Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
Perfect Harmony Season 1 Episode 1
Bradley Whitford is a much loved actor whose been the high point of many a tv series, but in his new series he’s one of the weaker elements. It’s not because of his acting either which is as impressive as ever, it’s just that his character is fairly irritating. In the show he plays Arthur, a suicidal widower who’s just about to take an overdose when he hears a terrible church choir singing so he drunkenly shouts abuse at them (describing one as being like a “Porno Mr Rogers” while the other he dismisses with “Whitney Houston we have a problem”, so yes, it’s not exactly hilarious stuff) before passing out. The next morning they beg him to help them out as while unconscious they looked through his things and discovered he was formerly the chair of Princeton’s music department, though he resigned because of “delicate snowflakes” which instantly tells you that this man is a twat and is going to be hard to like. Within seconds he’s got them singing beautifully but before he has the chance to leave his car is towed away and so rather than getting a taxi he sticks around for some unknown reason, and after a rather contrived meeting with the owner of the church who refused to bury his dead wife he promises to help the choir out of spite. Arthur’s the kind of man who can instantly tell what people are like but his insights are often cruel, and along with the insults he spits out at them he’s pretty unlikeable. I don’t have a problem with such characters normally either, but Arthur is such a bland and predictable creation that it’s hard to find him funny. It’s a shame in a way as the cast is a decent one with True Blood’s Anna Camp and The Magicians’ Rizwan Manji shining (as they did in their respective series) and they’re responsible for most of the few funny moments in the episode, but unless they change Arthur’s character (which seems unlikely given the concept is “Arsehole hangs out with religious types” I’d be surprised if it ever becomes anything that interesting.
Family Guy Season 18 Episode 1
When I reviewed Family Guy last season I vowed to quit, it was so awful that I couldn’t cope with the idea of ever watching it again. But one evening recently I drank too much, one thing led to another and I found myself watching the first episode of this most recent season. And yes, I have never felt dirtier in my entire life. It’s not that it was offensive (for once) as Peter and co went on a Yacht Rock themed cruise, just painfully lazy. So there were poor jokes about Hall and Oates, a dire running gag about Bob Welch dying, and just when it looks like they’re going to do something fun with Meg, who falls in love with a guy who works on the ship, a tidal wave strikes the boat and kills him. The following is Family Guy’s take on The Poseidon Adventure because the show is nothing but relevant and with the times, and there’s plenty of drawn out gags which go on for way too long (bits with Chris trying to give Meg the head of her dead boyfriend and Cleveland talking about apples being especially awful), and it has the kind of ending where they just can’t be fucked to resolve anything, which is something The Simpsons tried and failed to make funny about fifteen years ago and is even duller here. This time I’m honestly quitting, and shall never drink alcohol again to make sure this horrible incident never reoccurs.
A 2013 film from Jill Soloway of Transparent fame, I’m very fond of that show and had previously been a big fan of her other work like The United States of Tara and Six Feet Under, but this is a tiresome piece which doesn’t really go anywhere. Or anywhere interesting, at least, as it follows bored housewife Rachel (Kathryn Hahn, great as always) who seems to be trudging through every day life without taking much pleasure in it until she meets a stripper with a heart of gold (or so it seems at first) and invites her in to her home. After discovering that said stripper is also a sex worker she becomes more obsessed with her, until, inevitably, events take a darker turn. The first half hour of the movie is fairly amusing and well written, albeit with thinly sketched characters that it’s hard to care about but after that the film is painfully self-indulgent, predictable, and transforms in to a tedious mumblecore flick where we’re supposed to care for the main two leads despite them having no depth at all. An incredibly over long and agonisingly dull party scene seems to go on forever and from that point on everything is hit home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, until the film eventually ends and you’ll wonder why it couldn’t all have been summed up within 45 minutes. Centering around the idea that “You don’t appreciate what you’ve got until you’ve lost it”, it could have been watchable if it wasn’t for the badly drawn characters and frustratingly predictable plot developments that ultimately lead to an ending you’ll have seen coming a mile off. It’s a real shame as the first thirty minutes showed promise, but it truly fails to deliver on it.
The Death Of Dick Long
A dark comedy drama from Daniel Scheinert, one of the directors of Swiss Army Man (a film I really love), three friends are in a band together and like getting drunk and fucked up, but the next thing we see is two of them dragging their friend Dick to the ER, and dumping him outside it. He dies, they have to try and find a way to not be blamed for it, which isn’t helped by them not being the brightest. The first half of the movie is pretty intriguing, the performances are strong and I was mostly liking it, with it having a Fargo but in the deep South feel to it, but then we find out how Dick died and I don’t know, the rest of the film disappointed, and by the end I found myself wondering what the point of it all was.
Video Of The Week
Comedy Roasts are often tedious things these days with those involved either going for cheap shots or making comments that are bland as fuck, but back in the seventies there was a great one which roasted Frank Sinatra, the best part of which saw Peter Falk in character as Lieutenant Columbo, rambling away, telling anecdots and being a huge amount of fun in general.
Link Of The Week
Jim and Pam’s wedding was one of the last great episodes of The Office, with it going downhill rather fast soon after, but the episode could have been quite different and involved Dwight killing a horse if showrunner Greg Daniels had his way. For more on the story, and a full oral history of the episode, go here: https://ew.com/tv/2019/10/08/the-office-oral-history-jim-pam-wedding/
Previous Comedy Snippets:
06/10/2019 – Bless The Harts, South Park, Stath Lets Flats, She’s Out Of My League
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