to badger his heroes, Larry David, Christopher Guest and Larry Shandling. His first film roles seem to be motivated by hero-worship, too. Having shone as a pompous boss in The Office, he can now be seen cameoing as a pompous boss in both Night at the Museum and For Your Consideration. Neither film is very good, but they did allow him to hang out with Ben Stiller and Christopher Guest, just as his role in the forthcoming Stardust let him share a studio with Robert De Niro.

"It's like winning a competition," he said in one recent interview. "It's like, would you like to play with Spinal Tap for a day? Yes. Would you like to play with The Godfather for a day? Yes." Gervais is not the first British comedian to jump on a plane to Hollywood, of course, and there's nothing wrong with mutual appreciation sessions with your idols. Indeed, there's something sweet about such a major star letting his inner fanboy come out to play. As his collection of Golden Globes and Emmys attests, the American entertainment industry loves the man from Reading, so you can hardly blame him for loving it back. Who wouldn't want to be Peter Lawford in a comedy Rat Pack?

On the other hand, it's getting harder to ignore the weird disjunction between the way Gervais talks about his career and the way it actually is.

Ever since The Office began broadcasting in July 2001, its star and co-creator has been repeating in interviews that he's primarily a writer and director, and that he gets "no joy from seeing my fat face on the screen". Initially, he said he didn't want to do too much TV as himself because he wanted viewers to enjoy the illusion that David Brent and his colleagues were real people; that was why he cast unknown actors.

He even boasted, somewhat ungallantly, that he'd turned down roles in Pirates of The Caribbean and the other films which went on to feature his Office co-stars. "Secretly I think I'd be quite good on QI," he told one interviewer, misinterpreting the word "secretly". "But you have to discipline yourself and you have to ration yourself. I can get sick of someone I like within the space of a weekend if I see them on two quiz shows and then in the Sunday paper." It's a strange statement from someone who once fought Anthea Turner's husband in a televised boxing match.

The Ricky Gervais who talks to journalists is a publicity-shy artist with exacting principles. "That quest for excellence, and also the legacy - I think about that," he said in The Radio Times. "I don't know if that's because I came to it older, but we really want to to have a great batting average. We don't want to let our guard down. You do it because you want to be proud of it." To Esquire, he pronounced: "When you're creating art, you've got to be a complete fascist." To GQ, he described himself and his co-writer and co-director, Stephen Merchant, as "comedy fundamentalists". He's often said that he doesn't rate many British comedians after Stan Laurel. "American comedy is better. It aims higher," he told Esquire. This Ricky Gervais is an ascetic, slightly intimidating perfectionist. And yet the other Ricky Gervais, the one who's all over the media, is someone who knows he won't be in the limelight forever, and who wants to revel in the exposure, the side projects and the glamorous friendships while he can.

It's impossible to exaggerate just how successful he's been. The Office has been broadcast in 80 countries, and remade in several, including the hit American edition with Steve Carell in the lead role. Sales of the British Office DVDs were record-breaking - four million is the current figure - and, as the tongue-in-cheek introduction to his live show reminds us, he's won an Emmy, two Golden Globes and six Baftas.

But this astonishing Midas Touch doesn't stop a large proportion of his work falling short of the benchmark he's set himself. His current stand-up tour, the fastest selling in history, sees him sitting right in the middle of his comfort zone. Podcasts of The Ricky Gervais Show are another record-breaking hit, but as funny as they can be, they consist largely of his XFM producer, Karl Pilkington, reeling off outlandish theories, while Gervais and Merchant berate him for not being as well educated as they are. And if his trio of children's picture books, Flanimals, hadn't had Gervais's name on it, the publisher would have sent it back with a polite note saying that it wasn't what they were looking for.

And then there's Extras. At the risk of inviting hate mail, I'd argue that Gervais and Merchant's second sitcom is, objectively, a patchy programme. Yes, it had its laughs. The fizzy water incident is destined to join Del Boy falling through the bar in all future bank holiday retrospectives of The 100 Best British Sitcom Moments. But it always felt less like a fully-formed show than an exercise in muscle-flexing by two writer-directors who had realised how powerful they were. They wanted superstars, they wanted location shooting, they wanted no canned laughter and almost no supporting cast; they had a list of minorities for the characters to upset and they wanted to tick them off methodically, week by week. Everything they wanted, they got.

The mysterious aspect of Extras was that it drew almost entirely from Gervais's own experiences in television, and yet it couldn't shake off a whiff of fakeness. It missed the satirical targets which were right in front of its creators' noses. Take its famous guest stars, for instance. On the programme which had the biggest influence on Extras, The Larry Sanders Show, the celebrity guests challenged us to spot where they ended and their scabrous self-parodies began, something Gervais himself does brilliantly on talk shows and on stage. But in Extras the celebs were all caricatured so ridiculously that there was never any danger that they might have been revealing their dark private selves. Did anyone watching it ever suspect that Daniel Radcliffe goes around propositioning actresses twice his age, or that Orlando Bloom pathologically hates Johnny Depp, or that Ben Stiller has exactly the same speech patterns as David Brent? Probably not. The actors could congratulate themselves on being good sports without the slightest risk.

Beyond that, there was the implausibility of Gervais's character, Andy Millman, being hoiked to stardom from work as a "background artist" even though - unlike Gervais - he had no TV-comedy experience. There was also the bewildering animus against the BBC, which was forcing Andy to wear a bad wig and specs in his sitcom-within-a-sitcom; when did that last happen in the real world? But what was more damaging was the series' grating inconsistencies. Sometimes Andy would be as crass and tactless as David Brent ever was, whereas at other times Andy would be the judicious one, and the solecisms would be parcelled out to his friend Maggie or his agent, played by Merchant.

In their introduction to the Extras script book, the writers say that they wanted a change from Brent. They wanted "Andy to be more like us: more normal, more self-aware, educated and liberal-minded, with a half-decent sense of humour". And so he was - some of the time. But he was also a man who saw a Bosnian refugee's photograph of his murdered wife, and then chided him for his choice of developer. "Oh, you missed a trick," he said. "Truprint give you a free film when you get something developed. So you're a mug." And witness the way Andy was shocked when Keith Chegwin grunted that the BBC was run by "Jews and queers" - and I'd love to know when anyone in showbusiness last said that - but was also horrified when a schoolmate he hadn't seen in 20 years thought he might be gay himself. (More only-just-ironic homophobia there.) "Andy's not a jerk at all," said Gervais in the Onion AV Club last week, but when it suited the joke, Andy mutated into David Brent multiplied by Basil Fawlty.

Whereas The Office took such pains to fool us, for half an hour at a time, that we were flies on the wall of a genuine paper merchants', Extras required viewers to give it the same leeway that they would a pantomime. In a single episode of the second series, Andy was at the BBC, filming a sitcom, and yet the same sitcom was already on air, getting a critical pasting, and Andy was also auditioning for a play, rehearsing it and performing it. Assuming that he wasn't supposed to be a Time Lord, Gervais and Merchant had given up caring whether their programme had any internal logic or not.

At the risk of inviting yet more hate mail, I'd suggest, too, that even in the second series of The Office, there were signs that its writers already believed the hype. Gareth was more obnoxious; Brent was more self-deluding; the humour was broader and cruder. When Brent frothed at a birthday party about how he'd have sex with the Corrs, the raucous, drunken festivities slammed to a halt and everyone stared in disgust.

Fair enough, that's the kind of thing which happens in sitcoms all the time, but the previous series hadn't felt like a sitcom; it had felt like an unwittingly hilarious documentary. The second series could have been written by someone who had watched the first one, but hadn't quite understood it.

That's not to say that anyone who masterminded those first terrific six episodes of The Office shouldn't be proud of himself. Nor is this an attempt to start a backlash or chop down a tall poppy. After all, everything Gervais does is worth a look, because he's funny even when - as on the current stand-up tour - he's not trying very hard. And when someone has accrued so many millions, so many plaudits and so many famous admirers he might feel justified in letting standards slip.

But let's get his output into perspective. Perhaps we should ease off on the King of Comedy accolades until Gervais's batting average, as he calls it, is a little closer to Galton and Simpson's or Clement and Le Frenais's. And that's not likely to happen unless he eases off on the cameos, the podcasts and the children's books. Maybe now that he's done a stand-up show called Fame, he can get back to the sort of work which made him famous.

The first leg of Ricky Gervais's stand-up tour has sold out. Tickets for the second leg, beginning on 6 March, go on sale on Tuesday at www.ticketzone.co.uk

http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article2152792.ece

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:26 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Who wouldn't want to be Peter Lawford in a comedy Rat Pack?

BURN.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:29 (twelve years ago) Permalink

couldn't agree more with the article.

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:34 (twelve years ago) Permalink

yeah pretty definitive article.

the original hauntology blogging crew (Enrique), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:39 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I got most of my Extras series 2 opinions (other people's that is) from the thread on here, and as such it's quite easy to forget that a pretty big proportion of the outside world thought it was really good and not at all disappointing or obsequious. Good piece, thirded

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:59 (twelve years ago) Permalink

not that big a proportion surely though. i bet it got nowhere near the viewing figures of say my family or something.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:11 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"it's quite easy to forget that a pretty big proportion of the outside world thought it was really good and not at all disappointing"

is this true?

Britain's Obtusest Shepherd (Alan), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:14 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Among the people that actually watched it, I meant, but yeah you could definitely argue that the audience-to-coverage ratio is pretty skewed

xpost

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:16 (twelve years ago) Permalink

on a cookd/bombd tip, glad to see i'm, not alone in thinking Sam Wollaston is a truly hopeless telly reviewer.

Britain's Obtusest Shepherd (Alan), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:16 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Alison Graham and Sal Woollaston liked it. They're two hip, with it, swinging cats.
xxp

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:16 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Cookd and Bombd fact: I once saw a noted C+B poster try to chat up a Little Britain fan, whilst he so clearly was trying to hold back his real views on Lucas and Walliams for the sake of poppage.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:17 (twelve years ago) Permalink

It got mostly good reviews did it not? And most people I spoke to thought it was pretty good, maybe not quite up w/ the first series

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:17 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Alison Graham: Copy and Paste Your Top 1000 Reasons Why She Is So Bad and Hated

Michael Philip Philip Philip Philip Annoyman (Ferg), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:17 (twelve years ago) Permalink

But why though? Is Gervais just some master of the percentage game, he knows that 20% ironic homophobia, 15% recycled Seinfeld gags, 32% broad catchphrase comedy, etc etc is the key to the nation's heart?

xp

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:18 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm calling it: Alison Graham is the worst fucking journalist on the planet today.

I would say that though, because I hate women.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:19 (twelve years ago) Permalink

who's your least favourite man hack? (you can't vote for yourself)

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:20 (twelve years ago) Permalink

"Sam Wollaston
Wednesday January 3, 2007
The Guardian


Here's a scene. You're looking along your collection of CDs, or shuffling through your playlist, trying to find that new Lady Sovereign album or whatever. But you stumble across something else, something from 10 years ago - the Fugees, say."

the original hauntology blogging crew (Enrique), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:21 (twelve years ago) Permalink

OTM

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:22 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Sam Wollaston would then go on to mention how his "friend" really likes that Fugees album.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:22 (twelve years ago) Permalink

who's your least favourite man hack? (you can't vote for yourself)

That senile dribbling cunt with his own column in the Guardian weekend magazine.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Or Artrocker Comedy Racism Man

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:24 (twelve years ago) Permalink

that article i posted up thread is i think what john harris perecives his "controversial" articles to read like.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:24 (twelve years ago) Permalink

SW will never spend any real money or time on "that new (some say only) Lady Sovereign album" or, indeed, "whatever."

That senile dribbling cunt with his own column in the Guardian weekend magazine.

Cue stock that's no way to talk about Zoe Williams gag.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:24 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Alison Graham doesn't have a Wikipedia entry. And Dom Passantino does.

Michael Philip Philip Philip Philip Annoyman (Ferg), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:27 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Where are the standards of today, I ask you.

I don't have a Wikipedia entry either.

Marcello Carlin (nostudium), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:35 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Thursday, 20:00
Radio Ha Ha

Radio 4 turns over the airwaves to solid gold laughter, as Steve Punt joins up with a host of stars, backstage movers and industry shakers from the comedy industry with a two-hour special.

Variety shows and radio were the traditional routes to comedy fame and fortune, but what about today? Super agents, DVD sales, straight-to-TV stars; where does radio fit in? Steve and a panel of guests pick apart the laughter seam of the modern comedy industry, as well as generating a few jokes along the way.

Includes News Summary at 9.00pm.

Euai Kapaui (tracerhand), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:36 (twelve years ago) Permalink

In any given episode of "Extras", it could be 15% "brilliant", 25% "passable" and 60% "rubbish/obvious"...

like swimming in a cool sea and passing through a warm current, etc...

Where are the standards of today, I ask you.
I don't have a Wikipedia entry either.

-- Marcello Carlin (marcellocarli...)

Oh, have I got one?

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:37 (twelve years ago) Permalink

you are diligently referenced on both j harris' and a petridis' though marcello.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:38 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Search
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
You searched for mark grout [Index]

No page with that title exists.

Whew.

mark grout (mark grout), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:39 (twelve years ago) Permalink

before that little derail folks was talkin' about the public / critical reaction to extras s2. the critical raves so often feel like wishful thinking. wanting, needing to have that generation defining masterpiece happening on your watch. i have yet to meet anyone who regards extras as anything other than ok or entertaining.

also on the bad can someone please put Have I Got News For You out of its misery.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:58 (twelve years ago) Permalink

At the risk of inviting hate mail, I'd argue that Gervais and Merchant's second sitcom is, objectively, a patchy programme.

At the risk of, on this reviewer's logic, inviting lynch-mobs to my door, I'd argue that Extras was shite.

You've Got Scourage On Your Breath (Haberdager), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:02 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Radio Ha Ha is great. I was fooled by it the first time.

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (twelve years ago) Permalink

sometimes writers employ rhetorical devices.

xpost

the original hauntology blogging crew (Enrique), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (twelve years ago) Permalink

wait, i'm thinking of that other thing on radio 4. carry on. xpost

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (twelve years ago) Permalink

xpost: Yes, but I still think the sentence panders unnecessarily towards Extras when it can really go for the kill instead.

You've Got Scourage On Your Breath (Haberdager), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:12 (twelve years ago) Permalink

'This week: Worzel says all reggae is vile.' thread actually linked to from John Harris wikipedia!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:12 (twelve years ago) Permalink

A handful of contributors to the I Love Music boards have strongly attacked what they as a thread of covert racism in some of his work

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:13 (twelve years ago) Permalink

david quantick wrote a book about chris rock?

the original hauntology blogging crew (Enrique), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:16 (twelve years ago) Permalink

DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE WORDS COMING OUT OF MY QUIZZICALLY PURSED LIPS?

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:18 (twelve years ago) Permalink

to get off the hate and link to Quantick... TV Burp is back on Saturday! woo! Harry on this year's CBB should be a joy.

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:28 (twelve years ago) Permalink

for reference or summat from the green wing thread:

To put things into context: Harry Hill aside, all British TV Comedy right now is total shit.

-- Ruairi Wirewool (horseproduction...), January 15th, 2007. (Ruairi Wirewool) (later)


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what were the chances of that happening?
-- mark grout (mark.grou...), January 15th, 2007. (mark grout) (later)


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If you can put CT and Green Wing on a par, you truly show a lack of discernment IMO.
Frankly, now that GW has been and gone, I'm inclined to agree with Ruairi, minus the bit about Harry Hill.

-- You've Got Scourage On Your Breath (papiermachealamphibia...), January 15th, 2007. (Haberdager) (later)


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If you can put CT and Green Wing on a par, you truly show a lack of discernment IMO.
no it's just a 'higher' (or rather 'stricter') level of discernment.

-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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'the thick of it' will be back, later in the year, and so will 'peep show'.
-- the original hauntology blogging crew (miltonpinsk...), January 15th, 2007. (Enrique) (later)


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but in a another more accurate sense...
-- mark s (mar...), January 15th, 2007. (mark s) (later)


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but then i do like Harry Hill so it's apples and roundabouts.
-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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rubbish
-- RJG (RJ...), January 15th, 2007. (RJG) (later)


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so you keep saying
-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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RJG's TV Burp
-- Dom Passantino (juror...), January 15th, 2007. (Dom Passantino) (later)


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Hmm. I was only talking about currently-running comedy shows. If Peep Show returns for a fourth bite at the cherry (and TTOI for a second), I will only be too delighted. Of course, the one I'm really looking out for is Nathan Barley II.
-- You've Got Scourage On Your Breath (papiermachealamphibia...), January 15th, 2007. (Haberdager) (later)


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i think it would be a big ask for there to be a 'great' uk comedy series to be running all 52 weeks of the year. i have low standards perhaps; but i don't ask for a 'great' film each month either.
-- the original hauntology blogging crew (miltonpinsk...), January 15th, 2007. (Enrique) (later)


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of course i too want 'nathan barley' back.
-- the original hauntology blogging crew (miltonpinsk...), January 15th, 2007. (Enrique) (later)


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They could drop scissors on a dog's head this time.
-- Dom Passantino (juror...), January 15th, 2007. (Dom Passantino) (later)


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uh, rose-tinted view there i reckon - but at least it was generating interesting discussion.
one episode of Screen Wipe a month would be good. ditto TV Burp.

-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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ha ha Dom OTM
-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)


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Unread Messages
as with 'green wing', take away the hype and the expectation it'll live up to 'the day today' and 'nathan barley' was 23 minutes well-spent. i lolled anyway.
-- the original hauntology blogging crew (miltonpinsk...), January 15th, 2007. (Enrique) (later)


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i didn't laugh more than i did laugh etc.
-- vita susicivus (n...), January 15th, 2007. (blueski) (later)

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:00 (twelve years ago) Permalink

We're, what, 18 months away from NB now? Can we work out why it was so bad and so hated yet?

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:02 (twelve years ago) Permalink

we already did!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (twelve years ago) Permalink

like, 5 minutes after the end credits!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I'm talking about THE BENEFIT OF DISTANCE AND HINDSIGHT

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Charlie Brooker's Monday G2 column is weird because you can see the video game journalist in him threatening to break through at any moment. qf the Geoff Capes gag in today's etc.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:04 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Louis you seem to be assuming that the guy from the Indie actually thinks Extras is shite, which isn't what he's saying. Something can be patchy and still have plenty of redeeming features overall

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:06 (twelve years ago) Permalink

It wasn't bad. It was funny, well-drawn and turn-itself-inside-out clever, not to mention superbly casted and acted. It needs re-watching cos it skips from one idea to the next so quick, but yeh, it's awesome.

And Screen Wipe rocks.

Johnney B English (stigoftdump), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:07 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Brooker should start doing his columns in cartoon strip form, like those ads for some gaming shop or other that were always in Gamesmaster magazine

Feargal Hixxy (DJ Mencap), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:08 (twelve years ago) Permalink

It's the central 'comedy' about his business, that he doesn't let students drive very much or do menial duties for him during their lessons (like take him to the supermarket to do the shopping).

There was a joke last week about fly-tipping asbestos.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 08:32 (three months ago) Permalink

Aldo, your summary of Warren was a thousand times funnier than the actual show. Couch potato as I was last night I caught that, too (in between AP and Fleabag), and what a load of shite that was. Dire.

However:

A show where the punchline is that a man with a young family (it's explicitly stated there's a baby in his house) is potentially crippled and loses his livelihood and home, and a cat is killed. At prime time. On BBC1.

― Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, March 5, 2019 9:02 AM (two hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

This doesn't strike me as problematic? It's a comedy (or supposed to be comedic), a lot of it is fair game imo. I'm fine with brutal, dark punchlines. I'm not fine with the real problem at hand here, which is that Warren is painfully unfunny.

Uptown VONC (Le Bateau Ivre), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 10:37 (three months ago) Permalink

Remember that Aldo's British - the cat is probably the dealbreaker.

Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 10:56 (three months ago) Permalink

No it is just that it isn't funny.

Although for the reasons you point out though the cat is probably why it seems so incongruous.

ps I do not care for cats.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 11:06 (three months ago) Permalink

Usually though the brutal punchlines are relating to the main characters - this has caused me to go look up Sitcom Hell based on Tom's theory that a lot of sitcoms serve as visions of hell for their cast.

Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 11:10 (three months ago) Permalink

I had in my defense forgotten the title of that thread.

Andrew Farrell, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 11:10 (three months ago) Permalink

The Hell in Warren is, as trumpeted in the promo pieces, having to live in the North of England (specifically Preston).

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 11:41 (three months ago) Permalink

Warren is a classic fish-out-of-water character – a southerner who is forced to move up north to Preston when his partner Anne’s father falls ill.

he takes on the title role of curmudgeonly, tight-fisted southerner (and driving instructor) Warren who is transplanted up north to Preston.

Driving instructor Warren Thompson is forced to move from the south up to Preston

I’d like the writers to make more of Warren being a southerner adrift in Preston

the story centres around Warren Thompson, who has to move from the south to Preston when his partner Anne’s father becomes ill. Once there, he finds that he’s in an area he dislikes

(Thanks, two Radio Times articles)

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 11:48 (three months ago) Permalink

Thought last night's Fleabag was brilliant. Painfully funny but oof, emotionally devastating too. Was wondering where she could go after the first series but needn't have worried.

Derry Girls back tonight too.

groovypanda, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 11:49 (three months ago) Permalink

ah yes, the classic fish-out-of-water story of an englishman forced against his will to move to a slightly different part of england

invited to an unexpected ninja presentation (bizarro gazzara), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 11:51 (three months ago) Permalink

It also goes without saying that the plot mechanism for this fish-out-of-waterism has not been mentioned in the first two episodes, to the extent the ill father was walking about like there was nothing wrong in last night's episode.

I wouldn't have known about it at all if it wasn't for the Radio Times.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 11:55 (three months ago) Permalink

the 'moving north' aspect was covered in ep1 of Warren which I unfortunately watched.
will not be bothering with ep2.
truly dreadful.
cannot wait for Derry Girls S2.

mark e, Tuesday, 5 March 2019 12:16 (three months ago) Permalink

he takes on the title role of curmudgeonly, tight-fisted southerner

Why?

The Vangelis of Dating (Tom D.), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 12:16 (three months ago) Permalink

I'm thinking they got Martin Clunes for the role, realized he couldn't do a Northern accent, extensive re-write.

The Vangelis of Dating (Tom D.), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 12:18 (three months ago) Permalink

thought the new fleabag was excellent

my future think tank (stevie), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 23:19 (three months ago) Permalink

i think you'll find martin "doc martin" clunes is the pre-eminent "english guy who moves from the southeast to somewhere else in england and is thus a fish out of water" actor of his generation.

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 23:24 (three months ago) Permalink

I could never stand him but then I started watching Doc Martin with my mum, who loves the show, while I was looking after her and now I love him. That Warren thing is execrable though. Everything that happens in it is implausible, shrill and anxiety-inducing.

Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 23:34 (three months ago) Permalink

to be honest, there's a lot of stuff in Fleabag that makes you think "but no-one would ever do that..." too.

Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Tuesday, 5 March 2019 23:36 (three months ago) Permalink

Fleabag really really good. There's a new level of slickness to the writing. The priest guy should be a great love interest/foil.

I found the first new AP hilarious, but was a bit disappointed by the second, despite some very funny bits (the bloke who travels down from Sunderland). Perhaps a slightly unsustainable format. I'm rooting for IAP series 3 next.

chap, Thursday, 7 March 2019 13:03 (three months ago) Permalink

I've always had a weird soft spot for Martin Clunes. I hope someone on this thread takes it upon themselves to do a Wright Way-style detailed weekly takedown of Warren. Bags not it.

chap, Thursday, 7 March 2019 13:08 (three months ago) Permalink

I am tempted.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Thursday, 7 March 2019 16:39 (three months ago) Permalink

^ do this. Would read (and not watch)

ailsa, Thursday, 7 March 2019 17:53 (three months ago) Permalink

Praying hands emoji.

chap, Thursday, 7 March 2019 19:26 (three months ago) Permalink

it's a big ask!

Acting Crazy (Instrumental) (jed_), Thursday, 7 March 2019 21:51 (three months ago) Permalink

i finally finished Catastrophe. i thought it was uneven but episodes 3 & 6 were outstanding

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Tuesday, 19 March 2019 22:29 (three months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

am enjoying Dead Pixels. i like the little details, like the fact that he was driving a Prius when he crashed into that tree. it feels like Fresh Meat but with the added advantage of not featuring jack whitehall.

Frankie Boyle's show also very good.

koogs, Friday, 5 April 2019 12:29 (two months ago) Permalink

I (half) watched an episode of Warren. It was far too bland to warrant recapping to be honest. Essentially Warren's family were being (mildly) annoying on a car journey and he ended up yelling at them.

chap, Friday, 5 April 2019 12:34 (two months ago) Permalink

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/british-comedy-social-media-complaints-bbc-shane-allen-political-correctness-a8867146.html

We want racist jokes from a more diverse background

Alba, Friday, 12 April 2019 18:01 (two months ago) Permalink

Paul Chowdhry has some news for you then!

Andrew Farrell, Friday, 12 April 2019 18:30 (two months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I burned through all of Back To Life after seeing ep1 and think it's better than Fleabag. There, I said it.

Ghosts is tremendous fun, but would struggle to go wrong with the cast.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Monday, 29 April 2019 14:33 (one month ago) Permalink

new taskmaster starts on wednesday

Iain Stirling, Joe Thomas, Lou Sanders, Paul Sinha and Sian Gibson

(could put a face to two of those names, two others i recognise when i look, the other is a mystery)

((but it's not always the big names that provide the lols))

koogs, Thursday, 2 May 2019 19:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Ian Stirling used to appear with that puppet dog on CBBC. Joe Thomas is Inbetweeners bloke. Paul Sinha is the quizzy standup and would be my first guess at the Phil Wang/Nish Kumar (gets it wrong because he concentrates more on comedy) type. Sian Gibson is a mate of Peter Kaye's. I recognise Lou Sanders' name, because Herring goes on about her quite a bit, but I'm blind.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Thursday, 2 May 2019 20:06 (one month ago) Permalink

Lou has been on a couple of things just recently. er, Hypothetical and 8/10 cats (Millennial reboot). but she was already familiar to me, somehow.

koogs, Thursday, 2 May 2019 20:14 (one month ago) Permalink

lou sanders is amazing on the late great "why is your bottom so dirty" podcast

Lil' Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 2 May 2019 20:17 (one month ago) Permalink

has been on the old 8/10 cats a dozen times apparently, and was on the new one last week.

koogs, Thursday, 2 May 2019 20:19 (one month ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

i enjoyed Don't Forget The Driver. it wasn't Detectorists, but there was something i liked about it.

Ghosts was unassuming. it passed the time. i liked the basement / plague pit ghosts and the caveman.

koogs, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 15:58 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Ghosts is great! Everything about it is so likable. I binged it in two days.

chap, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 16:32 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Back to Life is even better.

chap, Tuesday, 28 May 2019 16:33 (three weeks ago) Permalink

https://www.comedy.co.uk/tv/worzel_gummidge_2019/

hard shoes to fill but "Mackenzie Crook writes, directs and stars in this new family comedy series about a scarecrow who comes to life" sounds promising.

koogs, Friday, 7 June 2019 08:31 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Haha wow. If anybody could do that project...

Lil' Brexit (Tracer Hand), Friday, 7 June 2019 08:32 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Pirates of the Runner Beans

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Friday, 7 June 2019 08:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

into that authentic turnip head tbh

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Friday, 7 June 2019 09:02 (two weeks ago) Permalink

ghosts was so so excellent. loving Back To Life as well, it's like Home Time, but darker.

Tiltin' My Lens Photography (stevie), Sunday, 9 June 2019 09:27 (two weeks ago) Permalink

london fog! tuppence a jar!

oscar bravo, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 12:43 (one week ago) Permalink

I thought it was mostly bollocks. Poor gags.

chap, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 12:57 (one week ago) Permalink

Year of the Rabbit, that is.

chap, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 12:57 (one week ago) Permalink

yup lazily written, matt berry being matt berry. i laughed a lot.

oscar bravo, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 13:02 (one week ago) Permalink

Ah, I didn't really. Unlike when watching Toast.

chap, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 13:08 (one week ago) Permalink

I watched episode 3 of Chernobyl immediately beforehand so perhaps wasn't in an overly jocular mood.

chap, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 13:10 (one week ago) Permalink

It's not just you, I thought it was very average as well. Young girl selling stuff was the highlight.

Elitist cheese photos (aldo), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 13:34 (one week ago) Permalink


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