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

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

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:24 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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

BURN.

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:29 (seventeen years ago) link

couldn't agree more with the article.

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 12:34 (seventeen years ago) link

yeah pretty definitive article.

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

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

"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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:20 (seventeen years ago) link

"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 (seventeen years ago) link

OTM

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:22 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

Or Artrocker Comedy Racism Man

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:24 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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

acrobat (elwisty), Monday, 15 January 2007 13:38 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (seventeen years ago) link

sometimes writers employ rhetorical devices.

xpost

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

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

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:10 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

'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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

david quantick wrote a book about chris rock?

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

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

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 14:18 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

'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)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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)


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

we already did!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (seventeen years ago) link

like, 5 minutes after the end credits!

vita susicivus (blueski), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (seventeen years ago) link

I'm talking about THE BENEFIT OF DISTANCE AND HINDSIGHT

Dom Passantino (Dom Passantino), Monday, 15 January 2007 15:03 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

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 (seventeen years ago) link

Sophie Willan wrote Alma's Not Normal which is the epitome of critically acclaimed though I don't know anyone who has actually watched it. Joanne McNally does a podcast with Vogue Williams. I've got reasonable faith in the Taskmaster casting team that they'll be fine.

ailsa, Sunday, 28 January 2024 20:39 (two months ago) link

i saw and enjoyed Alma

koogs, Sunday, 28 January 2024 20:47 (two months ago) link

is Outsiders the second thing to make the jump from Dave to proper tv? (after Taskmaster). didn't watch series 1 when it when it was on dave so good to catch up. Jessica Knappett (born "1983/84" according to wikipedia) has grown on me, quoting wilfred owen etc.

koogs, Thursday, 8 February 2024 17:26 (two months ago) link

("Greg Davies Live – Firing Cheeseballs at a Dog" was apparently a (one-off) Dave original, as seen recently on ch4)

koogs, Thursday, 8 February 2024 17:36 (two months ago) link

Big crush on Jessica Knappett, she was great on Taskmaster too.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 8 February 2024 20:08 (two months ago) link

she was a massive factor in the very enjoyable/chucklesome CH4 Drifters before Taskmaster.

mark e, Thursday, 8 February 2024 20:57 (two months ago) link

two weeks pass...

outsiders, and maybe taskmaster before it, makes me think i don't ever want to cross ed gamble.

Alma's Not Normal gets a repeat from monday (ahead of her taskmaster appearance)

koogs, Wednesday, 28 February 2024 09:01 (one month ago) link

I don't entirely like Ed Gamble but this may be because he went to the private school in the area where I grew up and all those kids were dicks

impostor syndrome to the (expletive) max (stevie), Wednesday, 28 February 2024 09:09 (one month ago) link

i enjoy ed gamble on taskmaster because he gets really intense about the tasks. his recent meltdown on a champion of champions task was pretty funny.
i don't know if i'd want to be best friends with him but listening to the off menu podcast helped humanize him for me somewhat.

na (NA), Wednesday, 28 February 2024 14:15 (one month ago) link

two weeks pass...

If you're not allergic to podcasts Adam Buxton's chat with Jessica Knappett is very charming and quite revealing in how much she views Drifters as a kind of lost opportunity (while still being proud of it).

First ep of that Noel Fiedling show was very meh, wish there was more cool popcult about highwaymen aside from the song "Highwayman" by the band the Highwaymen.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 18 March 2024 10:33 (one month ago) link

tim key’s “poetry programme” is back (not actually a poetry programme)

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m001xdnb

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Monday, 25 March 2024 12:20 (four weeks ago) link

E2 of this season is genuinely brilliant imo.. the kind of thing you can only do with audio

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/brand/b03pn5pl

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 30 March 2024 13:02 (three weeks ago) link

Mandy is back. it is nonsense, but it's also short.

was struck by the scope of the first episode, it felt expensive, but probably wasn't

and the second episode was worth watching for the reveal at the end

koogs, Saturday, 30 March 2024 13:23 (three weeks ago) link

I really like Mandy, I like that it's short enough to just be as daft as it wants

kinder, Saturday, 30 March 2024 17:23 (three weeks ago) link

as an aside, Whitstable Pearl is a crime thing on Drama starring comedian Kerry Godliman and is quite poor, but i like her and she just about saves it (3 seasons according to imdb, i guess Drama is behind)

New Taskmaster is also ok. needs to bed in a bit more, i think. still surprises me we don't have a dedicated taskmaster thread.

koogs, Monday, 1 April 2024 20:12 (three weeks ago) link

Surely this is the dedicated Taskmaster thread.

Still not finished the previous season, which is more due to our 9yo currently cycling through all previous seasons (and us not then wanting to watch more Taskmaster after she goes to bed) than any comment on the series. Watched the penultimate one over the weekend and it was hilarious. Also, after watching his sublime appearance on WILTY recently, am ready to shave my eyebrows and join Sam Campbell's cult. Watched his special Companion over the weekend, and he is so very funny. Not necessarily consistent enough for an hour, but had us laughing constantly.

Two eps into the new series, not screaming classic lineup so far

chap, Friday, 5 April 2024 23:13 (two weeks ago) link

As individuals they all seem ok, but it's not exactly up there with the best line-ups, though looking back there have only been a couple of straight-up gold and a couple of clunkers so perhaps I rose-tint this a bit, every series has had some gold in it (I think perhaps the Lou Sanders series was the worst with little redemption even though most of the participants are absolutely fine in their own right)

I don't think I've ever seen Steve Pemberton be himself before, but he's my instant favourite, he just seems naturally amusing.

ailsa, Friday, 5 April 2024 23:35 (two weeks ago) link

He does too many* dad jokes.

*There can never be too many dad jokes

Overtoun House windows (aldo), Friday, 5 April 2024 23:38 (two weeks ago) link

Just having an instant dad joke for everything is good in my book.

ailsa, Friday, 5 April 2024 23:43 (two weeks ago) link

Maybe he gets a better edit than some people who try and land jokes at every opportunity and end up surrounded by tumbleweed before the odd one actually raises a giggle. I like him. He doesn't seem like he's trying too hard.

Obvs John Robins was wearing a HMHB t-shirt on this week's show, so he gets a free pass.

ailsa, Friday, 5 April 2024 23:45 (two weeks ago) link

I love Taskmaster, it’s my favorite TV show, but as an American I often don’t know who most of the contestants are so all of my conceptions of them come just from Taskmaster. I agree this batch seems weak, though I’ve only seen the first ep. It feels odd that in season 17 they still get contestants who don’t seem to understand the show and what makes an entertaining guest.

My favorites are the genuine weirdos. Sam Campbell and Lucy Beaumont were both incredible last series and now they have a podcast together. Susan Wokoma was delightful too.

na (NA), Friday, 5 April 2024 23:59 (two weeks ago) link

I don't think I've ever seen Steve Pemberton be himself before, but he's my instant favourite, he just seems naturally amusing.

I like him a fair bit in his other endeavours, but in this he's a bit Dara O'Brien style 'I'm probably going to win' smug for me.

Nick is very likeable, but hardly hilarious.

chap, Saturday, 6 April 2024 00:21 (two weeks ago) link

Lucy Beaumont absolutely does my head in. I can't fathom how someone can be that ditzy and yet get herself together enough to fashion a career out of her ditziness. Career weirdos just baffle me (see also Sam Campbell and Mike Wozniak, for example).

Absolutely *loved* Susan Wokoma, up there with Katy Wix in terms of people I only knew through acting roles before Taskmaster and now absolutely adore.

ailsa, Saturday, 6 April 2024 00:26 (two weeks ago) link

And yeah, my previous encounters with Nick have been in his magician persona on Catsdown, and acting roles which don't count. Based on the former I thought I'd hate him, but he's ok. Amiable and silly are good Taskmaster traits, but the series needs someone to root for, and I can't summon much enthusiasm for any of them.

ailsa, Saturday, 6 April 2024 00:29 (two weeks ago) link

i just find it odd that Steve P isn't sat in the traditional old man seat.

and the fact i can't remember the woman's name two episodes in probably doesn't bode well.

koogs, Saturday, 6 April 2024 05:37 (two weeks ago) link

Lucy Beaumont absolutely does my head in. I can't fathom how someone can be that ditzy and yet get herself together enough to fashion a career out of her ditziness

it's an act, right?

ledge, Saturday, 6 April 2024 06:40 (two weeks ago) link

if it is an act it's brilliant. if it isn't, you're right it's mystifying.

ledge, Saturday, 6 April 2024 06:42 (two weeks ago) link

For me it's Joanne McNally this year, for absolute comedy snob reasons. She's just not for me. I don't rate her one bit.

I absolutely love John Robins (fellow Queen enthusiast that he is), and his attempts to stick a chopping board to a whiteboard really made us laugh this week. Otherwise it's all a bit meh so far. I love Nick's vampire costume, though.

Jamali was a terrible contestant, I remember, but that must have been a stressful season to be on. Total social distancing, whole country on edge, etc. But yeah, it's not a show to try to maintain your cool persona on. If being in control is your thing, you should not answer the call.

trishyb, Saturday, 6 April 2024 09:27 (two weeks ago) link

i just find it odd that Steve P isn't sat in the traditional old man seat.

They sit in alphabetical order of first names, always have. They must have forgotten to get younger people with names later in the alphabet.

ailsa, Saturday, 6 April 2024 09:32 (two weeks ago) link

Joanne would probably be a laugh to hang out with, but hardly a comic genius.

chap, Saturday, 6 April 2024 09:43 (two weeks ago) link

> They sit in alphabetical order of first names, always have.

mind blown.

i kinda wish they'd have some of the Dave-era people back onto the bigger budget show

koogs, Saturday, 6 April 2024 10:15 (two weeks ago) link

5, 7 and 9 are the best series imo. Don't think 8 was that bad either.

Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 6 April 2024 11:32 (two weeks ago) link

I’ve seen Sam Campbell live and his energy is off the charts nuts

Humanitarian Pause (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 13 April 2024 01:50 (one week ago) link

This is amazing
https://bsky.app/profile/blueno.se/post/3kqgtq5hlir2f

Big Bong Theory (stevie), Friday, 19 April 2024 09:08 (three days ago) link

I watched this last night and noticed we were getting a lot of low angled shots showing the puddles but didn't twig that they'd edited out Nick Mohammed's reflection. I wonder if there's much more of that kind of thing they've included that hasn't been picked up on yet? (I know about them having the contestants sit in alphabetical order each series)

soref, Friday, 19 April 2024 09:35 (three days ago) link

Ooh, I didn't notice about the puddle reflections, that's a nice trick. I'm sure there are loads of wee Easter eggs in the linking shots. It took me about three series to work out that Alex was holding up the number of fingers of the episode part in the inserts cutting to and from ads.

ailsa, Friday, 19 April 2024 10:44 (three days ago) link

It was also kind of mindblowing for reasons I couldn't quite fathom that the age-split of teams has Nick on the old person team. So I looked them all up and it's because there's ten years between the four younger ones then another ten years up to Steve.

Sophie youngest by four years, Jon and Joanne about the same age, then Nick about five years older than them but still ten years younger than Steve.

ailsa, Friday, 19 April 2024 10:49 (three days ago) link

do they always split the teams by age? I always assumed it was mostly about scheduling and who was available to film stuff at the same time.

soref, Friday, 19 April 2024 10:54 (three days ago) link

I don't think it's always by age but they like to have the teams contrast imo, age is one way to do that.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 19 April 2024 10:57 (three days ago) link

It seems quite age-based most of the time (basing entirely on Brand and Baddiel here, tbf) I haven't really looked it up.

ailsa, Friday, 19 April 2024 11:05 (three days ago) link

Alan Davies and VCM an obvious age-split one as well

ailsa, Friday, 19 April 2024 11:06 (three days ago) link

Season 7 for example it was gender based, Jessica Knappett is the same age as Acaster and Phil Wang but got paired with Kerry Godliman.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 19 April 2024 11:07 (three days ago) link

The pairings aren't always age-based: Frankie Boyle and Ivo Graham developed a weird father-son relationship in the Series 15 group tasks, for example.

Wry & Slobby (Portsmouth Bubblejet), Friday, 19 April 2024 11:55 (three days ago) link

I would have guessed Sophie was second oldest by a few years. She's had a hard paper round and is being played in the 'slightly crazy/menopausal woman' personality slot on the panel.

Overtoun House windows (aldo), Friday, 19 April 2024 12:26 (three days ago) link

I was surprised as well but yeah she was born in '87!

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 19 April 2024 12:28 (three days ago) link

I honestly don't know how old I thought Sophie was, but I'd absolutely have gone "older than Joanne" every day of the week.

ailsa, Friday, 19 April 2024 12:51 (three days ago) link

aw I thought *every* reflection of nick had been removed but it's only the ones in that task.

ledge, Friday, 19 April 2024 20:23 (three days ago) link

Yeah I would've swapped Sophie and Joanne's real ages! (36 & 40 respectively)

chap, Saturday, 20 April 2024 12:26 (two days ago) link

Sophie has definite eccentric aunt vibes

chap, Saturday, 20 April 2024 12:27 (two days ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.