I wrote this a month ago and it has languished in my bag for so long (for the length to do Mac to PC conversion). Already Little Britain, a BBC3 exclusive, has transfered to pretty much prime comedy time BBC2….
Two hours of Special BBC Comedy. Special because this is the stuff we pay for with our licence fee, but do not get to see. For a few months at least. Comedy on the NEW six channels, which are new in as much as YOU HAVEN’T GOT THEM YET – apologies to people who have and know what they are worth.
1) Little Britain. Loosely linked character based sketches of the absurd to grotesque style. Strange to say but work like this lives and dies on how funny it is. There is, aftr all, nothing new in the concept of a charatcer based sketch show. And is quite funny. Matt Lucas and David Walliams rein in some of the excesses they show elsewhere, but have built a remarkably taut set of rather funny characters who, on occasion, do funny things. Nowhere near as innovative as it might be,its now the third comedy show using the idea of Tom Baker as a lynch pin. Nevertheless, as Time Out might say, chucklesome.
2) Monkey Dust. Cartoons. Funny? Not is you saw Bob and Margaret. A slightly different idea of doing the not laugh a minute animated comedy. To be fair we are not a million miles away from Little Britain. Except darker. Darker usually means ‘less funny’ here it means bitter sweet jokes about closeted homosexuals being beaten up and comic police beatings. It knows who its best character is, and flogs said characters variable catch phrase to death. “I never did it,I just said I did it to stop them feeding my scrotum to the rats”. Funny? Well nearly anything is funny in a high pitched Geordie accent.
3) Over to BBC4 now, for more grown up humour. Apparently. Rich Hall’s Fishing Show, a show where Rich Hall (American comedian) and Mike Wilmott (American comedian) go fishing and bitch about Britain. Rich Hall is a funny man, a great low-burn scabrous comedian. Fishing is not his element. The gag, apparently, is they go fishing but never catch anything and just talk. Except they do rather lousy character cut-aways, slip poor sketches into the mix and Hall actually catches something. At this point BBC Four = Comedy Poor.
4) Curb Your Enthusiasm. BBC Four being its natural home because, like Seinfeld but with its foot off the gas, the Beeb realised this would not get an audience on a channel that could get an audience. The long unravelling of two parallel farcical plots, peppered with celebrity guests and copious swearing, I really liked it. But I did not laugh for about ten minutes. Then I was laughing quite often (for people who follow this kind of thing, its the one with the stolen shrimp and the saying of cunt).
Conclusion. Three out of four ain’t bad. But you will get to see Monkey Dust and Little Britain on BBC2 before long I warrant.