Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

Comedic Interlude

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Hurrah for Limmy’s Show conveying how I feel about all those awful Simon Cowell karaoke monstrosities:

Another good little short one:

Shame it’s only on some evil Sky channel (feck off, Murdoch) , the BBC iPlayer or dodgy places if you’re not in Scotland. Puny BBC.

2010 in photos and URLs of humans

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Another year ends and once again staying in, not that that’s a problem (unless I am forced to watch Graham Norton being an arse on TV which will never happen). Staying In And Having A Nice Time is better than some of the New Year’s Eve moments that spring to mind like The One With The Bad Boyfriend Who Wouldn’t Kiss Me At Midnight, The One Where I Stayed In Bed All Upset, The One Where I Bumped Into My Nemesis, The One Where I Arrived After The Ding-Dongs Because Of My Stupid Working Hours or The One Where I Fell Asleep. I liked The One Where The Gays Had That Drama-Filled Party In A Flat Above A Shop though. To celebrate the lovely 2010 (sounds so futuristic to me) I have a load of photographs from the last 12 months of the blog involving going out and meeting people:

What I call the Talk About The Passion group in London in the Summer. Not that all of these lovely people are from that fine website / zine but it’s easier to explain. Check out the Talk About The Passion site for more on that project. Not pictured as I didn’t take any photos of him this year and he wasn’t around for this: Christopher Bate who has a blog here. In her first of several appearances on here is That Cheryl who goes out a lot and does

I ended up meeting main TATP man Mister Ben Baker twice in a fortnight after years of not being in the same space at all when we went on holiday to the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District and it would have been silly to not take a little detour and visit him. He’s on Twitter like most of the people in my world of geek: @thatbenbaker .

Also finally met a whole load more blogger pals earlier in the year when Mister Stephen Sears brought his Middle Eight world tour to Fancy London. His site is great for musical recommendations as is the also-pictured Paul’s Fizzypop site. Not pictured (as they hadn’t arrived when the photo was taken) are other luminaries of the musical blogosphere like Phil Worrapolava and Rod Bright Light Bright Light who became a marvellous pop star soon after and keeps turning up on this blog.

I took a lot of photos of Essex seasidse towns this year so a trip to Southend with Jamie and his Mum had to be represented here too. It’s always a bit weird going back there and seeing what has changed, makes me feel all “this used to be fields.”

Doctor Who fangeekathon at the BFI bar with Michael Dennis (whose rather good blog includes his recent “Pay Your Tax!” adventure) and Mister Bertie Fox was great fun and not just because of the anonymous Guest Ale. I am a mere amateur geek compared to those two and they’re both worth a Twitter follow: @bertiefox and @michael_dennis of course.

Went out with Zoe (who is *gasp* not on Twitter and comes from my Art Skool era) to our old London haunts, as we tend to do every now and then. This time we decided on the rer-opened Pollo Bar Italian place in Soho for old time’s sake. Not bad but the quality of the food was not really the point of meeeting up. Good times. Also went to see James ‘up north’ as part of our Yorkshire Dales trips but he is shy and hid behind his hand the entire time. Other eating out moments of note included taking our mothers out but not all night when we went to the seaside in/on Canvey Island. They had good sauces in that place.

As I decided it was my year of going to gigs I actually went to some. David McAlmont at the Leicester Square Theatre was pretty magical and he did a meet the fans thing which I couldn’t resist. The live CD/DVD of that show is coming out in February, marvellous! We also went to see The Melting Ice Caps perform as a full band for the first time which was great stuff and I blogged about them quite a lot this year as you may have noticed. Big geek points day was that one where I bought a TARDIS with all 11 Doctor action figures just before we went to see The Writer Brian Dooley’s new work in progress performed at Soho Theatre: a sitcom read-through in a small hot room that was very funny indeed and needs to be on the telly. Met him afterwards which was lovely as we’re big fans (this year has definitely been The Year of Meeting People) and also met Will Howells who I knew of through Twitter and That Cheryl knew through our shared friend who knows everyone in the country. Or something.

Most postponed event of the year must surely be the Miranda recording at TV Centre. It finally happened and we ended up with a lot of tickets so a gang was formed and it was indeed such fun. Attendees were me and Jamie, That Cheryl, Bertie Fox and his fella Aria , David from The Melting Ice Caps and his comic creator pal Sina Evil . The recording lasted approximately 13.5 hours but we did a lot of laughs and claps.

I took quite a few self portait shots of our trips this year, I really need to hire a photographer to follow us around like a pair of rubbish celebrities. Or get special arm extensions. My attempt to get a photo with my old school friend Simon when we met up for a freezing cold West End wander before Christmas was not entirely successful but the day out was lovely. Another lovely day, way back at the start of this year was the trip to that ice bar place with Sheeraz which was just as cold but at least they supplied us with snazzy blue capes that had a soft muff on them.

We actually went to a comedy event that was not free this year: Popcorn Comedy in London which took place just down the road from one of my old student days house shares. Spooky. The gang for this one was me and Jamie, That Cheryl, Sheeraz (it’s nice when friends meet other friends from different ‘worlds’) and a rare appearance from Clive who has ben quiet since he became an international man of mystery. His not-updated-as-often-as-it-should-be blog is here and is fun. Not pictured as they were not there and not in any other photos: Adam and Wendy who we had many good curries with this year and even let them into our house once. Wendy is on LiveJournal but I am not. Also not pictured as I did not have my camera: the fun that was running around a bit in the BBC basement after eating a lorra lorra Mini Eggs in the green room. We loved our showbiz guestlist comedy recordings moments this year very much.

Final one: Christmas Day! I am still full now (this may be a slight exaggeration). Ho ho ho…

What I call a great evening of comedy

Monday, November 8th, 2010

What can I say about the return of Miranda without spoiling it? Well I assembled a team of like-minded individuals to go and investigate if it would be funny or not by sitting in front of the cast performing it (with occasional pre-recorded scenes on those screens) and here are some facts:

Episode two was recorded in TC4 last night after numerous postponements from an unspecified thing and a back injury and just as well because it’s due to air in two weeks.

There was a delay on the day in question due to non-specific reasons so it over-ran  until 11pm, causing a bit of a kerfuffle for people who had to use the at-best a bit rubbish Sunday train service. At least we had extra time in the bar before the show for our chat, drinks and delicious pecan pie (well that was just me and Jamie but it was rather memorable).

Weird noises could be heard from over the wall while in the long cold queue,  which turned out to be related to the large group of mostly women who had been participating in something called The Strictly Experience. Looked rather menopausal but fun for those who were there.

Recording Team montage. I am so art.

The Doctor Who geeks in our group went a bit funny when they came face to face with the TARDIS (now updated to the Matt Smith model) and Dalek (still an older golder one) just outdside the foyer. I had my geek moment inside the BBC shop when I saw that the new Projected Weeping Angel was out.

The warm-up and audience soothing was provided by Stu Goldsmith who did a good job resisting being too rude for the more cardigany people in the room, which was lucky as we’ve been to some recordings where the warm-up’s relationship with the audience never reached the ‘warm’ setting.

Spread out across the main part of the set were, ifrom left to right, the shop (big) followed by the main room of the flat (tiny) and the restaurant (long). Various food props had a handy home in the ‘kitchen’ of the restaurant which is unsurprisingly just a space behind a fake wall. Ah, the magic of television.

As is the norm with that sort of thing most scenes were performed three times. No ‘hilarious’ bloopers but luckily there were some duplicate props.

Guest artistes of note included John Finnemore (he was also in the first series a bit) from Mitchell & Webb and Cabin Pressure (he had just come from recording that elsewhere), Alex MacQueen from every bloody thing ever and Nick Mohammed from I’m  Sorry I’ve Got No Head and other things for taller older people which I have not seen.

We all got a little hand out with cast information, such fun.

There was some semi-elaborate falling over performed by genuine stunt people.

It was very very funny indeed and one of the campest things I’ve seen in ages. Miranda seems to have become a hybrid of both French and Saunders at their peak, which is nice but she’s not just a tribute act.

Old clips as can’t find the new trailer:

Episode one of series two is on next Monday at 8:30pm on BBC2.

Keep Smiling

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Remember this?

The Smoking Room was the workplace sitcom that had many uncannily realistic moments which several of my old colleagues still like to go on about now when we get together (as you would). It’s not back but its creator Brian Dooley has been busy with a new project (or two, it’s complicated) and we went to Soho Theatre on Saturday to see how it was coming along.

What was originally planned to be a full cast reading of an episode each from two new sitcom projects became a double bill of Keep Smiling performed as part of Triforce Promotions ongoing work with writers and actors in the Studio room.  I don’t want to give the plots away as the first one especially has a plot that could easily be spoiled so I’m mostly keeping it zipped. I can tell you who had scripts and made us laugh,  sat in a long line opposite us:

It starred Tom Goodman-Hill (the vicar who turned into an alien wasp in Doctor Who that time, as you do) and Selina Griffiths (Janet from The Smoking Room and the star of long lost comedy pilot Marigold that we loved).

Also appearing were Jimmy Akingbola (currently appearing in Rev), Chizzy Akudolu (from Dead Set), Fraser Ayres (Clint from The Smoking Room), Debbie Chazen (Psychoville, Doctor Who: Voyage of the Damned and Annie from The Smoking Room), Juliet Cowan (from loads of things including Sarah Jane Adventures and Pulling) and Emma Kennedy (Heidi from The Smoking Room and a lot of other things).

Keep Smiling proved (as if there was any doubt) that Brian Dooley can pull of domestic comedy just as well as the workplace variety. Episode one had a slightly convoluted involving plot with Dooley’s usual high-contrast approach to the darker moments of life interspersed with funny quirky character-based comedy while episode two (which is actually planned to be episode three) was the standard Surprise Party sitcom episode but with a great mixture of oddball guests that showed off his talent for creating a wide range of character types so it never became cliched. Keep Smiling is in development with the BBC and if any of the big cheeses see the film made of the reading they would be fools not to take it further. This would be perfect BBC2 9:30pm during the week material and the man near the back over the right hand side of the theatre would certainly agree, judging by the loud guffaws.

Afterwards we had a nice drink in the bar and I looked at my new Eleven Doctors figures box set (mmmm plasticy), I realised that everyone in the world of comedy and Doctor Who fandom knows the same few people, resisted telling another writer how much I like their work but it was insinuated while  talking to his friend, discovered lillies make my allergies really bad when my eye went pink and had a nice chat with Brian Dooley himself. Hurrah for Twitter once again for that is where we became tweet pals or whatever the hell you call it.

Here’s the blurb from the publicity:

Keith and Sheila are the happiest couple you’ll ever meet.  Madly in love with each other and with life, they won’t let anything bring them down.  They’re determined to spread happiness wherever they go, but with Sheila’s pessimistic sister Ruth to contend with, and a fleet of moaners and complainers to frustrate them, it isn’t always easy to keep smiling.  When they throw a party for Ruth she doesn’t want things don’t look set for a happy ending …

Popcorn Comedy is highly recommended

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

It’s been ages since I went to a comedy event that wasn’t a TV or radio recording but Popcorn was too good to resist.

Popcorn is an alluring mixture of short comedy films and some stand up which involves comedy films, so it’s basically about films that should make you laugh. They have an event every month and these can take place in different venues and parts of the country (see their website for more).  If you’re of a comedy film making bent you can submit your work for potential screening, which is nice, but the last film I made was a rubbish hip hop video filmed on a railway bridge in Leytonstone (or was it Leyton?) in the mic 90s so I’m not really the target for this.

Rather oddly, there have been several good short comedy films that caught my fancy and they were both shown at Popcorn (which took place at the Roxy which I can recommend as a bar/mini cinema venue with great food) when we went on Thursday:

Frisky & Mannish: Kate Bash got good laughs there, as it should.

Dan and Dan Films The Daily Mail song was all over the internet a few weeks ago and it was great to see it on a bigger screen.

Here are some other films we enjoyed for the very first time on that night:

Fun times photo montage:

TV’s Ed Petrie is lurking in the background in one of those grainy images. He was the star turn and showed his eleven year old self’s odd home movie about Hitler turning himself into a panda. No shouting cacti attended.

Blatant plug for Burnistoun

Monday, April 26th, 2010

BBC2 outside of Scotland have still not shown Burnistoun even though it is a rather brilliant comedy sketch show with a good selection of new funny ideas done on a cheap budget that never resorts to the kind of moronic ‘humour’ I’ve seen too much of recently (when attempting to watch a load of new Channel 4 pilots that relied a bit too much on wanking and whimsy). How silly. Here is episode six in three chunks and I heartily recommend watching it if you like the things I usually witter on about (Mitchell & Webb, Harry Hill, Peter Serafinowicz, Ed & Oucho, that sort of thing) …

It’s another Limmy’s Show* scenario. Wake up, BBC2!

* Funny Scottish sketch show only available in England via the iPlayer for  reasons beyond many comedy fans’ understanding.

World of Limmy

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

If you’re still sulking about That Peter Serafinowicz Show not getting a 2nd series and would love a new funny sketch show that has lots of ideas, fronted by a man who can also write (and direct and animate) and perform comedy then you could do a lot worse than check out Limmy’s Show… on BBC2 in Scotland but not in good old England as we don’t like that sort of thing apparently. It is, however, on the iPlayer so play away we must…

iPlayer episode one (for now)

iPlayer episode 2 (for a while)

I don’t want to ruin any gags or situations (much) so here are two clips that you should enjoy. One is a recurring character, the other is a little one-off:

I got so excited I made a badly made collage:
Limmy\'s Show
Brian Limond (for it is he) is on Twitter as @BrianLimond , which makes sense.

Funny ha ha , mostly

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Been a bit busy with working, eating and a little bit of exercising (worked out that it’s more quantity than quality that causes me too look like an expectant mother but still off the bad i.e. nice stuff for now) so here’s a simple lazy tv comedy score card mini review thing:

The Office: Back for a sixth season and still enjoyable with a good mix of humorous styles. Mostly character-based which is nice, and not too soap opera-ish which helps. When it’s great it’s really great so it keeps its 7.

Parks & Recreation: I didn’t get into this initially but revisited the tiny 6 episode first season a while back and grew to love it. Series 2 has eclipsed The Office in my affections ever so slightly so it gets an 8.

Community is the third show in the current NBC triple comedy bill and the only new Amercian network show I am currently watching more than one episode of. Not a bad start with a good mix of character types (a few cliches but that can’t be helped, including the typical man/woman love/hate plot) so I am giving this one a go. Episode 2′s B plot was a bit like something from Undeclared which is kind of inevitable giving the similar setting (community college vs university). Good stuff with potential so scores a 6. Trailer link!

Off The Hook is a BBC Three sitcom about university freshers and therefore I thought it would be a bit too broad for me and I was right. Like The Inbetweeners season 4 without any of the charm and one of the cast. The Hollyoaks / Skins of sitcoms. Scores a 2.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia is now into its 5th series and the opening episode didn’t score too well with me. The previous series was rather patchy and got stuck in a rut, with the unpleasantness of the characters becoming a bit grating. Better than the How I Met Your Mother style of cheesy niceness but maybe time to put this one to bed/sleep. Scores 4, but might improve.

Bored To Death is not strictly a sitcom as it is one of those HBO shows I like which blends comic moments with drama but it has loads of charm and good performances so I am including it here. I hate to say “quirky” but if I had to be a lazy reviewer that word would be used as it involves an unlicensed private detective played by Jason Schwartzman off the films doing what he does well. I’ll give it a 7 as it worked well and made me want to watch more episodes. Trailer link!

How Not To Live Your Life is another BBC Three sitcom whose first series passed me by as I assumed it was the usual kind of lowbrow (I sound like a snob now) thing that channel shows but I watched the first episode of the second series and enjoyed it. Influenced by the ‘loser character with voice over’ style but it gets away with it by being quite fun and it has a good supporting cast. I watched the first series this week with the now no longer in it Larry Nightingale from Blink and Dead Wooden Incest Girl from Hollyoaks and am quite glad the new episodes are not going over the same ground. I give it an amusing 7.

Cougartown co-stars Kim Kelly from Freaks and Geeks so I had a peek. It’s one of those unfunny American shows where everyone lives in a massive house in a quiet yet massive street, knows people called Chad or Chuck, and stars whatshername from Friends (the annoying one. Does that narrow it down? Oh yeah Courtney Cox) as a 40-something with ‘that face’ they all have (for examples see either Minogue and most famous Hollywood women in their 40s) as a divorced woman who will inevitably have ‘hilarious’ misadventures on weekly basis involving younger men or not having a man or having the wrong man or some other man-based plot because 40-something divorced women only care about fucking. Or something. It confused the hell out of me but I imagine women and the more poofy gays will love it. I was not gay enough. Shame.

Peep Show is now on its sixth series and I love it… but I guess you already knew that I was a big old Mitchell & Webb fan, right?

The best medicine (apart from Lemsip of course)

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009

To snap me out of another of my random inexplicable glooms (I am not Kerry Katona, I only have the go-to-bed-and-be-mopey bit, not the act-like-a-kid-who-has-had-all-the-Skittles bit) I thought I would waffle on about the comedy connections in the things I have been mostly laughing at this week.

Warning! Contains a lot of CBBC!

We Are Klang’s TV series started this week on the home of comedy dross aka BBC Threeee. Surprisingly for 3 (I am not typing all them letters every time I mention a sodding number) I liked it and found it funny and did Laugh Out Louds. You might too:

The men who are Klang have been around for ages now as an act and in other things (most famously in The Inbetweeners) but to me they are (and might always will be to a certain degree) the men from Ed & Oucho. Saturday mornings (and Sundays which are not as good) won’t be the same after next week’s final episodes of Transmission Impossible … and not just because they have guest comedians doing freaky ad-lib characters on a starlingly good kids’ TV show:

It helps that Oucho is the best puppet to grace our screens since that Bandril in Timelash.

The Sunday Transmission Impossible has an episode of That Mitchell & Webb Look Without Mitchell or Webb In It aka I’m Sorry I’ve got No Head. The titular repeating sketch is actually one of the weaker ones but with a writing team that includes TMWL’s Bachman & Evans, Davies & Pell, and Hazeley & Morris them pesky kids sure are being spoilt. Compared to a ‘proper’ sketch show like the zero-titters Kevin Bishop Show (slagging it off without watching some of it would be quite Dailymaily plus it has Karen Gillan from Doctor Who 2010 in it) its, well, erm, actually funny…

It also features Marek from We Are Klang aka Cassanova and that scary wrestler from Ancient Greece who visited Ed & Oucho in their CBBC era.

Final comedy world overlap clip examples come from the times We Are Klang’s Greg Davies was Henry VIII (most excellent) and Guy Fawkes , proving that history can be both educational and bloody funny.

Lossoli, as ever.

The blog that says Boo to Mad Mel’s Hooray

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Over a week since my last blog? Really? Oh well. So what’s been going on?

We went to Bath and Bristol where we proved Jamie’s point that children are little morons (in the nicest possible way, no offence meant to any children not reading this) but say excellently inappropriate things, I had the world’s largest brie and cranberry sandwich, experienced a dry-up in conversation skills when placed among ‘normal’ people and had the usual hotel bad sleep. Bristol had been modernised but this consisted of demolishing a chunk of the old high street and building an uber-posh zone full of designer clothes shops. Perfect for the current financial climate I am sure. But seriously, I am reminded of my limitations when I have a non-geek environment to socialise in. Schools? No. Children? No. IT? No. Running? No. Chickens? No. I managed to score points by explaining Twitter (as usual) to housewives and the subject of plants that are good for non-planty people to own.

Talking of cacti…
Saturday’s episode of Transmission Impossible was just wonderful. The most consistently funny thing on tv right now, with yer actual Laugh Out Louds.

Other highlights this week include an ‘on a brief errand’ stupid woman parking her enormous 4×4 right on the junction that we had to pull out of so she got the usual beeping. Cue said woman rushing towards my window to shout “I’VE GOT CHILDREN IN IT!” which confused me further. Does having children mean that they can only be transported in an oversized off-roader and are allowed special parking privileges? And don’t get me started on those reserved spaces in multi-story car parks for people with children. They’re small humans not cripples.

Christmas list idea:
Dex toy
A Dextor doll? Hmmm…

While a bit pissed and channel-hopping I had the misfortune to see a bit of Alan Carr: Chattyman. Is it just my mind working overtime (like Diana Ross in the late 80′s ) or is this title a ‘hilarious’ play on words with that popular phrase ‘Battyman’? If so, someone deserves to lose their job.

Great new album: VV Brown’s Travelling Like The Light.
Might be great new album but not come in the post yet: Dan Black’s album.

My comedy writer hero Paul Feig wrote a good piece about comedy scriptwriting in The Guardian:
“For me, the worst sort of comedies are the ones where the writers or the actors seem to be looking down on the characters. There are so many comedies that portray people living in the suburbs as living ridiculous or hypocritical lives. But I grew up in the suburbs of Michigan in midwest America and tend to think that everyone is just trying to get through life as best they can. You don’t have to sneer or poke fun at them to get a laugh. Most laughter comes from people seeming real and giving the audience recognition. Freaks And Geeks was a reflection of what it was really like growing up in a suburban environment. It was partly a response to all of those 80s teen movies where the characters didn’t really talk or act like real teenagers.”

I think the Torchwood!Panic! is over now. Nobody burned Russell T Davies’ house down, the world didn’t end, lots of silly people set up silly groups on Facebook, made badges, probably wore black armbands and wrote a whole load of crap on Twitter, sometimes to the lovely James Moran who was one of the writers. His blog about this is pretty good.

Rather than focusing on perceved homophobia from the likes of Russell T Davies the screaming fangirls could have done worse than get all uppity about Melanie Phillips and her continued move from the Silly Old Bag into Evil Nutjob category:
Well that headline sure didn’t pull any punches did it? So far so charmless shrew…

The problem, however, is that (Cameron’s) intention to repair the family is undermined by his support for gay rights.

Gays and families? Like oil and water!

The far more serious point, however, is that the gay rights agenda undermines marriage.

So oil and water has gays and family and marriage now? Nice. And my almost-the-same-as-marriage undermines our heterosexual friends’ marriage because…?

The Tories insist that this is not so and that the two sit happily together. Promoting gay rights, they say, is merely about ending intolerance. It is irrelevant to family breakdown, which is a heterosexual problem.

Which is true, if you believe that sort of thing.

Undoubtedly, the overwhelming reason is the collapse of constraints on heterosexual behaviour. But it is surely wrong to deny any connection.

It is? Do tell!

The key point is the difference between homosexuals as individuals and the ‘gay rights’ lobby.
A liberal society should be tolerant of gay people. It is good that social attitudes are now far more relaxed. People’s sexuality should be an entirely private matter and should not be the cause of prejudice or, worse still, aggression towards homosexuals.

Gee, thanks.

But is the gay rights agenda really about tolerance, or is it about trying to stop heterosexuality being the behavioural norm?

I think it’s about equality but I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

Because it entails treating gay relationships as identical to heterosexual ones in every respect, any differences – over marriage or adoption, for example – are damned as discrimination and bigotry. As a result, what started as a decent intention to eradicate intolerance has turned into intolerance as morality has been stood on its head. Thus opposing gay adoption on the grounds that children need a replica mother and father is denounced as ‘homophobic’.

Uh-oh. I bet she brings up the mythical “lifestyle choice” soon…

Gay rights activists claim that ‘lifestyle choice’ means gay relationships should be treated identically to heterosexual ones. But the core reason for family breakdown is precisely the view that marriage is merely a ‘ relationship’ for people to choose or not from a menu of alternative lifestyles. However, marriage is not a ‘relationship’ but a unique institution for safeguarding the upbringing of children.

It is? Well I am sure my childless married friends will be pleased to hear that.

I had to comment. I know I shouldn’t but sometimes I am too incensed not to:
mel shite
86 thumbs up? I think we might have had a breakthrough.