Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
John Mulaney And The Sack Lunch Bunch
John Mulaney might just be my favourite male American stand up (Maria Bamford’s the best out of both sexes, for the record) and this latest special of his is a really unique piece, being a selection of sketches, songs and skits which nearly all feature a large group of children. Now like most sane people you may despise young kids but here they manage to avoid being precocious and just come out with some very funny material, some scripted and some not as they either host segments, appear in sketches or answer questions from John, most of which revolve around their worst nightmares and their greatest fears. The songs are nearly all stunning examples of musical comedy at it’s best, with one at the beginning supposedly sung by a young version of Mulaney and all about his Grandma’s new boyfriend Paul ending in a beautifully bleak way, while the “Crying White Woman” number deserves to be released as a single as its so catchy. The special also has a number of guest stars with David Byrne and Richard Kind providing the best value for money (though any and all fans could have probably guessed that from the latter), and it’s an hour and ten minutes of comedy that constantly subverts your expectations, but never stops being charming and enchanting and gloriously funny all at the same time.
Sex Education Season 1 Episode 1
The second season of this Netflix show debuts on Friday and so I thought it really was time I checked it out to see if it lived up to the hype, of which there’s been a fair amount. Centring around a bunch of eternally horny college students, the lead character is Otis (Asa Butterfield), whose mother Jean (Gillian Anderson) is a sex therapist. Otis has his own sexual hang ups but because of everything he’s learnt from his mum he’s able to help school bully Adam resolve his issues with having a massive cock and not being able to ejaculate, Adam’s a pretty detestable character most of the time but the writing is so strong that it makes you at least partially sympathise with him. Then at the end of the first episode fellow student / obvious potential romantic interest Maeve (Emma Mackey) decides they should monetise Otis’s knowledge and help the other students at the same time, which I presume is the direction the rest of the season takes. It’s got quite a smart, knowing script with a lot of very funny lines, and the nudity doesn’t seem exploitative, especially as we get to see a penis for once, and not just naked women. Anderson’s sex positive lead is extremely likeable, as is Butterfield’s Otis, and the acting from all involved is great, and considering that advance words suggests the second season is even better than the first if you’ve not yet checked it out I’d definitely recommend doing so.
Derry Girls Series 1 Episode 2
I watched the first episode of this much loved and highly acclaimed Irish sitcom when it went out, thought it was okay, then ignored it completely despite a whole bunch of positive reviews and the fact that most people I know love it. Yet after watching the second episode I imagine the same thing will happen again, perhaps I’ll come back to it one day but I only find it vaguely amiable, something that passes the time but little more than that. Perhaps it’s a show which just isn’t aimed at me, it probably won’t come as a shock that a sitcom about a group of young Irish teenage girls isn’t of interest to a man in his mid-forties, but then plenty of other shows that feature characters very dissimilar to myself do still make me laugh – I’m a huge fan of Mom, for instance, despite not being an American female alcoholic, and Pen15 was one of the best shows of last year and in some ways is very similar to Derry Girls as it covers the trials and tribulations of a bunch of teenagers. It’s not that the jokes don’t always work either, dull Uncle Callum annoying everyone with his drawn out tales made me smile, while the gag about how they’d been cleaning the chip shop with mayonaisse rather than windowlene elicited a chuckle, and it’s definitely well written and acted, but it just doesn’t make me laugh that often, so I guess it’s an example of a show that I should file under “Not for me but I can understand why others like it”.
I’ve got to confess to not being the world’s biggest fan of the first film, I’m normally fond of Disney movies (with Tangled containing the best ever comedy horse), but Frozen was just mildly fun and somewhat criminally forgot it was a musical in the final third. And unfortunately I liked the sequel even less, as Anna and Elsa head off to an enchanted forest with a bunch of side kicks and get trapped there, the plot was bland and by the numbers and seemed to go from one average set piece to the next with little of interest taking place. The songs were okay (though there’s nothing close to the insane catchiness of Let It Go here) and some of the jokes land, but I really struggled with Olaf (aka that snow cunt) to the extent that I cheered when he was viciously murdered. And then cried when he was brought back to life, the dirty fuckers, and really wish his presence had been far more minor. Plus they didn’t make Elsa gay, it didn’t need to be explicit in any way (Disney will never risk upsetting the Chinese market after all) but a throwaway comment or bit of minor flirting with a female character would have made me admire the movie even if I didn’t find it that amusing.
Video Of The Week
A dvd extra from Wonder Showzen season 2, this sees the show’s infamous episode Horse Apples being shown to a test audience, if you’ve ever seen it you can guess the reaction, but that doesn’t stop it from being very funny indeed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRGBiKlNi9s&feature=share
Link Of The Week
Like most sane people I’m a huge fan of the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced, and The Guardian has gathered together the main cast along with director Edgar Wright to reminisce about the show, in what’s a pretty fantastic article. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/jan/11/the-stars-of-spaced-reunited-21st-anniversary-simon-pegg-jessica-hynes-edgar-wright-nick-frost?fbclid=IwAR1JrciHp8oZPuTSVHqXDiLIAlTU2UC06ewdVwUOEjShPFnfarjcyfNIzn8
Previous Comedy Snippets:
05/01/2020 – Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes, How To Produce Comedy Bronze by Jon Plowman, The Rocky Horror Picture Show Comic, The Rutles – All You Need Is Cash
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