Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
A Black Lady Sketch Show Season 1 Episode 1
HBO is airing a lot of great comedy right now in the form of Succession and The Righteous Gemstones but this is my favourite of all three. Admittedly I’ve only seen the first episode so far so I don’t know how often they use the same characters but even if they do have the same ones each week I don’t think it’d be a problem as they’re of the kind who have a lot of depth and could run and run. In this opening episode my favourites were four 1950’s style singers who start with a seemingly innocent song called “Holding Hands In The Ice Cream Shop” but which one of them soon starts making shockingly rude much to the horror of the others, not only is the acting superb but the lyrics are impressively funny too and it has the best final line as well, one which I’d almost guarantee will make you laugh out loud. Almost as good however is the sketch over the credits featuring puppet versions of the women, and an ongoing bit where the women are discussing their lives “After The Event” that contains the lines “He had a Flintstone dick” which apparently means “You have to use your feet to make it work”, and if you don’t find that funny there’s something deeply wrong with you. I could carry on listing all of the bits which made me laugh but that might spoil the episode for you, and the main thing is that there’s not a bad sketch in the entire episode, which is a rare event in this kind of show indeed, and the variety of ideas and styles on display is deeply impressive.
Bajillion Dollar Properties Season 4 Episode 1
This was originally made for the failed streaming service SeeSo but after it closed down it looked like it might never make it to our screens until the US tv channel Pluto picked it up. I’m so glad they did too as it was easily the best thing SeeSo made, with Paul F. Tompkins’ Dean Rosedragon the best kind of bizarre boss. At the start of season 4 he’s missing though, with his son DJ now running the business and though he’s crazy he’s still doing vaguely okay, even if he is turning the hallways in to sandy beaches. Meanwhile the others are attempting to sell houses in their usual eccentric manner including one to a former child star who’s finally divorced his mother but clearly has no idea how to live on his own (the moment he describes a fridge as “This is where the cold food sleeps” being one of my favourite parts of the episode) and Amir and Victoria have to cope with a potential buyer who loves touching them all the time, something Victoria takes to with alarming ease in the best part of the episode. There’s also some glimpses of their lives outside of work, the funniest seeing Greg seeking dating advice from two women, one of whom describes herself as “I’m a Michelle Pfeiffer on the outside and Mike Tyson on the inside, I’ll bite your balls right off”, and because this show does melodrama so well right at the end Dean reveals that he’s been undercover in the company the whole time, and now plans to win the company back. Even if it is his all along. As you’ll hopefully be able to tell from the above it’s a gorgeously funny show, and if you’re based in the US I’d recommend watching it all on Pluto as soon as you can. And if you’re anywhere else in the world, I’d recommend becoming a criminal, hijacking a plane, flying it to the US, and then taking a family hostage for a couple of weeks so you can see the whole series.
The Righteous Gemstones Season 1 Episode 1
This is the latest show from Danny McBride, the writer and star of Eastbound and Down (which I liked) and Vice Principals (which I didn’t, though I only ever saw the first episode). The Righteous Gemstones is my favourite work of his yet, quite possibly because while still playing someone who’s a bit of a twat his latest character is more likeable than the other two, plus John Goodman’s all kinds of majestic in it as McBride’s father Eli Gemstone, while the storyline appeals too. Though a lot of the comedy revolves around McBride’s Jesse and his brother Kelvin (Adam DeVine) arguing it does have the odd big set piece too like the superb opening sequence where the family are 17 hours in to a 24 hour marathon baptism session in a swimming pool in Japan, which is going well until someone accidentally turns on the wave machine and chaos ensues. It’s the funniest part of the episode but most of the rest of it is pretty superb too, with Jesse’s sister Judy (Edi Patterson) and her desperation to be taken seriously by the rest of the family being consistently funny throughout, while the fact that Jesse hangs out with a former satanist called Keith is a lovely part too. It’s relationship with religion is pleasingly cynical throughout, and the ending is a really shocking scene which suggests that from here on in things are going to get crazier and crazier. Apparently the first season is just nine episodes long and I don’t know if it’s one and done or if they plan to do further seasons, but the first episode is good enough to suggest it could run for at least a few more and I hope that it does.
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
Yeah yeah, the title didn’t make me optimistic either, but the casting of Jason Sudekis, Nick Kroll, Leslie Bibb, Martin Short, and Lake Bell suggested it was worth giving a go. And it’s not bad, a perfectly serviceable and throwaway comedy about a group of friends planning one last party at an old Summer home, which they decide should be an orgy. Cue lots of scenes of the girls and guys preparing for said night, a romantic subplot, and a fair sprinkling of decent dialogue and you’ve got yourself an admittedly disposable but likeable film.
Video Of The Week
Jordan Brookes has just won the main Edinburgh Comedy Award which I’m really pleased by as though his latest show isn’t his best work he’s been a comic I’ve been very fond of for a long time now (and two of his shows, Bleed and I’ve Got Nothing, have been reviewed in the past year) and now thanks to NextUp you can watch one of his earlier shows, The Making Of, in full on youtube. I don’t know how long it’ll be up there so I’d advise viewing it now, as it’s an hour of comedy that’s extremely funny. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHDQWW7NTAc&t=2062s
Link Of The Week
The British Comedy Guide is a site I visit almost daily, not only does it have a great selection of news pieces but it’s also packed with interviews and articles about all of the best comedy the UK has produced, and it’s not just about modern comedy either as it’s archive includes shows from the nineteen fifties onwards, so if you have even the slightest interest in anything funny then it’s a site you can delve in to for hours. https://www.comedy.co.uk/
Previous Comedy Snippets:
18/08/2019 – Sherman’s Showcase, Succession, Hesher, God Bless America
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