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 (eleven 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 (eleven 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 (eleven years ago) Permalink

couldn't agree more with the article.

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

yeah pretty definitive article.

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

OTM

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

Or Artrocker Comedy Racism Man

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

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

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

sometimes writers employ rhetorical devices.

xpost

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

david quantick wrote a book about chris rock?

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

we already did!

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

like, 5 minutes after the end credits!

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

I'm talking about THE BENEFIT OF DISTANCE AND HINDSIGHT

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

We watched Derry Girls over the last while - it's not re-inventing the sitcom but it's been a long time since I saw one that good.

Andrew Farrell, Sunday, 25 February 2018 18:00 (one month ago) Permalink

derry girls was great - ep about the orange march / trip over there border was def a high point

NEW CHIMP THREAT (bizarro gazzara), Sunday, 25 February 2018 18:05 (one month ago) Permalink

er, the border obv

NEW CHIMP THREAT (bizarro gazzara), Sunday, 25 February 2018 18:06 (one month ago) Permalink

agreed,
though the whole scene re bags of chips in one of the previous episodes was absolutely brilliant and had me proper guffawing.
as andrew said, nothing new, but bloody good.

mark e, Sunday, 25 February 2018 18:46 (one month ago) Permalink

this country is back !!!

belcalis almanzar (||||||||), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 15:56 (one month ago) Permalink

speaking of low-key BBC sitcoms, mum seems pretty funny a couple of episodes in. has the conventional charm of something like him & her

belcalis almanzar (||||||||), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 18:26 (one month ago) Permalink

I quite enjoyed the first series of Mum but the two eps of this so far seem unlikeable for a reason I can't put my finger on.

Great to see This Country back although the changed dynamics this series need to pan out.

I like the Diane Morgan/Joe Wilkinson thing but it's not really treading new ground.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 18:42 (one month ago) Permalink

"...unlikeable for a reason I can't put my finger on."

It's the same writer as Him & Her, which was gross in an incredibly mean and unbelievable way.

Heavy Messages (jed_), Wednesday, 28 February 2018 22:10 (one month ago) Permalink

the problem i have with 'Mum' is the son and his girlfriend.
i find them just too slap worthy, and so really get on my nerves(i know thats the point, but still..)
the snooty friend though has some brutal lines.

mark e, Thursday, 1 March 2018 10:57 (one month ago) Permalink

https://www.comedy.co.uk/images/library/comedies/other/beano_comedians_cover.jpg

(this is mainly just to enrage calzino i think)

mark s, Monday, 5 March 2018 15:10 (one month ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

Cunk on Britain is dense. I'm sure I've missed half the jokes.

koogs, Tuesday, 3 April 2018 21:51 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Final episode of This Country even better than last series' final episode. Better even than Detectorists. There, I said it.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Tuesday, 3 April 2018 22:37 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I'd begun to hate Mum by the end, the characters were all so unlikeable I found myself wishing little miseries on them (like hoping the son was going to forget to pay the deposit on the flat so they'd miss out).

Two Doors Down was glorious to the end. This series of Still Game has been pretty good.

I could take or leave Young Offenders to be honest, I just ended up wishing it was funnier. The last episode with the bus hijack was probably the highlight.

Two kind of underrated shows that the are either very short or still going in as far as anything does these days on BBC3. Soft Border Patrol is pretty predictable but v amusing, and Wannabe is very predictable but nearly amusing. I watched some other BBC3 series dumped on iplayer too, but it must have been unmemorable because I can't even recall the name of it.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Tuesday, 3 April 2018 22:47 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I suspect that the lukewarmness of aldo's Wannabe recommendation is funnier than the show itself.

Alba, Wednesday, 4 April 2018 06:04 (two weeks ago) Permalink

conversely, didn't last ten minutes of two doors down but thought this series of mum was great. agree, this country was great too.

||||||||, Wednesday, 4 April 2018 06:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

First of the four James Acaster specials that dropped on netflix takes a while to get going but pretty great/moving by the end.

Daniel_Rf, Wednesday, 4 April 2018 12:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I really liked them, I thought the second was the weakest but it's very strong overall. I think he's great.

I especially loved his Pythagoras bit "every triangle is a love triangle if you love triangles".

Robert Adam Gilmour, Friday, 6 April 2018 21:28 (two weeks ago) Permalink

He's definitley one of the best around.

Daniel_Rf, Saturday, 7 April 2018 11:37 (two weeks ago) Permalink

cunk on britain was excellent

ogmor, Saturday, 7 April 2018 14:39 (two weeks ago) Permalink

it should be better than it is imo

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 7 April 2018 15:10 (two weeks ago) Permalink

The story of life.

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Saturday, 7 April 2018 15:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

don't get me wrong she is a treasure, but it's because of that that i feel she's a bit underserved by the material. the jokes land with slightly too much regularity:

slightly off statement
- earnest supporting detail 1
- earnest supporting detail 2
-- bathetic/surreal/filthy conclusion

and the squirm-tastic ali g treatment of the experts felt mean-spirited. do we really need to take patient nerdy historians down a peg? when the daily show would blindside people with their ridiculous questions it usually served to highlight the stupidity of the correspondent him or herself, or the inanity of the format. when the writing does this the show is glorious. the whole opening 5 or 10 minutes is a masterclass in format satire

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 7 April 2018 15:22 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Hate it when they try and make a fool of somebody for no reason. Seen that shit on Samantha Bee.

Robert Adam Gilmour, Saturday, 7 April 2018 15:57 (two weeks ago) Permalink

the stretch leading up to the romans was amazing, thought this was much better than the other cunk stuff, faster & thicker

ogmor, Saturday, 7 April 2018 16:04 (two weeks ago) Permalink

At least half those people would've known the setup, surely.

The Peston question was solid gold. and then the follow up...

Does Brooker have a hand on this?

koogs, Saturday, 7 April 2018 16:45 (two weeks ago) Permalink

yes, not sure the extent though

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Saturday, 7 April 2018 19:20 (two weeks ago) Permalink

He's a writer on it, probably producer too?

I don't think the segments with historians are mean-spirited: the dynamic of them seems to be that Cunk is a petulant child and they are almost absurdly patient, kindly people, they always come off very well. You could argue that they shouldn't have to waste their time with this nonsense in the first place sure but I mean that's what you get when you don't look into ppl who want to interview you.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 9 April 2018 13:01 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I got the impression they were probably in on it, I mean, this isn't the 90s

i know kore-eda (or something), Monday, 9 April 2018 13:15 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Diane Morgan (on Adam Buxton's podcast) says no, fwiw.

Daniel_Rf, Monday, 9 April 2018 14:39 (two weeks ago) Permalink

you'd need exttremely good actors to pull that off.

Heavy Messages (jed_), Monday, 9 April 2018 15:24 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Not really, all you'd have to do is look mildly bemused, exasperated at worst

i know kore-eda (or something), Monday, 9 April 2018 15:32 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I loved Robert Preston trying really hard to think about what "the most political thing that's ever happened" was, looked like he genuinely thought he could come up with an answer.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 9 April 2018 15:46 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Peston, he's not a Preston or he would've been in the poll

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 9 April 2018 15:47 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I loved Robert Preston trying really hard to think about what "the most political thing that's ever happened" was

Brexit, duh.

chap, Monday, 9 April 2018 16:26 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Dude she interviewed about Nelson this week was the first expert to seem genuinley angry about the experience.

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 12 April 2018 10:10 (one week ago) Permalink

Ladies and Gentlemen, A CONTENDER APPROACHES.

Rob Beckett's Playing For Time is (caveated by the fact I've only watched the first episode so far) genuinely the worst 'comedy' ever commissioned by C4 at least, and maybe anyone.

It's clearly trying to exploit the success on Dave of Go 8 Bit, various "I like August 1983" talking heads shows and, to a lesser extent, Taskmaster and Rob's success on that. But fails at every step of the way.

It starts with an "acted" set-up sequence. Rob, bless him, is quite an engaging character but it not an actor in any way, shape or form. He makes Josh Widdecombe look like Marlon Brando. I would say "eyes and teeth" but thats a cheap gag (although probably not above being the best joke made on this show). And the premise is laid out - a woman (her off Derek) has come back from the future and given him a video game console which will trap him in the past unless he can complete video game challenges from those eras.

What happens next is nearly inexplicable. Rob is transported into a front room/man cave dressed as a parody of the era where he looks at the stuff "oh look, that's a vinyl. I'm learning." and the future woman tells us what was in the news at the time. It's exactly like a children's tv show and filmed as one but edgy with swearing and that, innit. The featured eras are the 80s, the 90s and the present day. But where are the Naughties, I hear you cry? Well they actually ask the same question in the show which is dealt with by "I knew you'd forget that we played games in that era, so here's a flashback montage of what we played" <cut to 3 10 second clips>. I think, giving to the benefit of the doubt, it's supposed to actually be a chat show with the guests, but without much chat.

Episode one features Scarlett Moffatt, who cannot play games at all. The writers clearly haven't played games either, because the 1982 game they pick is PacMan on the Atari 2600 which isn't exactly the easiest thing for people who can't play games. Even then, they only have to complete one level between them which they fail at so they have to do the backup task instead. I can scarcely believe I am typing this but SCARLETT HAS TO THROW CHEESE PUFFS (because they're Pac Dots, DO YOU SEE) INTO ROB'S MOUTH ACROSS A TABLE. The fucking state of entertainment. THIS IS 2018 FFS.

Episode 2 is Asim Chaudry and only marginally better. God help us, episode three has Josh Widdecombe. I feel like I can't look away.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Sunday, 15 April 2018 10:35 (one week ago) Permalink

In better news, I enjoyed Lee and Dean quite a lot. It's not at all what you might think it is.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Sunday, 15 April 2018 10:35 (one week ago) Permalink

Oh, wait, Future Woman on Rob Beckett is called Peggy which I have only just realised is supposed to be a joke.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Sunday, 15 April 2018 10:39 (one week ago) Permalink

jesus

karl wallogina (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 15 April 2018 10:41 (one week ago) Permalink

Ep 3: hold my beer.

The 80s is represented by Rob dressed as MC Hammer and Josh as Darryl McDaniels. Could only have been worse with blackface which sadly is not in evidence. Rob looks like a drunk Auntie wearing a baseball hat backwards in a YouTube clip.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Sunday, 15 April 2018 10:45 (one week ago) Permalink

that Rob Beckett thing sounds like what all comedy panel shows look like to me

you're my luger not my rifle (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 15 April 2018 10:53 (one week ago) Permalink

I never learned from any comedy panel show that Pavement were a famous band from the 70s (ep 3).

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Sunday, 15 April 2018 11:04 (one week ago) Permalink

I saw the last 15 minutes of the Josh Widdecombe episode of that Rob Beckett show and while it wasn't great it was about a million times better than Go 8 Bit which just doesn't work at all as a format imo.

It's exactly like a children's tv show and filmed as one but edgy with swearing and that, innit.

like, retro children's tv show is a much better format for a show where comedians play computer games than Go 8 Bit's half a dozen ppl riffing in front of an audience panel show thing, lack of studio audience means they can go for gently amusing chat rather than a zingerthon. Watching other people play video games is inherently quite dull but the Rob Beckett thing kind of makes a virtue of it by being relaxing (related to this - the other virtue of only having two ppl appear is that you can actually sort of follow the game as opposed to Go 8 Bit's 'four ppl play the same one player game on four different screens while two other ppl commentate and everything is incomprehensible' approach

soref, Sunday, 15 April 2018 11:38 (one week ago) Permalink

cunt referee just stood 5 yards in front of a clothesline on Costa and didn't even blow for a foul

you're my luger not my rifle (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 15 April 2018 11:48 (one week ago) Permalink

lol wrong thread

you're my luger not my rifle (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 15 April 2018 11:53 (one week ago) Permalink

xpost

Just to be clear, you watched Rob and Josh wearing bow ties and frame-only glasses (representing 2009, "the year of geek chic") make jokes about how they weren't gay while playing a wii canoeing game ("the wii was the first console that did the physical thing, which was why it didn't take off"); then do a backup task featuring Rob trying to talk with a grill in ("no, not with sausages, with jewels like what rappers wore") complete with gang signs and pass on well known 2009 phrases like "bling-bling" only "wasn't great".

I'm no Go 8 Bit stan, and God knows it crashes and burns when the guests are dreadful like Natasia Demetriu the other week, but at least it actually seems to care about video games.

Bimlo Horsewagon became Wheelbarrow Horseflesh (aldo), Sunday, 15 April 2018 12:07 (one week ago) Permalink

I wasn't aware of either of these comedians or their true crime podcast but this was fun
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUsFsPje6BA

Robert Adam Gilmour, Sunday, 15 April 2018 12:19 (one week ago) Permalink

Go 8 Bit is appaling but I can believe that Beckett thing's worse.

cunt referee just stood 5 yards in front of a clothesline on Costa and didn't even blow for a foul

Strangely appropriate post for a UK comedy thread.

Daniel_Rf, Sunday, 15 April 2018 21:34 (one week ago) Permalink

ikr?

you're my luger not my rifle (Noodle Vague), Sunday, 15 April 2018 21:55 (one week ago) Permalink


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