Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
Taskmaster Series 8 Episode 8
I don’t think there’s been another series which has been quite as schizophrenic in quality as this latest batch of Taskmaster episodes, the first was fine if nothing that special, the second a big step up and I was very fond of the third and fourth as well. But the fifth, sixth and seventh failed to entice, and a couple of times I found myself distracted by the net while I watched it. It’s not the contestants fault either (well, bar Iain Sterling who’s really not doing it for me, and his stroppy treatment of others during group tasks annoys a lot) but the quality of the tasks has been all over the place, with too many physical ones that haven’t given Lou, Paul and co the chance to do anything that creative, with the ones where they had to herd some ping pong balls and find pink ladies easily being the worst. While watching these I’ve often found myself wishing they’d reuse some of the tasks from earlier seasons, especially the ones where they make a short film or art work, and there’s no real reason why they couldn’t. At least this latest episode was a massive improvement, and quite possibly the best of the series 8 with a really strong prize task (though why Joe got four points is beyond me) and though the portraits in sand task was dull to watch the end results were superb, with Joe’s Predator-esque take on Jessica Knappet making me laugh the hardest. The catching balls task was the weakest of the episode but still contained a good few funny moments as they rushed around looking panicked, and it was made worthwhile by Sian’s disgraceful cheating. The pushing the ball using only water one was a rare example of a physical task being enormous fun, with Joe’s appalling attempts being hilarious stuff, as was Paul’s method of moving the finish line only to still struggle, and even the final task was great, if only due to Lou Sanders not taking it seriously in the slightest. So yeah, this was a great one, I just wish I could be confident that next week’s episode would be as good, but right now it’s impossible to guess.
Year Of The Rabbit Series 1 Episode 2
This has divided critics a great deal, and the people I know as it happens, with some loving it and some thinking it just doesn’t quite work, that it looks great but the script fails to illicit much laughter, I had mixed feelings about the first episode and the same still applies with the second. It looks great, the acting’s top notch (though Matt Berry’s accent is still a bit all over the place) and the plotting is pretty decent, with the coppers on the search for a supposedly mythical Brick Man figure, but the jokes often disappoint. All too often they think a bit of non-inventive swearing will be enough but it’s not, and it feels lazy. Sometimes the dialogue shines – with Paul Kaye getting some great lines, but it’s rarely that funny and sometimes it almost feels like as much as a drama as a comedy which I don’t think is the intention, and that’s a pretty huge problem for the show.
Santa Versus Dracula
There are a lot of gimmicky comics out there where the writer comes up with a title which sounds fun but then fails to deliver when it comes to the content, but this is a rather charming graphic novel where Dracula decides he wants to become Santa Claus so he can freely enter the houses of every living soul, dooming the human race. He’s bought a whole load of friends along for the ride too including Frankenstein’s monster, Mr Hyde, the Invisible Man, and a couple of werewolves, but luckily for Santa he’s got his own motley crew of helpers with the likes of not only elves but Jack Frost, a sentient snowman called Wintry, an angel called Gloria and Santa’s second wife Katherine on hand to save the day. Santa’s portrayed as a warm, gentle but very savvy individual, Dracula’s theatrically over the top and camply amusing, and the whole thing is a lot smarter and funnier than I thought it’d initially be, and this would be a great Christmas present for the comics fan in your life. Which is why I’m recommending it in July, because who doesn’t like to start preparing early for such an event, bar 95% of the population?
Poultrygeist – Night of the Chicken Dead
Gah, this is bloody frustrating as in places it’s a fairly funny gory musical comedy, but the first half is filled with some really crude material, including deeply unpleasant racist, sexist and homophobic jokes. It’s a shame as there’s a couple of good songs in it, and an hour in the gore starts to deliver and then some, along with an unhappy ending which made me laugh a great deal. You could probably cut about half an hour and make something decent out of it, but because some of the humour left such an unpleasant taste in my mouth it’s impossible to recommend even to fans of this kind of nonsense.
Video Of The Week
I don’t normally mock things which aren’t supposed to be funny on this site, just in my personal life, but this trailer for a new film starring Milo Ventimiglia is so absurdly awful that I can’t help but link to it. I mean not only is it an obviously sappy romantic comedy but it comes complete with a dog voiced by Kevin Costner who’s an expert in racing cars. Just like all dogs, naturally. The dialogue is so on the nose almost every line the dog says made me laugh, and it’s one of those times you can’t believe such a movie was ever greenlit, but I’m so glad it was.
Link Of The Week
I’ve rambled on about how amazing Joseph Morpurgo is a good few times on this site as he’s my favourite comedian around right now, so the news that he’s recording his latest show, Hammerhead, for the stand up streaming service NextUp has filled me with joy. Details are in the link below, but trust me, this show alone will make it worth joining the site, and then there’s about fifty other great ones that make it worth staying with. https://www.chortle.co.uk/other-news/2019/06/25/43399/adam_hess_and_joseph_morpurgo_to_record_specials
Previous Comedy Snippets:
23/06/2019 – The Unathorised Bash Brothers Experience, Trigger Warning With Killer Mike, Taskmaster Sweden, City Lights
16/06/2019 – Rick and Morty Issue 50, Spiderman / Deadpool Issue 50, Lobo Goes To Hollywood, Superhero Movie
08/06/2019 – 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