Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes
The film version of this novel was a short, sharp satire where Hitler returned and gained notoriety by appearing on a comedy show on which everyone thought he was sending himself up, though it was all part of a plan by Adolf to gain popularity and then take over Germany once again. At just under two hours it’s one of the darkest, funniest and most pointed comedies of the past ten years, but the book stretches the joke too thinly, all too often the gag is that Hitler misunderstands how the modern day world works, or compares it to the past and some military conflict or other, it’s funny the first few times but about two hundred pages in I started thinking about stopping reading it as it was so repetitive. But then there’d be a plot development or moment which got me gripped again, and once I’m half way through a book I’m loathe to quit it, so I stuck with it, even though I often found myself reluctantly picking it up only so I could finish it and move on to another book. It’s a shame as it clearly has a lot to say about the modern world and some of it’s observations are really effective, but as a whole it just goes on for way too long, and the ending then feels far too rushed.
How To Produce Comedy Bronze by Jon Plowman
Jon Plowman’s got one of the most impressive cv’s in the tv industry, being the producer of French and Saunders, Absolutely Fabulous, Little Britain, The Office, 15 Storey’s High, The League Of Gentlemen and The Thick Of It, and his autobiography is a fun affair where he tells anecdotes from his long career. It does tend to spend a lot of time telling tales of his antics with French and Saunders, and certain shows that he produced are sadly only mentioned in passing or not at all (with This Morning With Richard Not Judy and Armando Iannucci’s Time Trumpet being completely ignored, for instance) with Plowman preferring to stick with the shows people will know well most of the time, and it’s lacking when it comes to scandalous gossip as it’s an upbeat affair in 99% of situations, but some of the stories are very funny and it is in general a fascinating insight in to the career of a man who has brought us some of the best British comedy ever produced.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show – The Comic Issues 1 – 3
There are a lot of reasons as to why book or comic adaptations of films exist, as they often expand upon the original movie and give characters much more depth, they might not always be that good but you can understand why they might exist. That does not apply to this. Presumably a shameless cash grab this mini-series published in 1991 is just such a bizarre oddity as the original film script is used and just reduced a bit, and though the art is sometimes great, sometimes the characters look a bit odd or strange, like in one panel where Susan Sarandon looks as she does now, instead of how she was back in 1975, and rather unfortunately in some of the portrayals of Tim Curry it looks like he had a stroke back then rather than in 2012. The sex scenes are all but PG rated, and the parts where the songs are reproduced just feel odd and anyone somehow unaware of the musical would be completely confused, and I can only imagine the only people who’d be interested in something like this are Rocky Horror completists who buy everything and anything related to the musical, but even they would presumably struggle to understand why this exists.
The Rutles – All You Need Is Cash
Neil Innes sadly died over the festive period and so I thought I’d revisit his and Eric Idle’s spoof of The Beatles. Musically it’s pretty stunning, not all of the parodies are that funny but they certainly sound perfect, and a good few of them made me laugh hard, the movie’s take on The Yellow Submarine especially. But script wise it’s a little patchy, an example of Eric Idle showing why he’s one of the lesser Pythons, some gags are laugh out loud funny but some made me sigh and felt all rather obvious. Still, as an example of how great a musician Neil Innes was it’s essential viewing, and it’s certainly impossible to dislike.
Video Of The Week
Andy Daly is one of the funniest men in the world, and the fact that every network hasn’t hired him to produce a tv show every day of the year is one of the worst crimes humanity has ever committed. Fortunately every so often videos of his work turn up on youtube though, and that’s the case with this great clip of his stand up from 2011, where he performs as the shockingly funny character Jerry O’Hearn in what’s a sublime bit of live comedy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiajbgY6ofU&feature=youtu.be
Link Of The Week
Maria Bamford is CTW’s favourite stand up, which is why it’s incredibly frustrating that we can’t view her brand new show on Topic “What’s Your Ailment?!” as we’re in the UK and not US. At least she’s promoting the show a fair bit so we get to read interviews with her though, including this great one with the New York Times. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/01/06/maria-bamford-melds-speed-dating-and-standup-comedy?fbclid=IwAR3XBqiVWc1_cH9syGkxvD6IPXKQR3g2tqJ-NSwrerp4oPlwoWqPVee6gZA
Previous Comedy Snippets:
29/12/2019 – Mrs Fletcher, Harley Quinn, What A Fucking Year On Tv With Mel B and Mel B, Cafe Society
22/12/2019 – Content, Ladhood, Silicon Valley Ten Years Later The Extended Documentary, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
15/12/2019 – Astronomy Club The Sketch Show, South Park, Joe Pera Talks With You, Lavalantula
08/12/2019 – Mom, Mock The Week, Sunnyside, The Ten
01/12/2019 – Vic and Bob’s Big Night Out, Kongen Befaler (aka Taskmaster Norway), Harry Hill’s Clubnite, Scout’s Guide To The Apocalypse
24/11/2019 – Wellington Paranormal, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Tourist Trap, The Adventures Of Rocky and Bullwinkle
17/11/2019 – 2100: A Space Novelty, Silicon Valley, Zomboat, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
10/11/2019 – Do You Want To See A Dead Body?, Taskmaster, The Good Place, A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
03/11/2019 – Bojack Horseman, Comedians Giving Lectures, Living With Yourself, A Town Called Panic
27/10/2019 – Joe Pera Talks With You, Would I Lie To You?, The Band Wagon, Tucker and Dale Vs Evil
20/10/2019 – Star Trek Discovery Short Treks, Zomboat, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, High Society
13/10/2019 – Perfect Harmony, Family Guy, Afternoon Delight, The Death Of Dick Long
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