Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
Bridget and Eamon
Back in 2004 I was at a taping for a comedy show called The World Stands Up which featured Bernard O’Shea doing some pretty damn superb stand up, and I predicted big things for him. And then I didn’t hear about him for ages despite keeping an eye out for him, but it turned out he was still working a lot, but in Ireland and so far away from my comedy radar. Which was a shame as I’d love to have seen more of him, but thankfully in 2016 I was finally able to do so as this sitcom began (with the characters having originated in the Republic of Telly sketch show) which he co-wrote with co-star Jennifer Maguire and the director, Jason Butler. It’s run for four series so far and is set in the eighties in Ireland as the titular couple who don’t seem to like each other argue a lot and get in to various scrapes. It’s daft, idiotic and occasionally twisted stuff, and very smart comedy too, and though these characters are not always that likeable they’re so funny that it’s not an issue. Unfortunately the show hasn’t been broadcast in England but if you visit dodgy torrent sites you’ll be able to track it down, and I really recommend that you do. Update: I’ve just found out you can watch it on Amazon Prime in the UK, US and Canada, so would recommend doing so right now. Well, after you finish reading this page, anyhow.
Action Team Series 1 Episode 1
This expensive looking spy spoof aired on ITV2 back in March 2018 and I’m only getting around to watching it now such is my comedy tv backlog, at least when it comes to non-essential viewing anyway. I had high hopes for it given the cast (Tom Davis, Derek Ridell, Vicky McClure and Jim Howick being the main leads, while Rob Delaney’s due to turn up at some point) but it felt a little flat, a little over produced, and though there were a couple of good jokes, and the work experience kid being taken along for the ride was a cute gag, there were long periods without any attempt at humour, and some of the ones which were present were a little cringeworthy. It’s a shame as clearly a lot of effort went in to it, Tom Davis is a very likeable comedian who’s produced strong work elsewhere, and everyone seems to be doing their best to make it watchable, but the script could have benefited from at least a couple more drafts and some of the more childish bits removed as they felt particularly unoriginal.
When this was released on Netflix it was described as “the new Freaks and Geeks” by the people who made it, though it’s not quite the same due to it revolving around a bunch of young teenagers and doesn’t feature the slightly older ones that much, and the adults take on a much larger role than they did in Freaks and Geeks. But the comparison does stand in that it feels largely real and believable, and it’s an extremely likeable series, with the relationships between the various characters being engaging and emotive stuff. If there’s a downside it’s that it was a predictable beast, and it’s main strengths weren’t in it’s plotting, but the script and acting are really impressive in places, and the actress who played Kate really should have picked up a few awards. Sadly it was cancelled and no other network showed any interest in it, but even despite that it’s definitely worth seeking out as the ten episodes that we did get are all rather charming.
This got a fair amount of press upon it’s release due to the fact that it starred two of the best comedians the US has to offer, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. In it they play two siblings, one uptight and the other all a bit chaotic, who despite everything love each other, but who are aghast when their parents decide to sell their childhood home and so hold one last party with school friends they haven’t seen in decades. Unfortunately for Fey and Poehler the critical reaction was rather negative but I didn’t think it was too bad, with a few great jokes and funny scenes, and I can’t help but feel that it was probably poorly received as expectations were so high. It’s definitely over long at 1h 57minutes, and the predictable dramatic bit, whilst brief, could have been easily cut, and I’m sure Fey and Poehler are capable of something much funnier than this, but it’s much better than you might have been led to believe.
Video(s) Of The Week
Professor Stanley Unwin was the master of Unwinese, a form of nonsense talk that was gloriously offbeat but strangely understandable too. In this somewhat crazy video he interviews the creator and voice of the kids tv series Bill and Ben The Flower Pot men, in what’s an absolute joyous piece of madness that I’m amazed was broadcast on the BBC in the early sixties https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bfe4RwkNB5I – And if you want to learn more about Unwin, check out this video which contains his final televised interview. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7GBh5zqEwg
Link Of The Week
And relating to the above, here’s a link to a great site all about Stanley, which has a huge amount of info about his life, his career, along with a superb selection of audio clips which should be obtained asap if you’re a fan of the man, or even if you’re not. http://www.stanleyunwin.com/home2.htm
Previous Comedy Snippets:
30/06/2019 – Taskmaster, Year Of The Rabbit, Santa Versus Dracula, Poultrygeist – Night of the Chicken Dead
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