Comedy Snippets: 14/02/2019

comedy snippets

American Dad S14E14
American Dad at one point was the best animated comedy on tv, though very few people seemed to notice at the time, mainly as it’s always lived in Family Guy’s shadow and over here in the UK wasn’t broadcast in order. But during seasons seven to nine it became a quite subversive and surreal show, and they had a lot of fun doing the kinds of plots that were quietly outrageous and extremely funny, with Seth MacFarlane himself admitting he didn’t always get the humour, so you know it must have been great. Unfortunately a few years ago the showrunners were moved over to Family Guy and new writers employed and it hasn’t been as good since, though it’s still far better than anything else MacFarlane is involved with. Now after far too long a break it’s back on TBS (though god knows when the new episodes will be shown over here) and it’s still pretty strong, not essential tv but certainly worth catching if you’ve nothing else to do. This latest episode saw Stan and Francine get a free trial at the local gym but Stan quits when it’s over with, much to Francine’s disdain. The family point out she has a history of quitting and are surprised she feels so upset, and hurt by this she decides to stick with it. Soon she has an amazing gym body but Stan’s fed up as it’s meant no one’s been doing the housework and all the meals are healthy and so horrible, and to get her back to normal he and Roger decide to enter a local competition and beat her in the hope it’ll lead to her giving it up. It might not exactly sound hilarious but the jokes were strong, the grotesquely healthy bodies amusing, and there was a nicely daft b-plot with Klaus claiming he invented the high five which went down a very bizarre but funny road. So whilst it might not be as good as it once was, it still has a lot of decent gags and I’m glad it’s returned.

Pen15 Episodes 2 & 3
I reviewed the really enjoyable first episode of this last week but had minor concerns that I might be getting excited by a great first episode and the rest of the series wouldn’t be as good. Thankfully so far such thoughts have proven to be wrong with both episodes two and three containing a lot of very funny moments. The second episode saw the duo drink alcohol for the first time, and almost smoking and making out with boys, and had some great scenes (including one where they act out scenes with Sylvanian Family dolls, and another where Maya inhales computer cleaning fluid) and though it may sound wrong the following dialogue where Maya and another girl were talking about boys – “Isn’t one of them only eight?” / “Yeah but he’s really hot” – had me laughing out loud. The third was also on top form as Maya discovers masturbation and becomes addicted to it, and is another example of why this show couldn’t have been made with an all young cast. The course of true (self) love is never simple though as she starts to feel guilty when her Mother tells her that her dead grandfather watches over them all of the time, and hallucinates that he’s doing so when masturbating, and things get even more bizarre when a Ouija board is brought out, but it also never stops being very funny too.

Ricky Gervais’s Afterlife
Gervais appeared on Graham Norton’s chat show last week and we were given a 44 second clip of his new Netflix show, Afterlife. It’s based around the idea that a suicidal man (Gervais) has decided he doesn’t give a fuck about life anymore and will say whatever he wants while his father (David Bradley) is suffering from dementia and pretty much does the same thing due to his illness. Now it may be unfair to judge the show based on such a short clip but it doesn’t bode well, with Gervais relying on his tired old shtick of getting someone to say something offensive (in this case “He told Winston Freeman he had the cock of a china man” / “He accused Charlie Willis of sucking off Elton John”) and giggling at it like a naughty schoolboy while admonishing the person for saying it, and his use of dementia as a way to do such a thing is actively offensive. If the show is as bad as it looks here Gervais can go fuck himself quite frankly, the image of which would probably make the childish twat laugh too.

The Return of Captain Invincible
This is an offbeat Australian musical comedy from 1983 about a superhero returning from years of drunken obscurity. In certain ways it’s all a bit of a mess but for some reason that makes me like it all the more, as it’s a fascinating clash of different styles of comedy that don’t always sit well together, but taken in isolation are really interesting and often very funny. There’s only three really strong songs, but Christopher Lee’s final song where he attempts to get recovering alcoholic Captain Invincible pissed again is fucking amazing and in my humble opinion it’s genuinely one of the greatest scenes in comedy history, with Lee delivering every line with glee. In short: It’s one of those time when flawed ambition is still a beautiful thing.

Non-Youtube Video Of The Week
Paul Scheer’s one of my favourite comedians and the host of the “How Did This Get Made?” podcast, so he knows his bad movies more than most people do. In this great video for the AV Club he lists his choices and explains why he loves them despite their all round terribleness and it’s an entertaining watch, plus it led me to viewing the shockingly bad but strangely lovable 1980’s musical The Apple (a review of which will be posted soon) and for that reason alone folks should check it out, it really is something that has to be seen to be believed.

Alex Finch.

Previous Comedy Snippets:
07/02/2019 – The Other Two, Hannah Gadsby’s Douglas, Roast Battle, Guys And Dolls
31/01/2019 – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Tigtone, Angie Tribeca, Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life, Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast 
24/01/2019 – Oh Lucy!, Blark And Son, Angie Tribeca, 
17/01/2019 – The Day Shall Come, Family Guy, Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Podcast, Jon Glaser Loves Gear
10/01/2018- Best Week Ever With Paul F. Tompkins, Vice, Catastrophe, Angie Tribeca

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