Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
Final Space Season 2 Episode 10
This Adult Swim sci-fi show has become surprisingly dramatic over the past season, with characters almost dying or running off because of their various issues, and though it’s a show I find myself mostly liking I have to confess to rarely laughing and anyone who hadn’t seen it wouldn’t have a clue what’s happening. That’s not a bad thing, I’m fond of shows with a strong narrative arc, but the storyline isn’t the most original of things and most of the laughs come from Conan O’Brien’s weirdo character Clarence marrying a supposedly disgusting looking squid-like creature, and though there’s the odd decent joke way too many feel lazy and predictable. If you’re really in to sci-fi shows and don’t mind that it’s not particularly funny and only the kind of thing which will make you smile then you might like it, but low expectations are almost definitely needed if you’re going to get on with it.
On Becoming A God In Central Florida Season 1 Episode 1
This new Showtime series is a supposedly dark comedy about a married couple, Travis and Crystal, who are involved in a dodgy pyramid scheme which comes complete with tapes telling you how to become rich. Their relationship isn’t going well as they struggle to make money and husband Travis can’t get it up as he’s not sleeping at night, while Crystal works at a water park and tries to hold everything together. Though it was vaguely amusing to hear the nonsense from the tapes telling our leads how to be successful the first half hour is a bit bland and I wasn’t that involved in the storyline, at least until something rather shocking happens with less than fifteen minutes to go. But despite that piquing my interest (and I had considered turning it off just a few minutes before as it was rather uninvolving stuff) after about five minutes it became a little drab again. I’ve heard very positive things about the series so maybe next week’s episode will be better, and it’s slightly Coen Brothers-esque tone, the likeable lead performance from Kirsten Dunst and that attention grabbing title suggests it could turn out to be something fun, but the second instalment really needs to up it’s game and become a lot more intriguing if it’s something which is worth tuning in for on a regular basis.
This latest film by Peter Strickland (of Berberian Sound Studio and The Duke Of Burgundy fame) could easily have been called Death Dress – The Dress That Eats, or The Department Store Of The Damned, as it concerns an unusually pretentious clothing store which sells a dress to a woman that she looks amazing in it but after a while appears to be bringing her bad luck. And yeah, it absolutely is and then some, and after a specific event we switch to it being given to a man to wear on his stag night by his idiotic mates, with his fiancee soon enamoured by it. The film is a weird old thing, a mixture of British realism and seventies experimental video art, quirky as hell and about as arthouse as you can get. Unfortunately it only half works, the first part with Marianne Jean-Baptiste is a largely effective mixture of the creepy and the absurd, with Julian Barrett and Steve Oram turning up as two bank managers in a couple of very funny sequences, while those that run the store are truly strange in a pleasingly unsettling way, but the second half fails to carry on capturing it’s initially unique feel. Despite being well acted the new characters introduced are far less engaging, and once you can guess how everything will end it becomes a little by the numbers, and visually it’s less interesting as well. I’d still cautiously recommend it, but only to fans of Strickland’s work who know to expect oddness in the extreme.
Archie’s Final Project
Also known as My Suicide this is a pretty unusual teen comedy drama, centring around Archie, a teenager filming the days leading up to his suicide. At times it’s meta on a level I didn’t know previously existed, and borderline pretentious at times and mirroring Archie’s obsession with film, the director uses every trick and device you could imagine to tell the story, and cuts almost exhaustingly from one visual style to another. Sometimes it feels a bit too much, but once the film calms down a little it turns out to be an intriguing device used to explore the mind of this fucked up teen, an all too self aware 17 year old who believes he’s got the way of the world worked out and that society’s sole purpose is to either crush or destroy you, and he wants no part of it. It’s certainly self-indulgent at times, and I could easily see why some would hate it, but I really really enjoyed it. as it captures the manic frustrations of being a teenager very effectively, has a smart script, and a vulnerable side which helps you empathise with the lead. The performances are also top notch, especially from Gabriel Sundaya as Archie, Tony Hale pops up for a fun cameo, while Joe Mantegna has his best role in years as an Indian psychiatrist, and despite the subject matter it’s very very funny in places, so despite having a few reservations I definitely do recommend it.
Video Of The Week
The gently spoken American comedian Joe Pera has found success in recent years with the Adult Swim specials Joe Pera Talks You To Sleep and Joe Pera Helps You Find the Perfect Christmas Tree, and then his tv series Joe Pera Talks To You, but before that he made this superb nine episode web series How To Make It In USA where he and his agent (played by Late Night With Seth Meyers writer Conner O’Malley) try to find him work. His agent is, well, a Hollywood agent and so obviously twattish, but the two very different characters work well together and as they’re all but complete opposites the show has plenty of funny moments. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQRAbfnKQkM
Link Of The Week
Fourble is a great site with a fantastic selection of classic radio shows and podcasts, so you can get a wide selection of shows like Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, all of Adam and Joe’s Radio Six shows, On The Hour, Round The Horne and many, many others which should provide you with years of listening pleasure. https://fourble.co.uk/podcasts
Previous Comedy Snippets:
25/08/2019 – A Black Lady Sketch Show, Bajillion Dollar Properties, The Righteous Gemstones, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
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