Comedy Snippets: Die Hart, Middle England +

comedy snippets 09082020Short reviews of comedy old and new, and other bits of info which don’t fit anywhere else on the site, updated weekly.

Die Hart Season 1 Episode 1
Kevin Hart stars as himself in this latest Quibi series which is a sort of spoof of action films, where after a wince inducing appearance on a chat show Hart cracks and says his latest film is garbage, mainly as he’s sick of being the comedy sidekick. Afterwards his agent is understandably pissed and Hart might be in trouble career wise, at least until he meets director Claude Van De Velde (who seems quite Herzog-esque, though has supposedly directed four of the six most successful action movies of all time) who agrees to cast him in his next movie if Hart completes course at an “Action Star School” run by Ron Wilcox (John Travolta). Some rather mild mockery of Hollywood ways follows, which in the light of Quibi’s other recent industry satire, Dummy, seems rather lightweight, though this is more a parody of egotistical actors than those responsible for writing the scripts. Hart’s okay if almost exactly the same as he is in everything he does (explaining why in real life he’s almost always the sidekick rather than the lead) but Travolta plays it rather broad, it’s not quite pantomime-esque but at the same time it’s not a million miles away, and he’s rarely amusing. There’s some fun to be had seeing Hart make a twat of himself and getting smacked in the face with a baseball bat, but though the physical comedy is mostly watchable the dialogue soon becomes tiresome, and a repetitive joke about Matt Damon’s career isn’t funny at the beginning and only becomes less so as it goes on. It’s at least not offensive or actively poor, but after watching two (short) episodes I’m not going to bother with the rest.

Middle England by Jonathan Coe
The third in the series about Benjamin Trotter and his family and friends after The Rotters Club and The Closed Circle, this examines Britain in the run up to and after Brexit. It’s initially fun to catch up with these characters but a lot of it feels really heavy handed (all old people are racist, the young are angry and self-obsessed) and when in one chapter he writes from the teenager’s point of view it feels like, well, not like any teenager I’ve ever met or heard speak, that’s for sure, and is embarrassingly clunky in places. When the novel follows Benjamin and his old school friend Doug about it’s sometimes quietly amusing, but Benjamin’s niece Sophie takes up a lot of the book and her relationship with her boyfriend / husband Ian is frustrating as she’s great but he’s quite the selfish racist idiot. A need to be forgiving is clearly the point Coe is attempting to suggest by the end, at least with the majority of Brexit voters in general, but it’s so patronisingly handled that I’m not convinced by the argument he makes, and even if you do agree some of the writing is so on the nose that it’s hard to enjoy. On the front cover it claims it’s a “Great Comedy” but apart from a few set pieces and the odd line of dialogue it mostly misfires (a sex scene where Ben’s girlfriend mistakes his penis for a candle is especially ludicrous) and it’s all a bit of a shame as normally I like Coe a great deal, but Middle England is such a laboured affair in places, with an ending that I hated in general, that it’ll take some very positive reviews from trusted sources to get me reading anything new that he produces now.

Sleeping With Other People
Back in college Jason Sudeikis fucked Alison Brie but then lost touch with her for twelve years, and now they’ve met up again and become friends who sort of want to fuck each other but then they don’t and they fuck other people instead, before fucking each other again. And yes, I have given away the ending there which would normally make me quite the shit, but in this case you could see how it was going to come to a close after five minutes, and unless you’re a fan of tepid rom-coms there’s not much here to enchant and entice you. Yes, the leads are appealing, and it has the (very) odd funny scene, but at best it’s only okay and ultimately there’s no reason for such a bland movie to exist.

The One and Only (aka Den Eneste Ene)
A Danish romcom where one couple are adopting a kid and another are trying to have one, hijinks ensue, one person ends up dead, and there’s a massively racist portrayal of an Italian fella. Apparently this was a big hit in Denmark and it’s cute in places, and a young Sofie Gråbøl has a decent enough role in it, but it’s all a bit nothing-y by and large and though there are some funny scenes it wasn’t a film that I particularly found to be that enjoyable. Which makes the fact that it was remade in the UK all the odder, though given that it stars both Patsy Kensit and Donna Air it might not come as a huge shock to learn that it is apparently even worse than the original.

Video(s) Of The Week
Alasdair Beckett-King’s been making some superb videos during 2020, including a fantastic David Lynch influenced affair which wonders what a Lynch themed Jack Daniels advert would be like, one where a comedian “destroys a monocle wearer”, while “The Birds Without Birds” is a beautifully constructed slice of surreal odness, and what if Jaws was set in the North of England is hilarious too, so his channel is a definite must watch and then some.

Link Of The Week
Kevin McDonald has a new special out which airs tonight, and in order to promote it he’s taken part in this superb interview where as well as the show he discusses Kids In The Hall, how he got his start in the industy, and his work on other comedy series.

Alex Finch.
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Previous Comedy Snippets:
02/08/2020 – In My Skin, Norsemen, American Ultra, My Neighbors The Yamadas
26/07/2020 – Don’t, Central Park, Giuseppe Makes A Movie, Turbo Kid
19/07/2020 – Man To Man With Dean Learner, James Ross – Leopardoptera, No One Belongs Here More Than You by Miranda July, Laughter In Paradise
12/07/2020 – The Ghost Of Peter Sellers, French Exit by Patrick DeWitt, The Man In The White Suit, Ninotchka
05/07/2020 – The Kominsky Method, Tournament Of Laughs, Elliot Allagash by Simon Rich, The Monster Squad
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
10/01/2019- Best Week Ever With Paul F. Tompkins, Vice, Catastrophe, Angie Tribeca

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