Three Classic British Sketch Comedy Shows

During the same period they were bringing Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster to the small screen, Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie were sprinkling the British airwaves with their own sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry and Laurie.

photo of Stephan Fry and Hugh Laurie
image credit: BBC

If you ever thought to yourself, as I have, “Is there any such thing as ‘highbrow absurdist humor’?” well, then this show answers that question with a resounding “Well, if you look at it with a slight squint.”

Rife with non-sequiturs and heavy with wordplay, the show satirized British society and politics and often broke the “fourth wall” during a skit. Fans of Jeeves and Wooster will recognize the general shape of the interchanges between a sharp Fry to Laurie’s blithe cluelessness, though in this series Laurie is cast as more of the straight man.

I particularly enjoy the closing bit which always has Laurie seated at a piano and Fry asking “Please, Mister Music, will you play?” as he mixes a cocktail while dancing. (Why, yes, I did learn my dance moves from Stephen Fry, why do you ask?) As I’ve noted before, Hugh Laurie is an accomplished pianist with a bend toward classic American Blues and, as we find out here, can do a really good mouth trumpet. Continue reading “Three Classic British Sketch Comedy Shows”

Leading Ladies of British Comedy

The Vicar of Dibley – Reverend Geraldine Granger is assigned to the small Oxfordshire village of Dibley, its first female vicar following the Church of England’s quite tardy change of heart regarding the ordination of women.

Offering spiritual guidance to the tiny town’s cast of oddballs, the vicar negotiates her way around and through entrenched expectations, power hungry frogs-in-a-small-pond, and just plain cluelessness.

Played by Dawn French, half of the well-known comedy team of French & Saunders, each episode ends with the vicar telling a joke to her not-very-bright assistant Alice, played by Emma Chambers, who in her struggle to get the joke tends to take it literally in ways that are much funnier than the joke itself. Continue reading “Leading Ladies of British Comedy”

One Season Wonders (kind of…)

At Last the 1948 Show (1967)  Prior to 1967 it was a dark time. Comedy hadn’t yet been invented and the population was just starting to accept the world becoming colorized after thousands of years being a nice, calm, black and white.

Enter two scholars from Cambridge, John Cleese and Graham Chapman. Well, them and this other guy they dragged off the street by the name of Marty Feldman. And maybe a couple other people too. I mean, who really remembers 1967? Anyways, after a 19-year delay the long awaited At Last the 1948 Show finally hit the airwaves. People around the world were overjoyed.

Initially there were 13 shows aired in the UK, and technically it was 2 seasons, but much of it was lost (possibly due to an invasion of Norwegian Blue Parrots) and only a few of the missing episodes were able to be pieced together, probably by a mixture of magic and rifling through the cushions of innumerable British couches.

This series is a great look at the development of the folks that went on to become Monty Python and wonderful showcase of the great Marty Feldman’s talent.

And now for something completely different… Continue reading “One Season Wonders (kind of…)”

Flaked Soundtrack Appreciation

Flaked_posterWe don’t have a cable television home, but the boyfriend and I do have Apple TV, so we like to occasionally choose a new show to watch together. He binge watches CSI when I work my late nights and I binge watch Shameless on my days off, but it’s nice to have something to enjoy together and discuss. He recently chose the Netflix series Flaked with Will Arnett. I was peacefully reading my book and got sucked in…especially by the music. The music put us on a mission; we needed these songs stat! We googled, we iTunes, we Spotify, we everything and that got me to thinking…I’m sure there are some wonderful library patrons that would enjoy these tunes as well, so I searched our catalog for what I could find so that you can build your own playlist until the soundtrack is officially released!

Happy listening: Continue reading “Flaked Soundtrack Appreciation”

Top 10 TV Series to Binge Watch While Home With The Flu

~posted by Carrie F.

Being stuck at home with the flu is the best excuse to spend some quality time vegging out.  Here are a few TV series that I’d binge watch right now if I were under the weather:

X-Files movie

X-Files

With all the buzz about the new series, bone up on The Smoking Man and The Lone Gunmen.  For a list of must see episodes that don’t require knowledge of the big story arcs, check out this Vanity Fair article by Kumail Nanjiani. Continue reading “Top 10 TV Series to Binge Watch While Home With The Flu”