View Sidebar

Post Tagged with: Comic-Relief

A BritCom blast from the past

A BritCom blast from the past

Back in the 1980s/1990s when I was very very interested in British comedy, I used to collect the odd scrapbook of newspaper/magazine articles of anything related to Blackadder et. al. This was mostly because this was pre-Internet, and I was stuck in mid-Wales and thus very much out of the loop. (Although ironically, I’m now living in West London, working for the BBC and still as out of the loop as ever. Who’s this Miranda woman?)

Fortunately, some kind person has seen fit to share their collection of articles from that time with the world by scanning it all in and posting it to that there Internet. So if you want to revisit articles about comedy gems from Absolutely to Whose Line Is It Anyway (by way of Alan Davies, Ardal O’Hanlon, Ben Elton, Blackadder, Comic Relief, Eddie Izzard, Frank Skinner, French and Saunders, Fry and Laurie, Harry Enfield, Have I Got News For You, Ian Hislop, Jack Dee, Jo Brand, Julian Clary, Monty Python, Paul Merton, Peter Cook, Private Eye, Rab C Nesbitt, Red Dwarf, Reeves and Mortimer, Richard Curtis, Rik Mayall,
Robbie Coltrane, Rory Bremner, Rowan Atkinson, Ruby Wax, Spitting Image, Steve Coogan, The Fast Show, The Mary Whitehouse Experience, The Young Ones / The Comic Strip Presents, Tony Slattery and Victoria Wood), pop along to this list of scans from tourmaline1973.

(Really ought to revive my British Comedy Library site one of these days)

A weekend of comedy

A weekend of comedy

So, as largely predicted, Comic Relief turned out to be more or less a dead duck, comedically speaking.

I still don’t see what’s particularly funny about Little Britain – although it was vaguely amusing when Dennis Waterman sauntered onto the stage – and the much-vaunted Vicar of Dibley LAST-EVER episode was just embarrassing. I must have been having a nightmare when Mitchell & Webb came on as two singing snooker commentators – and I’m still struggling to find the comedy between two comedy characters in a wheelchair singing I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). It was trying so desperately hard to be this year’s Amarillo but it’s not got the novelty factor – or the “dance” which gets funnier with repetition. Plus the song is so over-familiar anyway.

The worst moments were any time Davina McCall was on screen. Alternating between squirmingly-orgasmic thanks to the corporate sponsors (“Let’s hear a huge cheer for Cisco Systems! Yeah!!!!”) and oh-so-sincere think-of-the-children-please-think-of-the-children appeals for more donations, one is reminded why she’s on Celebrity Big Brother and advertising keep-fit videos and not, say, doing a Fearne Cotton and appearing on pretty much anything that has a live broadcast. Hell, in one weekend Fearne did Comic Relief, Eurovision’s Making Your Mind Up and I’m sure I heard her doing the Radio 1 breakfast show this morning.

Still, at least the Catherine Tate sketches weren’t too bad and the Ricky Gervais indulgent skits broke the norm. But they didn’t raise a titter.

Fortunately, Channel 4 rode to the rescue on Sunday with yet another list show – but this time listing the top 100 comedy stand-ups. I’d quibble with quite a few choices:
– Peter Kay above Eddie Izzard ?!
– Harry Hill above Bill Hicks ?!
– Chris Rock above Jerry Seinfeld?
– Billy Connolly as the top stand-up comedian ?!

and it was strange how most of the stand-up comedians I’ve seen on the circuit were languishing in the 20s, while the likes of Peter Kay and Lee Evans – funny, but a little too slick and ungenuine for my liking – were at the very top – but it was a good three hours of entertainment. Now if only more stand-up comedians came to North Wales!

Someone's taken the comedy out of Comic Relief

Someone's taken the comedy out of Comic Relief

I’ve been watching a lot of Comic Relief programming this week. Forgive me if this sounds as if I’m sat on my sofa with a blanket wrapped around my lap smoking a pipe and shaking my cane at the teen tearaways across the road – but it all seems a bit too slick these days. And (whisper) not actually that funny.

When the only comedy moment out of the incredibly unfunny and dull Comic Relief single, Comic Relief does the Apprentice and Comic Relief does Fame Academy is musing on what Tara Palmer-Tomkinson was on when she was sweating profusely, one has to realise someone’s taken the comedy out of Comic Relief. Which rather defeats the “unique” spin on what is essentially a telethon. Shame, really.

Still, I’ll be tuning in tonight, making the odd donation, looking at pictures of a man who painted himself red and buying Shaggy Blog Stories, essentially a book collection of 100 funny stories from around the UK blogosphere with proceeds going to Comic Relief. I really should have offered one of my oh-so-hilarious anecdotes but I’ve only just noticed.

Shame the-powers-that-be behind Comic Relief haven’t tried to capture the UK blogosphere in the same way – there’s not even a banner you can splash on your webpage.

Why do I have a particular interest in this? It was central to one of my favourite nights at work some eight years ago, when I was behind the scenes on the web coverage for Comic Relief:

– “blogging” from behind the scenes via live web updates, in the days when blogging and broadband barely crossed the lips of even a savvy web developer (whither blog this year, web chaps?)
– encoding and uploading Doctor Who videos in full Quicktime quality live as soon as they’d been transmitted
– hanging out in the infamous BBC canteen and marvelling at how big Dawn French actually is (the camera took away pounds with her then!)
– helping out on the Comic Relief webchats
– watching the frantic goings-on behind the scenes, and realising they weren’t that frantic
– marvelling at my boss’s then new-fangled hands-free thing for his mobile phone, thinking what a prat he looked in them, and how they’d never ever catch on
– being so tired and irritated (at what, I have no idea now!) at the end I didn’t go to the wrap-up party. One of those decisions I shall regret forever.

I really wish I’d done some screencaps.

%d bloggers like this: