Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
Sherman’s Showcase Season 1 Episode 1
IFC have produced a lot of great comedy over the last few years including Comedy Bang! Bang!, Portlandia and Documentary Now!, and they’ve got another success on their hands with Sherman’s Showcase. A mockumentary covering the forty years that the variety show “Sherman’s Showcase” has supposedly been delighting audiences across the world, it was apparently responsible for breaking acts like Marvin Gaye and Mary J Blige if you believe the introduction to the show, as well as a lot of other far less successful individuals. It’s a great concept as it allows the series to joke about an enormous variety of subjects, from fake adverts to some of the dodgier music of the time, with the James Brown-esque number That Ain’t Right by Jackie Redmond containing lyrics about about stealing lunch which you thought was trash being particularly superb, especially when it makes a second appearance years later, to interviews with famous figures like Alex Haley who they claim followed up Roots with a book and film called “Plane Clowin'” because he didn’t make much money out of his classic novel and so came up with a mixture of the most popular film and book of 1986, Top Fun and It. The mockumentary element also gives the show a chance to tell the full story of Sherman’s life, including that of his father’s too, and drily comment on how things have changed over time, and the combination works perfectly, it’s a hilarious, absurd and a beautifully unusual slice of comedy that I’m rather enamoured with.
Succession Season 2 Episode 1
When Jesse Armstrong first started writing for tv I’m pretty sure you could never have predicted how his career would go, what with many of his first scripts being for kid’s tv shows like My Parents Are Aliens, The Queen’s Nose and The Story Of Tracy Beaker. He’d dabbled in more adult comedy like Smack The Pony and 2DTV, but none of that suggested he’d go on to create some of the best British comedy of the past twenty years what with his co-creating Peep Show, writing 15 episodes of The The Thick Of It and co-writing In The Loop, Four Lions and The Day Shall Come. Okay, there’s been the odd misstep along the way but now with Succession he’s produced what’s quite possibly his best work yet as he takes on a Murdoch-esque media family (though Armstrong denies it’s based on any one media tycoon, which is fair enough) and satirises the absolute bastardry that goes on behind the scenes with a family all desperate to stab each other in the back the very first chance they can get. It’s a vicious, dark comedy where they’re ferociously brutal to each other in extremely funny ways, and the portrayal of how the disgustingly rich live is filled with hilariously bleak observations. The cast are all superb too with Brian Cox just frankly beautifully twisted as the head of the family, but there isn’t a weak link in the fairly large cast and all deserve to win many an award for their performances. So if you’ve not seen this yet I’d recommend obtaining season one as soon as you can, and then you’ll find yourself desperately awaiting a new episode every week.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Hesher, a long haired rebel without a cause who walks off the street and in to the life of 12 year old TJ, a poor, bullied kid who’s recently lost his mother. Hesher’s a borderline psychotic who blows up the school bullies car, breaks in to random houses and does a fairly impressive Mark Hamill impression all within a day or so of meeting TJ. Initially it looks like proceedings are going to take a dark turn, but instead it becomes a surprisingly touching yet often very funny film about coping with loss. The kid (Devin Brochu) is astonishing considering he was just 12 at the time of filming, Rainn Wilson is on top form as the all but comatose father, whilst Gordon-Levitt is suitably restrained (at least at times) and also producing some of his best work. It’s not a classic, but it’s certainly a very interesting film, and one packed with great performances.
God Bless America
Bobcat Goldwaithe’s fourth film is his best yet, and I’ve loved his other work. The trailer to this made it out to be a mixture of Natural Born Killers and Kick Ass (well a bit when it comes to the latter) and that it would be a crazily fast paced blood bath. But instead it’s actually a very funny but oddly sweet film about a man who just can’t take it no more, and the delinquent teenager who accompanies him. It’s fiercely intelligent, beautifully shot, and also very very funny – I could name so many scenes I loved, but the part where they massacre The Westboro Baptist Church (in all but name) warmed my heart the most. And hey, that’s Bill Murray’s brother in the lead role, proving himself to be Bill’s equal and then some.
Video Of The Week
Stuart Laws is the host of this great little chat show about twitter entitled Under The Tweets, where he interviews comedians including Annie McGrath, Jordan Brookes, Josh Widdicombe and Sunil Patel about their relationship with Twitter, and the times they’ve posted something that’s gone viral. Henry Widdicombe and the mysterious Doc Viral are on hand to tell us information about the guests twitter profile, though Doc Viral doesn’t seem to be impressed with twitter which makes it all the funnier. So far only six episodes have been made, but I hope more will be in the future. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yE7Bb0_VIqw
Link Of The Week
Good One is a great podcast where they interview various comedians and writers, and this week they’ve an interview with Russian Doll co-creator Leslye Headland where she goes through each and every death in the show and explains how they made such a dark subject matter funny – if you loved that show as much as I did then it’s a must listen. https://open.spotify.com/show/070MmBvMBnTatKj5deEb59?si=egmstK8lRjaCrlFh57ZbnQ
Previous Comedy Snippets:
11/08/2019 – The Day Shall Come, Preacher, Archie Vs Predator II, Juan Of The Dead
04/08/2019 – Mike Tyson Mysteries, The Boys, Los Espookys, Hamlet 2
28/07/2019 – Lodge 49, Fortysomething, Mutafukaz, Brazil
21/07/2019 – Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, Neighbors From Hell, Live At The BBC – Desiree Burch, Robot and Frank
14/07/2019 – Another Period, Suzi Ruffell – Dance Like Everyone’s Watching, The Mark Thomas Comedy Product, Observe And Report
07/07/2019 – Bridget and Eamon, Action Team, Everything Sucks, Sisters.
30/06/2019 – Taskmaster, Year Of The Rabbit, Santa Versus Dracula, Poultrygeist – Night of the Chicken Dead
23/06/2019 – The Unauthorised 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