Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
American Dad Season 16 Episode 1
In this first episode of the latest season of Seth MacFarlane’s animated comedy the question is posed “Could it be Klaus’s season?”, and in a bit of meta humour right at the beginning it becomes clear it isn’t, and thank god for that as he’s the show’s worst character, and the fact that they recognise that bodes well. Admittedly a storyline about Steve getting his library card being laminated might not sound much much better but it’s another rug pull and all an excuse to a trip to “Little Columbia” and a flashback to the time Stan was an arrogant, carefree bastard and why that changed. Said story gives them to chance to see Stan as an absolute shit, seeing his colleagues die without caring in the slightest (so maybe not much has changed), and of course Roger turns out to be the drug lord responsible for Stan’s inevitable downfall, but while there’s some okay jokes – with a running gag involving car bombs being pretty decent, and some of the extravagant nineties set action sequences and an extended stand off between Stan and Roger towards the end might make you laugh – as a whole it’s just a bit American Dad by the numbers. It’s not appalling, it’s not offensive (and so not Family Guy, then) but it’s not very funny too, I’ve been on the edge of giving up the show for a while now and even though they’re not suddenly giving Klaus a starring role there’s nothing here which suggests I’d be missing out on much if I did.
Maeve in America, Essays by a Girl from Somewhere Else by Maeve Higgins
Prior to watching Extra Ordinary late last year I didn’t know anything about Maeve Higgins somewhat shockingly, despite her being a highly acclaimed writer and comedian both in her native Ireland and in the US. But I was enamoured by the film and so when I saw her collection of essays in a local charity shop (back when such things still existed) I sought it out immediately, and I’m so glad that I did as it’s an absolute joy. A fantastic mix of stories from her life and articles about her thoughts and feelings concerning (in among various other subjects) a trip to Iraq where she took part in a comedy workshop, the joys of complimenting people, and taking care of dogs, a large theme throughout the work is the nature of identity and how her immigration to the US has effected that, with one revolving around her short lived podcast making for truly fascinating reading, even if it is understandably not as funny as other pieces.There’s the occasional misfire (an early tale about her frustrations at not being able to hire an expensive dress didn’t sit well with me), but most of the time this is a truly fantastic read, Higgins has a real talent for wordplay and is an evocative writer, and I’ve already ordered past collections as I’m so enamoured with the way her mind works.
This ITV mini-series based on the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? cheating scandal where Charles Ingram was found guilty of teaming up with Tecwen Whittock to cheat the show out of a million pounds begins with the sentence “This drama is based on real events”, but the more I watched it the more I realised it’s really a very daft farce. For one thing Michael Sheen’s incredibly broad impersonation of Chris Tarrant is so painfully cheesy and cliched that I couldn’t help but laugh nearly every time he was on the screen, but the court room scenes are often played in a ridiculously melodramatic manner, and it’s hard to take some of the bluster and bickering behind the scenes of the show that seriously either. I mean there was even a bit of fourth wall breaking at the end of the first episode with Macfadyn giving the camera a cheeky smirk, so I find it odd ITV decided to sell it as a drama, there was the odd serious bit in the third episode but bar that it was absurdly silly and all rather pantomime-esque. And as an aside Ingram must be incredibly flattered to be portrayed by Matthew Macfadyn, seemingly just trotting out his nervy Tom from Succession but without the bastard-y bits, anyone who’s seen five minutes of Ingram on tv (like in that episode of Wife Swap for instance – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BURbGRbBLCo) will know that his portrayal was pretty inaccurate / extremely sympathetic.
Following on from watching Amateur a short while back I was really looking forward to this but it didn’t capture my attention in the way I’d hoped. Some of it is still very funny and smart, and it works best when Robert Burke is interacting with his brother William Sage, but the romantic elements left me a little cold at times. There’s still some fantastic bits of dialogue as you’d expect from a Hal Hartley film when he’s at his most playful, and it’s a film I liked, just no longer one I love.
Video Of The Week
Ten minutes of John Mulaney talking about his time on SNL? Why yes, that would be lovely, thank you. And I could go on in much detail, but Mulaney’s always a delight whatever he’s doing, so this is something everyone should enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ap8lmL8ogkI&feature=emb_logo
Link Of The Week
Mike Judge’s Tales From The Tourbus is a fantastic animated comedy documentary, and the second season of it is finally streaming in the UK which has led to The Guardian interviewing Judge about the show and various parts of his show, in what’s a really interesting read. https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2020/apr/15/mike-judge-interview-beavis-butthead-silicon-valley-tales-from-the-tour-bus
Previous Comedy Snippets:
12/04/2020 – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Dave, Broke, Bran Nue Dae
05/04/2020 – Super Buddies, Awkwafina Is Nora From Queens, Future Man, The Magicians
29/03/2020 – Kate & Koji, The Unicorn, Miracle Workers: Dark Ages, The Suicide Shop
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