Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
Bless The Harts Season 1 Episode 1
This is the latest addition to Fox’s Animation Domination Sunday night line up, joining Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons and Family Guy. It’s not as good as Bob’s just yet but it’s definitely better than The Simpsons is most of the time these days, and far better than Family Guy has been in years and years. The show revolves around a family of poor Southerners struggling with daily life and money, but it never punches down and seems to respect it’s characters rather than mocking them, which is something far too many US shows do when it comes to folk from the South. The plotline is a fairly normal one in that Jenny (Kristen Wiig) is struggling for money but when she discovers that her mother Betty (Maya Rudolph) has a whole host of Furby-esque toys hidden away she thinks her problems are over, while her boyfriend Wayne (Ike Barinholtz) worries that Jenny’s daughter Violet (Gillian Bell) doesn’t like him after seeing some comics she draws of him, but the directions it takes are strong and often very funny. There is also one slightly quirky aspect to it, in vaguely the same way that Family Guy has a talking dog and American Dad a talking fish, the show has a talking Jesus, voiced by Kumail Nanjiani, but it oddly doesn’t feel that unnatural, with Jenny just hanging out with Jesus and asking for favours that he refuses to do. All in all it’s a quite sweet and funny show, it’s nothing that amazing just yet but for a pilot episode it appealed and shows an awful lot of promise.
South Park Season 23 Episode 1
At one point in this opening episode of the 23rd season Randy Marsh utters the words “Fuck South Park” and I can’t help but feel that’s how Trey Parker feels about the show now, the last season was all over the place and he seems far more interested in the ongoing adventures of Randy than the kids. Cartman and co are still a big part of it of course but now the show’s partially been relocated to Randy’s “Tegridy Farm”, where he grows cannabis in what might have been an amusing enough one off episode but given that the storyline’s been going on for an age now it’s becomes painfully tedious. Stoner humour might have been funny back in the sixties and a decent comic might be able to get laughs from the subject to this day, but most of the time it’s lazy and predictable and that applies with most of the plotline that sees Randy jealous of people growing cannabis at home and so he blows them up, I wish there was more to it than that, but there’s really not. As for the kids, well that was a slightly better storyline where after Cartman discovers the existence of Immigration agents who detain anyone suspected of being an immigrant he claims that’s what Kyle’s family are, and so they’re hauled off. Cartman being a massive cunt is just boring these days and they don’t do anything funny with that aspect of it, but at least a few real laughs come from Kyle trying to explain how the US government are essentially creating terrorism by having detention centres by using a metaphor involving “Mexican Joker”, and the immigration agents panic and think it’s a real thing. Otherwise it was mostly annoying though, and it’s got to the point where unless it improves soon I doubt I’ll stick with it, which is disappointing as it used to be a show I adored.
Stath Lets Flats Series 1 Episode 1
This Channel 4 comedy has become a quiet hit over the past year or so, somehow I’d never seen it until this week but after tracking down the first episode I can see why as the central character Stath (Jamie Demetriou) is a very likeable one, even if he can be a bit of a twat sometimes. A lot of the humour comes from him being a daft, slightly camp man who’s almost relentlessly perky and seemingly without a sense of embarrassment, who is desperate to sell / rent flats even when it’s clear his clients are sick to death of him. His Dad’s the owner of the business he works for and who wants to retire, with Stath wanting to replace him, but the only problem is that almost everyone else employed at the estate agents is much much better than he is, Katy Wix’s Carol especially. As well as Stath’s embarrassing attempts to rent a flat in the first episode (with my favourite line of his being “Interesting thing about this particular property, it was actually built around a time from in history”), we get to see his sister Sophie (Natasia Demetriou) flirt with Stath’s colleague Al (Al Roberts) who needs to go to A&E after Stath accidentally hurts him only to be led around the town not getting any help, it’s not quite as funny as Stath’s antics but it’s still amusing stuff. The ending is a bit of slapstick involving Stath’s attempts to get a pigeon out of a house which sees some really great physical comedy from Demetriou, and though it’s not exactly cutting edge comedy it is a show which starts very strongly and I’m intrigued as to where it’s going to go next.
She’s Out Of My League
A good friend of mine recommended this to me claiming it was a much better mainstream US comedy than you might think, but said friend is now officially dead to me. Or in a coma at the very least. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the film, and it’s occasionally sweet for this kind of thing I suppose, but it’s one of the most predictable and generic films I’ve ever seen, and just not that funny at all. The dialogue’s bland, and the funniest set piece (one man shaving another man’s balls) will only make you gently smile and nothing more, so if someone recommends this to you walk away, and plausibly never speak to them again.
Video Of The Week
As regular readers will know I love Joseph Morpurgo to the extent that not only has he taking out a restraining order but he’s hired a hitman to kill me, but that’s not going to stop me raving about his work. Alas the only full length show of his that’s available to watch is Hammerhead, but he has put a few short films online, some of which we’ve linked to before. One we haven’t is “Top 10 Lost Eastenders Episodes” where Morpurgo’s script editor discusses episodes which were written but never made, which includes a 5,000 minute live episode, Dot’s dream where she’s reborn in to a flesh version of The Vic, and Ian Beale’s Bonkers Bar Mitzvah, as with everything Morpurgo does it’s fantastically funny, and is packed with laugh out loud moments throughout. https://vimeo.com/174004375
Link Of The Week
And also on the Joseph Morpurgo front, here’s a link to a podcast he, Rachel Parris, Marcus Brigstocke and Charlotte Gittins.all guested on last year, which sees the group investigate a mysterious murder and try and find out who the guilty party is, which with a cast like this is unsurprisingly downright hilarious. https://player.fm/series/criminal-casebook-a-false-crime-podcast/ep-6-joseph-morpurgo-rachel-parris-marcus-brigstocke-charlotte-gittins
Previous Comedy Snippets:
29/09/2019 – Danny’s House, Hot Date, Idiotsitter, Crimewave
22/09/2019 – Alternatino with Arturo Castro, The Good Place The Selection, American Dad, American Reunion
15/09/2019 – Off The Air, Taskmaster, Elvira Mistress Of The Dark Issues 1 – 3, Smiley Face
08/09/2019 – Amusical, The Mind Of Herbert Clunkerdunk, Fleabag, Digby The Biggest Dog In The World
01/09/2019 – Final Space. On Becoming A God In Central Florida, In Fabric, Archie’s Final Project
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