Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
The Toxic Avenger Musical
I’m not a particularly big fan of the movie this musical is based on as Troma films are way too often pretty crude and lazy and occasionally borderline unpleasant in their attempts at humour and that’s definitely the case with The Toxic Avenger. Fortunately this musical is a lot, lot smarter and funnier, it follows the same story (roughly) as the film and there’s still some slightly grim moments like when our sort of hero Melvyn (Ben Irish) rubs his groin in a fair few early scenes to show off how horny he is, but thankfully these weaker parts are relegated to the opening. So after the first twenty five minutes it develops in to a camp delight as our geeky lead gets turned in to a mutated superhero who seduces town librarian Sarah (Emma Salvo, slightly Joan Cusack-esque and extremely funny throughout). While initially the songs are fun like everything else in the show they get better and better as the musical goes on, and particular highlights are Melvyn’s first song as he dismembers the bullies, the romantic “Thank God She’s Blind” has a lot of cute couplets, while “Bitch/Slut/Liar/Whore” is beautifully acerbic and has the funniest lyrics in the whole thing as two characters played by the same actress impressively sing a duet. There’s occasional bits of filler with Sarah’s song about her dream of writing a novel being slightly pointless, but most of the time it’s a really enjoyable and the ending is especially impressive, a big old ball of fun that had me grinning no end. The way they have some of the cast doubling up (and quintupiling up, if not more) is fantastic, as our the two leads, so I definitely recommend this, and if like me you struggle with the beginning, don’t worry, it gets a hell of a lot better very quickly.
Another pro shot musical, this is a filmed version of the West End musical from back when the world still made sense in 2019, and which sees thirty-something Charlie head off to London with his fiance leaving his father and the shoe factory he was expected to run behind. Then his Dad dies and the shoe factory is facing closure, and Charlie doesn’t seem to really care, but after a chance meeting with a drag queen called Lola he has a sudden idea of how to save it. Half an hour in it’s set up the plot and is fairly okay but I was having doubts as to whether it would maintain my attention for the remaining ninety minutes, so what they do is throw in a good old fashioned romantic triangle as shoemaker Lauren starts fancying Charlie, and some shitty behaviour from homophobic factory worker Don who’s against change / drag queens, which lets us find out more about Lola’s difficult past and leads to one of the loveliest songs of the musical in “Not My Father’s Son”. Charlie also briefly becomes a dick when he’s under pressure but thankfully that’s a very minor moment, and he realises what a fool he’s been one of the other best songs in the show, and in general the whole thing’s a delight. The ending (and the play) is all about acceptance of others and it’s beautifully carried out, with the audience understandably on their feet at the end of it and my only regret is that I wasn’t one of them.
The Simpsons Season 31 Episode 20 – Warrin’ Priests Part 2
At the end of the review of the first part of Warrin’ Priests I vowed never to watch the second part of this latest two parter as it had all but been an advert for Christianity, with guest writer Pete Holmes really hammering home just how much he loves the fucking rubbish religion, and I commented the only way I’d find out how it ended was by reading a review of it. But then The AV Club owners being sadly all round shitty types decided there wasn’t an audience for reviews any more (much to the disappointment of the readership, and myself, as I tended to only watch the ones they rated highly) and so once again it turns out I’m a lying shit as I have now seen it. To my surprise it’s not actually that bad either, Holmes still goes on a bit too much about the joys of Christ but as a whole it’s a fair bit subtler, the jokes are funnier, and while I’ve still doubts over whether Lisa of all people would be the one to fall madly in love with the priest at least most of the time it was watchable, which really wasn’t the case with the first part.
Following on from my review of Quentin Dupieux’s Deerskin that was posted earlier this week, here’s an earlier effort from the director who I’m an enormous fan of, and who in my book has yet to make a less than fascinating feature. In some ways it’s the most similar film to Deerskin he’s so far made as it has a fairly conventional plot as it follows a guy called Dolph who’s lost his dog, and the oddly wrong world he lives in, but it’s far sillier than Dupieu’s latest, which is no bad thing as I love it when he mixes it up and creates very unusual fare which he’s certainly done once again here.
Video Of The Week
Kim Noble Must Die is one of the most stunning pieces of comedy / art that I’ve ever seen and it made me an enormous fan of the man the second I saw it, so when he returned to the Soho Theatre with You Are Not Alone in 2015 I bought tickets the moment it was announced, and I’m a notorious tightarse. I never expected it to be released though as it’s a problematic piece – something which Noble is well aware of as he discusses a number of complicated subjects concerning the relationships he has with others – but it’s also bloody funny too, and is now available online. Don’t go in expecting anything near to traditional stand up, and there might be aspects you strongly disagree with, but it’s undoubtedly an amazing hour of comedy. https://vimeo.com/415165345
Link Of The Week
Want to appear in the third Bill and Ted movie? No? Erm, well you should as surely it’d be a huge amount of fun, and will only take a short time too as the filmmakers have set up a website explaining how you can do just that which involves videoing yourself “rocking out” to a short clip of one of Bill and Ted’s songs. For those who are interested, you can check out the official site here: https://partyonwithbillandted.com/
Previous Comedy Snippets:
03/05/2020 – Crank Yankers, Code 404, Upload, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
26/04/2020 – Oh Hello On Broadway, Emily Heller – Ice Thickeners, Sam Morril – I Got This, Were The World Mine
19/04/2020 – American Dad, Maeve In America Essays By A Girl From Somewhere Else by Maeve Higgins, Quiz, Simple Men
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