Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
Kate & Koji Series 1 Episode 1
Written by Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin of Outnumbered and Drop The Dead Donkey fame, this is notably the first ITV1 comedy to be shown on the main channel in years, and it’s been a ratings hit so far though that could be due the to current situation with everyone stuck inside and slowly going mad. Starring Brenda Blethyn as Kate, she’s a cafe owner who only seems to have two or three customers at any one point as she can’t cope with change, and the town’s other cafe has amazingly new and exciting things such as “Wi-Fi” and “A Non-annoying central character”, but her world is changed forever more when Jimmy Akingbola’s Koji takes up residence as he likes how quiet it is. He’s a likeable if snarky and sarcastic former Doctor, an asylum seeker who’s a little frustrated by the fact that he can’t work and who Kate initially thinks is unemployed and “You self identify as a lazy person”. And of course at first they continue to clash because as Kate admits “There’s four things in life I hate, scroungers, foreigners, doctors and posh people and he’s all four”, but when her long term nemesis Councillor Bone (Barbara Flynn) turns out to dislike asylum seekers Kate starts to bond with Koji, and that only increases as his off the books medical advice brings in a sod load of customers. It also stars The Inbetweeners star Blake Harrison as Kate’s nephew “Medium Dan” (the explanation for his nickname not being funny in the slightest), in the role of the voice of reason, he’s a surprisingly smart bloke who gets most of the funny lines, yes, all three of them. Fine, fine, that’s a little unfair to be honest, Akingbola’s Koji is amusing from time to time, but it’s an odd show in that it can be funny, and which makes some good points about the horrific way asylum seekers are treated by both the Government and normal people, but it’s also often quite bland and dull and Blethyn’s lead and her cliched out of touch views are annoying, even if she’s clearly going to come good by the end of the series.
The Unicorn Season 1 Episode 18
Despite giving the first episode of this series a positive review and being fond of the cast I ended skipping the rest until the season finale aired, mainly due to the amount of great tv that’s on at the moment, plus I occasionally enjoying doing other things that don’t involve viewing comedy, as crazy as that might sound. And despite it clearly being a pretty decent network sitcom I don’t feel like I’ve missed out on much, which is a little confusing as the cast are all really superb, with Walton Goggins and Rob Corddry being the stand out’s, and there’s not a weak link in the considerably large selection of characters. The script is sharp too as in this finale the multiple plot lines saw the characters tackle the concept of ageing in a number of different ways, with Wade (Goggins) dealing with his eldest daughter going to the prom for the first time, while Forrest struggles with a job interview where he’s the eldest by about fifteen years, and Ben (Omar Benson Miller) and Michelle (Maya Lynne Robinson) get all emotional as their kids are clearly growing up, and there’s many a smart line or bit of physical comedy which made me smile. But ultimately despite it’s strengths it only made me smile, it’s extremely likeable and then some but it didn’t make me laugh that often, and that’s a pretty big issue. If there were less good tv on right now I might have given it another chance, and perhaps if the Coronavirus goes on for a ridiculous amount of time as some have predicted I may give it another shot, but in normal circumstances I can’t imagine ever doing so.
Miracle Workers: Dark Ages Season 2
Not many people seem to be watching Geraldine Viswanathan and Daniel Radcliffe’s all rather lovely Miracle Workers, which frustrates as it’s been an extremely warmhearted and funny series. Perhaps it’s due to the first series turning out to be a little flawed, I was a fan as we witnessed a couple of angels in Heaven tried to stop Steve Buscemi’s selfish and stupid God from destroying the Earth, but it wasn’t quite as funny or as inventive as it could or should have been. Fortunately this second season is so much better though, it’s been a charming, smart and deliciously funny delight and perhaps benefits from the lack of a central arc this time around, with it mostly centring around the theme of self-improvement in non-patronising and very, very funny ways. Most of the biggest laughs have come from watching Viswanathan cope with the astonishing stupidity surrounding her (with it occasionally being a not particularly subtle attack on the Trump presidency, but that hasn’t stopped it from being hilarious), while the b-plots have seen Daniel Radcliffe trying to find a purpose and connect with his psychopath father in the form of Peter Serafinowicz, who’s as superb as always. Karan Soni is also strong as the long suffering adviser to the throne, and Lolly Adefobe’s nun sees her playing a much funnier role this year too, with the music festival episode allowing her to show off her skill at physical comedy, while Steve Buscemi’s shone in a far more caring role as the father who means oh so well even if he isn’t the most intelligent man ever born. The only downside is that it’s a world I’d love to spend much more time in but as this is an anthology series if it returns next year it’ll be with a completely different set of characters, but hopefully as long as they retain the warmth found within these episodes it’ll still be a must see show.
The Suicide Shop
An animated musical comedy from Patrice Leconte (director of The Hairdresser’s Husband and Monsieur Hire), it’s vaguely like a French Addams Family but where a deranged family run a shop which sells everything you need to help you commit suicide, from poisons to ropes to samurai swords, but then a third, happy, child is born to the couple and their world is thrown in to disarray. It’s got great songs, a dark but also daft sense of humour, and for me is one of those “Where have you been all my life?” kind of films – it even made me think that suicide might not be a good thing, and it’s a rare day where such thoughts feel believable.
Video Of The Week
The Oscars have created some truly appalling tv moments but there has been the odd gem over the years, and this is one of them, where they roped Robin Williams in to sing one of the numbers nominated for that year’s Best Song – and so we get to hear his rendition of Blame Canada from South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, and it’s all kinds of fantastic. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IaXsWQAI2j4&feature=youtu.be
Link Of The Week
Den Of Geek have put together a list of 50 of the best UK comedy series that can currently be streamed, with many of them on free services like All4 and iPlayer, so it’s definitely worth checking out. https://www.denofgeek.com/tv/50-best-uk-comedy-tv-on-netflix-uk-bbc-iplayer-amazon-prime-now-tv-britbox-all4-uktv-play/
Previous Comedy Snippets:
22/03/2020 – Eugenius The Musical, Cake, Modern Family, Avalanche Sharks
15/03/2020 – It’s Personal With Amy Hoggart, Mike Tyson Mysteries, The Simpsons, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists
08/03/2020 – The Windsors, Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet, The Big Sick
01/03/2020 – Everything’s Going To Be Okay, High Fidelity, Duncanville, His Girl Friday
23/02/2020 – Outmatched, The Secret Diaries Of Alan Bennett, Avenue 5, Hot To Trot
16/02/2020 – Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Indebted, Sex Education, Turn Me On, Dammit!
09/02/2020 – Joe Pera Talks With You, Miracle Workers: Dark Ages, Bless The Harts, A Boy And His Dog
02/02/2020 – Sex Education, Avenue 5, Digger, Premature
26/01/2020 – Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Goes Wrong Show, Mum, Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!
19/01/2020 – You’re The Worst, The Skewer, Kongen Befaler, Sisters
12/01/2020 – John Mulaney And The Sack Lunch Bunch, Sex Education, Derry Girls, Frozen II
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