Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
The Unauthorised Bash Brothers Experience
I’m a huge fan of The Lonely Island, Popstar: Never Stop Popping is an enormously underrated film, as is Hot Rod, their pilot which I covered for One and Done is a lot of fun, and their various other work has also made me laugh a ridiculously amount. And yet I only got round to watching this latest work of theirs this week and I just don’t know why (bar that I’m often an idiot), I wish I’d caught it on the day of it’s release though as I haven’t stopped listening to it since. Based on the true story of two baseball players from the eighties and nineties who became embroiled in scandal and controversy, Andy and Akiva portray the two leads with Jorma taking on three minor roles. A mockery of visual albums like Beyonce’s Lemonade it’s just stunning from start to finish, it’s beautifully shot and impressively filmed but that pails in comparison to just how funny it is. The songs are packed with hilarious lyrics (references to Alf and Michael J. Fox’s sitcom character Alex Keating being my favourite, but I’m a sucker for nostalgia), and there’s a lot of superb visual jokes as well including some great sex faces and the whole of Bikini Babe Workout is hilarious from start to finish. Slightly embarrassing I had no idea it was based on a true story while watching it, but I guess that just goes to show how you don’t need to know anything about baseball or those portrayed in it to fall madly in love with it, and now knowing the full story when I watched it again it became even funnier. It’s a piece of comedy that I never wanted to end, and in a year of amazing tv shows and pretty decent films so far it’s easily the thing which has made me laugh the most, so I’d recommend joining Netflix for it alone.
Trigger Warning With Killer Mike Season 1 Episode 1
If you’re not in the know, Killer Mike is a highly acclaimed rapper best known for being part of Run The Jewels, and an activist and an actor to boot, and in this Netflix show which aired a couple of months ago he tackles various subjects relating to life in America when you’re black. In this first episode he explores the idea of only spending “the black dollar” – money which goes directly to black retail outlets and manufacturers, as apparently when it comes to the white, Asian and Jewish communities they can “keep a dollar” in their communities for between 23 and 28 days, whereas with the black community it’s only six hours, and so Mike tries to survive for three days without spending any money which won’t go any non-black companies. It was sold by Netflix as a comedy (and the participation of PFFR’s Vernon Chatman suggested that would be the case) but this episode is only intermittently funny, with most of the humour coming from Killer Mike moaning about not being able to smoke marijuana as it’s only made by white farmers, though his appearance on a podcast where he only communicates through band mate El-P is amusing too. But it is fascinating throughout as initially he has to walk everywhere due to all of his cars being made by white companies, at least until he finds a black bike company and a black coach company, and with the lack of any where to stay when he travels to a gig in Athens he ends up sleeping in a park. While there he can only find one black owned restaurant too, and even then he’s screwed over when El-P suggests the meat might not be from a black farm and it turns out it isn’t, and you really feel for him as he tackles his depressingly difficult task. Though it’s not packed with laughs (or this first episode wasn’t, at least) it really is a engrossing insight in to a subject that’s not often covered on television, and I definitely plan to watch the rest of the series given how strong an opening episode this was.
Taskmaster Sweden Series 1 Episode 1
Taskmaster’s been a massive success for Dave, not only bringing in some of their best ever viewing figures but because they’ve sold the format to the US, Sweden, Belgium and Denmark. The US version was a mixed bag, effective in places but not in others and with the 22 minute running time working against it, but this Swedish version (known as Bäst i Test, or Best In Test) is a lot better. It’s not without it’s faults, there’s a couple too many studio based segments and the host Babben Larsson is a little too dry and lacking in attempts at even trying to be funny, but their version of Alex Horne, David Sundin, turned out to be perfect for the role, he’s quite different from Horne and came across as slightly odd but it worked in the show’s favour and he made me laugh a good few times. Most importantly is that the tasks were strong (something which didn’t always apply with the American effort) with one where they had to make a horror film trailer using only dairy products being particularly great and something I’d like the UK lot to have to do as well. They also had a great version of the “Ask a Swede” task where they got to annoy an Icelandic gentleman, and a physical task where they had to empty a bathtub worked well too. The contestants are a bit of a mixed bag, with a tv presenter on the show not being that interesting (which is my being very kind there, I could have described him in a far harsher manner) but when Taskmaster is off the air this is a decent enough way to help with withdrawal symptoms. I saw it thanks to youtube but unfortunately it’s now been taken down, but hopefully it’ll turn up there again at some point and if it is I’ll post a link here.
In which a blind flower girl prostitutes herself for everyone’s favourite arch trickster, The Tramp. This time he befriends a suicidal alcoholic millionaire and then steals his identity to fool the aforementioned woman in to thinking he’s rich, often taking advantage of her blindness and spying on her, and it’s inevitably not long before he’s wearing her skin – and her grandma’s too! Okay, I might have made up that last bit up, but the rest is all true. Of course these were more innocent times (well, on film at least) so it’s not meant to be read like that, and it’s all a big bunch of charming silliness and daft slapstick set pieces which I enjoyed a huge amount, the highlight for me being the big boxing match and the botched suicide attempt. The Great Dictator is still my favourite Chaplin movie, but this comes a close second.
Video Of The Week
I recently recommended a video from the comedian Thomas Howarth about the Titanic and here’s another from the man because a) it’s very funny stuff indeed, and b) I’m hoping he’ll start paying me if I keep on doing this. Hey, I’ve got to earn a living somehow after all. This one’s all about The Secret History Of Cats and if you’ve ever wanted to know about how the Egyptians hated cats or when Shakespeare wrote cats in to his plays, go here.
Link(s) Of The Week
As regular readers will know, I love Garry Shandling to pieces and especially his masterpiece The Larry Sanders Show. As well as being a gloriously funny tv show there was a tie in book released which is a great read too, and this Vulture article goes in to depth about it. And if you want to know more about the great man, check out this site which his estate set up after his tragic passing, with the Catalog section being the best bit as it contains a lot of rare photos, videos, and parts of his journals.
Previous Comedy Snippets:
16/06/2019 – Rick and Morty Issue 50, Spiderman / Deadpool Issue 50, Lobo Goes To Hollywood, Superhero Movie
09/06/2019 – Archer, The Jellies, Mom, Bye Bye Birdie.
01/06/2019 – Rostered On, Historical Roasts, American Dad, The Phantom Of The Paradise
23/05/2019 – Barry, Urban Myths, Goatface, Shazam!
18/05/2019 – Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Taskmaster, Documentary Now, The History Of Future Folk
10/05/2019 – Dead Pixels, Santa Clarita Diet, Scot Squad, Lemon
03/05/2019 – What We Do In The Shadows, Lazor Wulf, Al Murray’s Great British Pub Quiz, Brigsby Bear
26/04/2019 – Barry, Bonding, Special, Repo The Genetic Opera
19/04/2019 – Hot Streets, Lazor Wulf, Tacoma FD, The Tick, Safety Last
12/04/2019 – The Unexplainers, The Tick, The Funny Women Awards 2019, Popstars Never Stop Popping
04/04/2019 – Santa Clarita Diet, Abby’s, This Time With Alan Partridge, Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein
28/03/2019 – Wayne, Blockbusters, Bill And Ted Face The Music, Hoodwinked
21/03/2019 – Shrill, A.P. Bio, One Red Nose Day And A Wedding, PK
14/03/2019 – Corporate, The Harry Hill Movie, CJ7, The Day Will Come
07/03/2019 – This Time With Alan Partridge, Frank Skinner On Demand, Girlfriend’s Day, Comic Relief
28/02/2019 – Hot Streets, Warren, Mom, Stage Fright
21/02/2019 – Jon Glaser Loves Gear, Corporate, Doom Patrol, Nudist Colony Of The Dead
14/02/2019 – American Dad, Pen15, Afterlife, The Return Of Captain Invincible
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