Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.
The Kominsky Method Season 1 Episode 1
One plausibly vaguely positive thing about the pandemic is that it’s given me the time to check out sitcoms which passed me by originally, and I’d ignored this previously as I’m an ageist monster who fears death, but after Stewart Lee recommended the second season in his newsletter I thought it surely must be worth checking out. And it is, it’s not the world’s greatest comedy series (at least based on this first episode), but it is a very likeable affair where Sandy Kominsky (Michael Douglas) is an acting coach and like all sitcom acting coaches he’s desperate for work himself, but his agent Norman Newlander (Alan Arkin) struggles to get him anything, in a show that’s a mixture of satire of the acting industry, a rom-com and a slightly grumpy old men-esque affair. That last element is most likely set to be a bigger part of the show than it is here too as Norman’s wife dies at the end, such a thing could have been played out in a sentimental or saccharine manner but thankfully they manage to avoid doing so. It’s not exactly packed with laugh out loud moments or something I’ll be rushing to watch more of, but I’ll definitely catch an episode every week or so, if only because it’s well written and the female characters are strong, Douglas’s romantic interest Lisa (Nancy Travis) especially.
Tournament Of Laughs Season 1 Episode 1
Introduced by the normally reliably great Jason Sudekis this new TBS show sees thirty two comedians face off against each other, and the way they do this is by recording sketches at home and then hoping that a public vote will see them beat their competitor. I don’t know how much preparation the various comedians had, or whether they’re just repurposing older material on some occasions, but wow this is weak stuff indeed. A fake Cookery show from Vladimir Caamano is mirthless and doesn’t contain a single funny moment, and a song from Josh Wolf about kids being arseholes should be something that appeals as I love musical comedy and hate children, but he carries it off in such a dull fashion that it’s almost bizarre as to how unfunny it is. Even worse is Jessica Kirson prank calling her friend by pretending to be a child, Jeff Ross doing yoga poses as he ignores his wife insulting him and pigeons shitting on him, while Michael Rapaport (who I always thought was a quite poor actor rather than a comedian) pretends to be part of a house hunting show and just verbally abuses his assistant in something that left me abjectly confused as to why he thought it’d be funny to witness such a thing. The above were the worst aspects of the show admittedly and there were a couple of just fairly okay but nothing more than that sketches, but the only time it actually made me laugh was a strange sketch featuring Gilbert Gottfried and his children where the latter pretend to be dentists and desperately try to stop him telling a version of The Aristocrats joke, while Judah Friedlander presented a book that he wrote when he was seven, and Moshe Kasher had a vaguely amusing skit about a massage gun which he gets his wife Natasha Leggero to masturbate with. The rest of it was so awful that I won’t be watching a single second more of it, not even if all the other comedy on tv was postponed due to the pandemic.
Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich
Following on from the Simon Rich themed special from last week, due to loving his work so much I was inspired to check out Rich’s first novel which is a fun school set romp where the rich, bored and all but certainly sociopathic pupil Elliot Allagash decides to play with the life of one of the one of the most disliked students, Seymour, and over time turns him in to the most popular kid in the school. All of which involves some quite frankly impressively devious schemes as Allagash screws with the lives of everyone he meets while his bemused father watches on, some very funny tales from said father about life as an insanely rich man, while Rich’s observations about high school life are sharp and often laugh out loud funny. On the downside it’s a slightly flimsy and lacking in substance affair, far too predictable, and it’s a short book as well, I’m by no means the world’s fastest reader but it only took a few hours to get through. All of which is a bit of a shame as I was enjoying it a great deal and with a bit more depth it could have been rather special, instead of something I’m fond of but not in love with.
The Monster Squad
This is a weird little thing where a bunch of kids take on a bunch of much loved classic movie monsters including Dracula, The Wolf Man and Leonardo Cimino as “Scary German Guy”. At times it’s quite oddly disturbing (scenes featuring a reluctant werewolf and a strangely heated argument between the main character’s parents especially) but the dialogue captures the way kids really talk to each other effectively, and it contains a lot of great jokes and funny sequences with a montage in the middle of the movie beautifully inventive and unusual. My only real complaint is that it takes a bit too long to get going, but other than that it’s a really great comedy horror.
Video Of The Week
Rob Newman may be responsible for some of the smartest comedy around but he started out as an impersonator, and this early appearance on (of all places) the long forgotten “Cannon and Ball’s Casino” series is a right old curio, it’s not that funny as he trots out his versions of Ronnie Corbett, Jonathan Ross, a really bad version of Sean Connery and Jack Nicholson, but it’s certainly worth watching for nostalgic reasons. https://youtu.be/m8V0a66ebW4?t=1337
Link Of The Week
This “Oral history of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World” is a really fun read, as the film’s director Edgar Wright and stars Michael Cera and Mary Elizabeth Winstead among others discuss the making of the film in depth. https://ew.com/movies/scott-pilgrim-vs-the-world-oral-history/
Previous Comedy Snippets:
28/06/2020 – Man Seeking Woman, Spoiled Brats, The World Of Simon Rich, Inside Out
21/06/2020 – A Young Doctor’s Notebook, Crossing Swords, The Insecurities Of Dill, Manborg
14/06/2020 – Upstart Crow, La Princesca de la Woking, Solar Opposites, The Muppet Movie
07/06/2020 – Jeeves And Wooster, JJ Villard’s Fairy Tales, She Loves Me, Where’s Marlowe?
31/05/2020 – It Started As A Joke, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop, Best Worst Movie, The Aristocrats
24/05/2020 – Solar Opposites, Daniel Kitson – The Interminable Suicide Of Gregory Church, Jimmy O. Yang – Good Deal, How To Marry A Millionaire
17/05/2020 – What We Do In The Shadows, JJ Villard’s Fairy Tales, Down The Line, Bolt
10/05/2020 – The Toxic Avenger The Musical, Kinky Boots, The Simpsons, Wrong
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