Posts Tagged ‘ Comedy ’

#faithseeking: rowan williams talks to frank skinner

last week Archbishop Rowan sat down for a chat with the brummie, catholic comic Frank Skinner. as it turned out, there was a large audience there gathered and also a microphone and recording device.

here is the first half – in which Frank asks Rowan why most sermons are so crap, why the atheists seem to be so cool right now and what he is doing about it and the two discuss the role of doubt in faith, whether Jesus and the disciples told blue jokes and the ways forward for the church:

and here, the second half – in which Rowan asks Frank what brought him back to the church in his late 20s after ten years of distancing himself and they discuss the roles of intellect, wisdom, rational assent, embodied ritual and magic:

and here, the q&a session – in which people ask questions, they attempt to answer them and Frank declares that ITV is the agency of the devil (hear hear).

#telosvision: friday night dinner

Friday Night Dinner has put the proverbial cat among the pigeons of my knowing what to think about things.

as the experts – Bill Oddie, Chwis Packham, Leona Lewis, Jonathan Dimbledor etc. – will tell you, unlike their real counterparts, proverbial cats are no match for pigeons, and, soon after being put among them, die from an excess of peck wounds.

the problem is that it is a new Channel 4th sitcom (or ‘sit-down comedy’, for long) written by Robert Popper and starring, among others, Mark Heap and Simon Bird. now, while that might not sound like a problem, but merely a description, it is a problem for reasons that are as follows:

Robert Popper and Mark Heap are in my eyes like some kinds of geniuses.

Popper ran Channel 4’s Comedy Lab, was, along with Peter Serafinowicz, responsible for Look Around You – one of my favourite ever comedy series – and has also produced, edited and written for hilarious things like Peep Show, South Park, The IT Crowd, Spaced and Black Books.

Mark Heap is one of my favourite comedy actors, who brought life to brilliant characters in Spaced, Green Wing, Skins and The Great Outdoors, as well as doing top-notch sketch and bit-part work in (the amazing) Big Train, Look Around You, Brass Eye, Jam and Miranda. weirdly, he was also in Lark Rise To Candleford.

still, though, you might be thinking, there doesn’t yet seem to be any sign of that problem that you clearly mentioned earlier. well, the problem is Simon Bird.

i can’t nobbing stand Simon Bird. i think it’s mainly his stupid, grinning face. but it’s also his ridiculous affected posh-nerd voice and his utterly annoying wanna-be clichéd-geek shtick. he’s really annoyed me in every role i’ve seen him in and also in the several interviews/appearances as himself that i’ve caught. in particular (as i’ve mentioned here before), and (disappointingly) to many people’s apparent surprise/disgust, i HATE The Inbetweeners. i hate it, i hate it. i know most of you disagree, but i think that (despite having some top people involved) it’s really poor.

the uncomplicated conceit of FND involves two twenty-something Jewish sons (straight away it’s a step in the right direction to see Bird’s playing someone who isn’t supposed to be 16) who go back to their parents’ house each Friday for tea. presumably to comic effect. like a Jewish cross between Butterflies and Open All Hours, without the shop or butterflies, and more Friday based.

so, there we go – Friday Night Dinner: will it be brilliant, or will it be too Birdish to bear? well, i’ll be watching with badger-bated breath, expectant, but also plagued by the knowledge that, at any minute, he might make me have a stroke out of annoyance.

> Friday Night Dinner starts Friday 25th Feb at 10pm on Channel 4

#tirednewsflash: headliners

good even-ing

and time for a wintery of the main news in urea:

– world “gone all to bollocks” admits Tutu

– Cowell counters Cage with 4’33” cover

– many students ferrel, claims Oxford MP

– climate change knocked out of top ten worries by impending gravy shortage

– bible “original wikileaks” preach desperate vicars

– It’s A Wonderful Life “too optimistic” for xmas schedule

– royal Charles caught in car with Widdecombe — why?

and finally

#vidiotic: over a barrel-bench

Country Man
with Monty Buggershop-Hooty

#tirednewsflash: headlines

thank you

and now a summary of this morning’s main news headlines at 10s o’clocks:

bong: Cameron denies focus on middle class despite new tax relief in form of book tokens and nectar points.

bong: Robinhood Airport fined over “joke” about ‘rob from rich’ handling policy.

bong: Dick van Dyke ‘saved by porpoises’ after ‘falling asleep’ on ‘surfboard’.

bong: Inventor headlines without prepositions conjunctions, dies.

bong: “The irony is worse than the diabetes” claims Lord Sugar.

bong: “Are Milibands the new Krays?” asks Tory whitepaper. “You decide” it concludes.

bong: Tory-tower riot exposes difficultly of telling students from ‘nots’. ‘Debt hats’ proposed.

bong: U.S. entrepreneur Ira Lend to buy Ireland.

bong: Obituaries “out of step with instant news culture” claims paper introducing ‘predictuaries’.

bong: November sees most recent records since records began.

in weather: Cornwall.

and finally: Sociological study proves children from religious and atheist families actually co-operate better than vice versa.

#blogjammin: rev raises roof

[from Sunday]

given the (entirely appropriate) way that the eucharist always clears out the Sunday morning schedule across the board – and this year’s seemed to be passionately embraced as a return to solid GBness, rizla cannons and all – and the fact that tonight was always entirely bound to be Beverley (K)Night, with the UK soul legend bringing a huge and lingering smile to mainstage’s face, it is perhaps surprising that the day really belonged to comedy.

although when you consider that Milton Jones was both performing to Centaur, and then later being interviewed, and that James Wood, the writer of the BBC’s excellent ecclesiastical comedy Rev, was booked to be conversing about the show, then perhaps it’s not so surprising.

however, as throughout the day excited whispers began to give rise to rumours, anticipation began to seep from all quarters. in the end, of course, the gossip was true, and not only did Rev’s brilliant lead actor (and star of In The Loop and Pirates of the Caribbean among other things) Tom Hollander join Wood for the amazing Big Top Q & A session, but it emerged that the whole Rev team were on site filming some footage which will hopefully (surely?!) appear at some point as part of a second series.

“My brother”, quipped Milton Jones, “is currently recovering from massive head injuries. Well, when you have a massive head, you tend to pick up injuries.” rarely are his jokes longer than that, but then rarely do they not raise at least a chuckle, if not something more energy-sapping. one after another he fires them at the audience, and, like a cluster of obese 18th century giants huddled round the end of a blunderbuss, eventually you will get hurt, bad. it’s a barrage of comedy which never lingers, never waits but just keeps on coming.

“Perhaps, to promote animal rights, horses should throw themselves in front of Suffragettes … I hear one of the Sugababes has quit – diabetes apparently … For a recent birthday my family were so kind, they all clubbed together and got me some expensive vouchers, for a clinic in Switzerland.”

later, in the Big Top, Jones reflected on various aspects of his experiences of working in comedy, his favourite fellow performers and Cheggersgate – as noone called it. the queue was such that if you got in, you were very fortunate and if you didn’t, you’ll no-doubt be keen to read a close account of what was said from bloggers who did.

extracting humour from the everyday struggles of Adam Smallbone, a conscientious inner-city London priest, Rev recently graced the screens of people who had them pointed towards BBC2 on Monday nights at around 10pm. its mix of gentle but heartwarming humour, touching sentiment and a refreshingly honest grounding in accurate research, has endeared itself to many, even causing the Guardian to write nice things about something vaguely religious. certainly it was a big hit in the penthouse and, given the staggering queues outside the Big Top and overwhelmingly appreciative atmosphere evaporating off the crowd of punters within like so much love steam, i’d say we weren’t alone.

following a VT medley of highlights from the show, James and Tom, as i feel i can now address them, strode onto stage to rapturous applause. they graciously answered well chosen questions for around an hour and seemed genuinely touched by the obvious affection in the room for the show, them and the character of Colin as well as intrigued by the antipathy for Darren, the evo-vic who hijacked Adam’s church in episode 2.

“Yes we went there, and I actually really liked it”, was how Wood replied to several of the audience’s suggestion that Darren’s outfit might have been based on a certain wealthy and well attended London evangelical church. “In fact, I felt so good there, I stayed for the next service, I went round again. The attractive women were so friendly.”

answering, with good humour and grace, questions which probed their inspirations, their consultation with real-life priests, the response they’ve received and even how making the series has impacted their spiritual lives (which is about as close to an altar-call as GB could muster or would want), they came across as lovely human beings.

it was a truly classic greenbelt_ moment and i left in a fantastic mood and no doubt that the reason the programme has left such a big impression on the GB faithful is down not just to the way they valued and approached the research that was put in, but because of the reality and honesty of these people’s perspectives on faith in general, and their own religious experiences.

#tirednewsflash: bless me father, for i have sinned

THATCHER, KARADŽIĆ & KYLE FOLLOW BLAIR’S LEAD

far from the obviously-guilt-ridden and hugely insulting gesture that many had predicted it would be widely and immediately interpreted as, it seems Tony Blair’s decision to donate several million of the, no doubt, pounds that will proceed from his forthcoming memoir, Love Love Me Do, to the Royal British Legion, has been largely greeted with puzzled indifference. what is more, as well as having been mentioned in some of the papers, former Blair’s decision has prompted others to do the same.

it has emerged today that fellow members of the St Gabriel Squash Club, Hyde Park Gate, Margaret Thatcher, Radovan Karadžić and Jeremy Kyle have all followed the suit by making similar commitments.

one third, it has been announced, of the profit made by Thatcher’s new range of Iron, Lady! electric irons will be donated to the upkeep of the National Coal Mining Museum for England in Wakefield, the north. And, on a neighbouring note, controversial former Bosnian Serb politician, comedian and escapologist, Radovan Karadžić, has promised that a “sizeable chunk” of the millions he accrued presenting NBC’s The Tonight Show from 1997 to 2004, will go towards the construction of Sarajevo’s planned mega-mosque.

monster, shatshow-host and sometime winner of Crufts, Jeremy Kyle, has likewise committed to redirect an as-yet undisclosed percentage of the money he recently publicly raised to help make obese, pre-teen benefit fraud and sexual infidelity, to a new charitable organisation setup to monitor and, where possible, slow the decline of the humanity of the audience of daytime television. the organisation, a brainchild of William G. Stewart, is known only as May God Have Mercy On Our Souls, or MGHMooS.

in a statement delivered to another news agency that we got half a wind of, Sir David Attenborough may have said “I just hope a measure of good comes of this as some kind of counterweight to all the unbelievable misery and destruction that these four human beings have caused the world.”

we have been asked to mention that Tony Blair is of course available for a whole range of expensive after-dinner speaking engagements including: Cricket Club End of Season Do, (public) School Fête, Blessing of New (Catholic) Church Roof, Dead and Maimed Soldiers’ Support Network Annual Ball, Local Labour Club/Rotary Club/Conservative Club Dinner, and so etc.

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TiredNews™ bringing you the tiredest news around

“we’re tired so you don’t have to be”

#tirednewsflash: wiki-oh-dear

LAZY CUT & PASTE BLUNDER LEAVES INDY BLUSHING

the independent newspaper The Independent has been the source of much snickering over the last few days, after some copy included in Saturday’s edition was rather carelessly lifted from a Wikipedia entry that had been altered for the purposes of comedy.

a feature on The Big Chill festival, which took place over the weekend in Herefordshire, went, it has emergéd, to, it seems, print replete with the fictional fact that “The Big Chill was founded in 1994 as the Wanky Balls festival in north London”. this misleading titbit is, in reality, an inaccuracy – hence the adjective ‘misleading’.

“yeah, that little nugget of history”, lamented junior Indy copy-writer Antonio Danbareass, whilst on her break this morning, “had apparently been added to the Wikipedia entry by some joker who didn’t bother to check the fact.”

“indeed not”, we could only concur.

the Independent join the South African government in an at-least-two strong line of organisations recently left with egg on their faeces by not having bothered to make sure that the relevant people had gotten the memo about not just copying and pasting in stuff from Wikipedia. last month, following the triumph that wasn’t the 2010 World Cup, the South African government honoured FIFA president Sepp Blatter with The Order of The Companions of O.R. Tambo or some such. however, a statement on an official website described the accolade as having been awarded to “Joseph Sepp Bellend Blatter” – a taunt which had been added to his you-know-where profile.

“Although these might look like obvious errors that should have been spotted near-immediately by anyone”, discussed Scottish TV psychologist and presenter of Chart Rundown, Dr Grant Bovine, “in actual fact studies have shown that most people don’t even see the massive gorilla that weaves in and out of the grad students passing the basketball on YouTube. The people responsible for the mistakes were also unfortunate that the element of what we call ‘existential plausibility’ was elevated in both cases. Therefore, we see that in both instants, the erroneous text found its way into official publications due to what is essentially an ironic, by-proxy Freudian slip – they knew the two packets of info were false, but they subconsciously judged them to be truthful.”

in brighter news, the (not my) home counties are suffering the worse incidences of festival related ‘upsidence’ since records began, in 2008. ‘upsidence’ is the opposite of its better known opposite ‘subsidence’, and means the opposite of that. the newly named phenomenon occurs each summer when droves of the areas’ 30-somethings take themselves, their large vehicles and stately pleasure dome-tents around the ‘festival circuit’. the annual exodus causes the counties to experience such a drop in the magnitude of the overall normal reaction between the ground and the things on it, that the ground begins to rise.

this year, so far, the upsidence has, in west Surrey and the southwestmost corner of Berkshire, reached 3cm, which is around about London. for remaining residents (or unfortunate visitors), the raising of the ground will (and-is-already) cause motion sickness, vertigo, haughtiness, a sense of there being cleaner air, a minor improvement in visibility (depending on weather conditions) and severe roads.

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TiredNews™ bringing you the tiredest news around

“we’re tired so you don’t have to be”

#vidiotic: markets of britain

several of you may have already seen this
however, for those who haven’t, here this is:

(just a bit lower)

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you should recognise Robert Popper and The Peter Serafinowicz – whom this short film is from – from the marvellous Look Around You which has just been released on DVD in the US (see hear) & has been out for a while in the UK (smell taste)

even if not, you’ll know-doubt no Robert by virtual of his renowned work on the Peep Shows and The IT Crowds of this world

The Peter will be likely also be familiar to you from his show The Peter Serafinowicz Show which has rendered him widely eponymous and which is also out on DVD now (that’s the show that gave the #gastrognome his last diet plan, remember?)

#vidiotic: eco-friendly soap(box)

i like David Mitchell. i wouldn’t say he’s got range exactly, but i think he does the thing that he does (the awkward, pedantic and unapologetically middle class thing) really well. he also seems like a nice person.

anyway, here’s an episode from his David Mitchell’s Soapbox series in which he shares his (pretty sensible) thoughts on climate change.

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#vidiotic: sans everything

it has come to my attention that there are some people, friends of mine even, who remain unaware of Fist Of Fun featuring the man once voted 41st best stand up ever Stuart Lee and Richard ‘i just want to get back on the telly’ Herring alongside the actor Kevin Eldon, Peter Baynham and several other humans. how? why? or what on earth these ignoramuses did on Thursday nights in the spring of 1995, are all intriguingly beside the point, but their loss is not.

if you like laughter, then you should know about this show – seek what remains of it out. it ran for two serieses, or, for pedants, seri,, and was known at the time for, and is still described in terms of, its lack of preparation and generally poor production quality. although it got several tens of sheds worth of views, this was back in the day when TV had to be seen to be well made as well as popular, and someone decided this wasn’t. now we have Horne and Corden and Hole In The Wall.

here is a clip from the last episode of series 1, featuring the death of my favourite character the real Rod Hull (he is him). watch it closely – there will be a quest.

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#vidiotic: what has science done?

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#telosvision: archer – bond for feminists?

#telosvision: love it or just watch it anyway TV is arguably today’s central cultural medium and marker. in terms of shaping our shared experience and mediating the conscience collective televisual trends tends ends end en n and so on. you might say that charting the emerging geography of the small screen is like looking into a cultural crystal ball – and many experts do. so.

at RQT we’re beginning our critically engaged map of the box in a small corner called Archer. produced for Fox’s FX channel and premiering in january of this year the first season’s ten episodes open to us the hidden doors of ISIS (the International Secret Intelligence Service). located above a mid-town laundromat (“wash’n’fold…technically”) ISIS is a small intelligence agency sporting the most highly trained and most ninjaist operatives who are also a sorry bunch of total douche bags.

Douche-baggery not withstanding the collection of rag-tag incompetents soaks and sexual misfits that make up the ISIS staff are really as endearing a clutch of chumps as you will ever know (and you will know lots of chumps – i can guarantee that).

Code-named ‘Dutchess’, Sterling Malory Archer – son of former field agent and persistent sex-hound ISIS director Malory Archer and the Archer of Archer (the title) – is essentially your classic emotionally stunted gun-toting butler-needing lacrosse-playing rich mummy’s boy field agent. but more annoying than that. be careful though because like all ISIS agents he is highly skilled in Krav Maga – “Karate? Karate is the Dane Cook of martial arts”. his instincts are to be suave and wry but he’s much better at being crass and never being able to come up with witty retorts quickly enough. he’s essentially an obnoxious pig-headed misogynistic…wait i totally had something for this… Lana Kane […douche.] is a fast-talking tactical weapons expert with a short dress and breasts which stick out as much sidewards as they do frontwards. she is Archer’s field partner and never quite totally ex (they are named beneficiary on each other’s life insurance policies). she now goes out with Cyril Figgis from accounts who is a nervous and comparatively well-meaning bespectacled nerd and thus the butt of nearly all of Archer’s jokes. he has an extremely large penis and makes stir-fry for Lana every Friday (Cyril: “Guess what we call it…” Archer: “Stir Friday?” Cyril: “…Wow, that is…actually better”.) the admin side of things is handled by Cheryl/Carol/Cristal/Carina – who changes her name a lot and likes being strangled – and Pam who is fat and grew up on a ‘cheese farm’. Dr. Krieger is in charge of R&D and doesn’t really say much but what he does say is unremittingly dark (Pam: “And that’s the reason I never have sex with co-workers. That … and no one ever lets me.” Krieger: “I’ve had good results with ether”).

add in gay agent (gaygent) Gillette, Scatter-brain-Jane, (infil)trator Krenshaw/Kremensky, Archer’s long-suffering butler Woodhouse, KGB boss (Mallory’s on-off lover and probably Sterling’s father) Nicolai Jackov and Len Trexler the boss of rival agency ODIN (Archer: “Ugh, the Organisation of Douchebags in…wait I had something for this…..Nowheresville”) and another of Mallory’s former conquests, and you just about have the whole cast of characters.

Archer uses heavy doses of irony to transition all the social politics of the old-school spy genre into the world of equal opportunities legislation sexual harassment cases and diversity criteria. every character is almost equally as insecure shallow self-obsessed and sexually tragic as the next and very few social constructs or taboos escape the sharp edge of the writer (Adam Reed)’s pen. just like Reed’s work for Adult Swim – Frisky Dingo and Sealab 2021 – Archer is parodic, sharp and laugh-out-loud-and-then-feel-ashamed funny. given that the first season has already won the plaudits of philosopher and wet-mouthed genius Slavoj Žižek, cultural critic, academic and celebrity hairstylist Cornel West, trance DJ and leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales Archbishop Vincent Nichols, feminist activist Ron Jeremy and not-long-enough-since-dead actor/lobbyist/fascist and bi-sexual icon Charlton Heston, it’s probably no surprised that a second season is currently on the drawing board.

UK viewers can see Archer on thursdays at 10pm on Fiver or thereafter on Demand Five. US viewers should hit up Hulu.

yyyyuuuuuuppp

#gastrognome: butterfield diet

after the excesses of last weekend the #gastrognome has been on a diet this week. after much deliberation he chose the Butterfield Diet plan as devised by businessman health guru, and former-massive fatty Brian Butterfield.

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being saturday today is ‘treat day’
we’ve got an owl crisping in the oven right now.

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