My last two posts have rudely looked at the comedians DVD’s on sale over Christmas, and then judged them solely on the artwork of the cover. Now let’s see which is the worst.

Remember! You are judging the artwork alone. Not the content. Let us all just judge the comedians by their covers.

You can see all the covers in my two previous posts.

Hey, let’s have two polls! One for the worst, one for the best. Worst first.

And the best cover.

The Comedians part 2

December 19, 2010

Yesterday I put up a post where I took a look at the Christmas comedy DVD’s andpassed a few ill-judged thoughts on their covers. Everyone should have a comedy DVD for Christmas, but how to choose? Is it fair to choose purely on the basis of the artwork? No, not really.

But who cares? It seems few comedians care about their artwork. Or perhaps it’s just me who thinks the covers are all bizarre pieces of shit showing the comedian facing away from his audience and trying to do something ‘funny’ with his/her (though his) microphone.

Here’s some more.

Remember… I have not seen these.

Remember… I am not judging the act here. Maybe.

Ok, I suppose I am. Yes. Yes, I am, once again, judging a comedian by their cover.

Someone said never judge a book by its cover. But why not? The author must have approved the cover. They must be happy to have their art sold in such a way. If they were overpowered or overruled by marketing folk, then… well, they should have stood up for themselves.

It’s your work, your cover, take responsibility.

I deny any responsibility for the following opinions. I am sick. I am on antibiotics. I am not myself.

Here goes.

Eddie Izzard

Wow! Believe! What? Believe what? I don’t have to believe, I know Eddie exists. What am I supposed to be believing in? Or is it his belief?

He’s lit by a lone light. Or is it a star? He has a quote from the L.A. Times, so we know this comedian is a big fish, successful across the pond*.

The artwork is classy. I think someone may have been hoping for us to go… “Ooh! look! Eddie is a little like Dustin Hoffman!”

Or perhaps they want us to think he is a little like Jim Cavaziel.

I just don’t know. You decide.

* The pond is an informal term for the Atlantic Ocean. I believe.

Simon Amstell

This cover has some lovely shades of blue. A darker blue “cog crab” looms over the comedian. On closer inspection this “crab” has cats for hands. Then there’s the scary badge and the gold leaf hand holding a feather. This is not a DVD cover that has been hastily thrown together.

It is called Do Nothing Live. And that is a funny title. It makes me laugh. This comedian is excellent. He is called Simon and he looks like Harpo Marx. You decide.

Ricky Gervais

This cover makes me feel ill. I don’t like the colours and I don’t like the woman on the front.

I’m not even letting you decide on this one. It’s just too- I can’t write anymore.

You decide.

Dylan Moran

This comedian has a quote from The Telegraph, but this time online, making him more up-to-the-minute and with-it than Michael McIntyre (see yesterday’s post). Unlike McIntyre though, this one looks a little distressed. He seems anguished and he’s holding the microphone as if he can’t think of anything funny to do with it. There’s no photographer telling him to stick it in his ear (see yesterday again) and there’s no holding it out to us, the DVD cover viewer, as he grins to show us he is funny, his back turned on his paying audience. Indeed, there is no audience in sight! And the DVD is called “Aim Low”! Everything about this says avoid. But I’m going to recommend it to you. You decide though.

Trev and Simon

This is just awful. They can’t decide whether to smile or grimace and instead settle for some kind of sub-Next catalogue action pose. There’s no quotes and no mention of laughter. We are told it is stupid, but what kind of a recommendation is that? To make matters worse it’s a video and not a DVD. A redundant format for a product no longer available.

The backdrop is some kind of foul Mondrian mess-up, even worse than that awful shampoo ad from years back. Ok, it highlights some of the “characters” that we must assume are featured on the video you can no longer get, but even then the so-called characters just look like the same two blokes in funny costumes and wigs.

You can’t get hold of this one anyway so don’t even bother deciding.

You decide.

The Comedians

December 18, 2010

All the comedians have got their DVD’s out for Christmas. Loads of ‘em. Comedians and DVD’s. How do you choose? It’s tricky isn’t it. Everyone likes a laugh at Christmas, but what if you buy the wrong one? What if you buy a DVD by one of the unfunny comedians? Or a rude comedian? Or an offensive one?

Of course, there are some simple rules that are always worth following. One is never buy a DVD by a comedian who has a supposedly comical and  endearing middle nickname.

Then, well, that’s it. There’s only one rule really. Oh yes! Rule two; be wary of yokels.

That’s it. Beyond that you’re on your own out there, scooting down the aisle only to find yourself faced with a fake top fifty supermarket countdown of smiling faces and stickers.

I’ll try to help. I’m going to review a handful of DVD’s available and it might, just might, help you reach that difficult decision of which to buy.

I should point out that I have seen none of these DVD’s, and, in many cases, seen little or none of the comedians work (Oh! With the exception of one). In some instances I may have even gone out of my way to avoid their work. (Oops, it’s just occurred to me that this idea is a little like The No Show- a great site where shows are reviewed without ever being seen. I don’t mean it to be, and if this post causes offence please let me know and I will destroy it!)

Oh, and I will base my review on one thing alone. The artwork on the cover of the DVD. That’s all. How it looks. I will judge a comedian by his cover.

Here we go.

Remember, I don’t necessarily know what I’m on about here.

I’m just going off the pictures, ok?

Right, first up:

Michael McIntyre

It’s Michael McIntyre. A complicated one. Is he live and we’re laughing? Or is it just him doing both? He seems to be laughing; possibly in rather a cruel way having turned his back on the paying punters seen in the background. Shouldn’t he be facing them? Just what’s going on, Mr. Pink shirt?

There’s an ambiguous quote from The Daily Telegraph (a paper I know little of, though I have been assured they are good for sports… at least that’s the excuse of most right-wing fanatics). They say “If there’s a funnier, slicker, warmer hour of comedy, I haven’t encountered it”.

But how much do The Daily Telegraph get out these days? And considering this DVD is 84 minutes long, what did they think of the remaining 24 minutes?

It’s a tricky one to start with. You decide.

Lee Mack

He’s live too. There’s no audience being neglected here. Instead, he’s walking straight at you. And he’s not laughing. Or smiling. It’s almost like he knows that sometimes not smiling is funnier than smiling. There’s a quote that makes Lee sound funny, but potentially painfully so. And it’s a quote from a man rather than a paper. Optional swearing (swearing is, generally, funny), a funny walk, a too-tight suit, an almost serious expression; I’d say this one is a winner with guaranteed laughs. It’s also a nice shade of green.

Jason Manford

This is very odd. Is he trying to speak through his ear? Is he mistaking the microphone for a Q-Tip? Did the photographer just say “Hey, Jase, stick it in your ear! Ha ha ha!” and he just did, just for the hell of it?

He is “a true master of observational comedy…” the BBC said. But then, at the time of printing, they were most likely his employers. And what follows the little dots? What if the next word was “sometimes”? Or “only on Tuesdays?” An enigma at the least. You decide.

Kevin Bridges

He’s “the master of stand-up at just 22″ The Daily Mirror tells us. And the use of a Mirror quote suggests he’s one of us, an ok bloke who may possibly be just mildly left wing. And he’s humble too. Look! A smile that says  “that’s me that! That’s my name up there! In Lights! Little old me, photographed from above to make me look little.” But look in the background; his audience, yet again ignored. You decide.

Frankie Boyle

No newspaper quotes for this comedian. He’s not smiling, but we can assume he is live as we are told it is a new stand-up show for 2010. He tells us that if he could he would reach out through the TV and strangle you. Well, TV is developing all the time. 3D. HD. What next? Just remember, if he could, he would. Well, one day soon he may well be able. It’s a risk. It’s up to you. You decide.

Stewart Lee

He’s put his face on a cup. If that doesn’t make you laugh you most likely wouldn’t laugh at Steve Martin’s Pizza in a Cup in The Jerk.

Look! Stewart Lee’s face on a cup! And he is almost smiling. None of the other comedians have put their face on a cup.

So this is the ideal Christmas comedy DVD.

Buy this one. You decide.

Snow pics

December 4, 2010

Who you gonna call?

December 2, 2010

If you’ve got a problem with a ghost (and I hope you haven’t, unless it’s a Casper and he’s friendly… but then he won’t be a problem, will he?) then you know what to do. You know who to call. Ghostbusters. The one and only. Ring them, they come, they sort you out. There may be other ghost-busting agencies available, but not to my knowledge. It’s all so easy. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters. Sorted.

Now let’s say you’ve got a problem with the weather. A bit of snow. And let’s say the trains are not up to the job. Who you gonna call?

Tricky, isn’t it.

A few years back you’d have called the train equivalent of Ghostbusters; a little-remembered institution called British Rail. They were responsible for all train things. Snow? Want to know what to do? How to get somewhere? What’s running? What’s not? Who you gonna call? British Rail.

But they had to go. I’m not sure why. I guess they just weren’t making enough money for the men in suits.

So, everything got split up and now who are you gonna call? Network Rail. They own and operate Britain’s rail infrastructure. If you have a problem with infrastructure, call them.

The trains I tend to use are operated by Southeastern. They provide services for South london. Should I call them?

Yers, the snow’s bad. I’m sure it affects trains and infrastructure in ways I can’t begin to understand. It seems to affect information display boards too. And staff.

The information boards freeze up and just tell us there is disruption. The staff freeze up and lock themselves away.

It’s not the staff’s fault. And I don’t balme them for locking themselves away. It seems they are as much in the dark as me.

Two days ago, at Hither Green Station, I waited for a train. It wasn’t snowing, but it had been. A bit. Trains were delayed. I looked at the info things just wanting to know which platform I should wait on. They weren’t working. I went to he counter. All three ticket booths had the ‘closed’ blinds pulled down. The door on the platform which is always open so you can speak to someone… closed. In time I tracked down a member of staff. I was nice. He was nice. They are all  nice at Hither Green. He was apologetic. After a bit of polite banter I asked him why no info was displayed. It was because they had none… that’s ok, Im thinking, but why don’t they put up info that says they have no info. Something along these lines:

Now what is the message there? The message is that there are no “knowns.” There are thing we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. So when we do the best we can and we pull all this information together, and we then say well that’s basically what we see as the situation, that is really only the known knowns and the known unknowns. And each year, we discover a few more of those unknown unknowns.

It sounds like a riddle. It isn’t a riddle. It is a very serious, important matter.

Donald Rumsfeld at NATO 6th June 2002

Tell us something, don’t just hide away!

I did ask the member of staff why they didn’t just make regular announcements. Even if it’s just letting us know there’s nothing to announce. He said they weren’t allowed to/didn’t have the facilities (one of the two, I can’t remember which).

In time I got where I was going.

Then I had to come home.

At Waterloo East about fifty people gathered around an info desk. I asked the man if he knew what platform the next train might arrive at. At that point his colleague leaned over and said “we don’t have to take this abuse.” The man I was talking to tuned to his colleague and said “He isn’t being abusive, he’s being very polite”. Thank you sir. And then his colleague declared “I don’t have to take any more abuse!” She ripped the cables out from underneath her monitor and stormed off.

Moments later an angry passenger behind me called out “Why don’t you just shout loudly so we can all hear. If there are no trains just tell us.”

I turned and shouted “There are no trains.” He looked at me and said “a bit more information would be nice!”

It’s just crazy.

I shouldn’t complain. At least I didn’t get stuck on a train overnight.

A few days ago I went to see Unstoppable, the new Tony Scott/ Denzel Washington runaway train extravaganza. Southeastern should make their own non-action film, Stoppable.

Or Network Rail. Who do I pitch it to?

 

 

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