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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