November 9, 2015
Some of you may be aware of STRANGENESS in SPACE, the new audio sci-fi comedy drama we’ve made with Sophie Aldred (Ace in Dr Who). If I’ve been a little bit neglectful of my own blog here, the poor old Mummified Fox, it’s because I’ve been putting all that good stuff that some folk call content into another area: The STRANGENESS in SPACE WormHole!
The WormHole is a members only area giving those who join up Access All Areas passes to all that is STRANGENESS. So far there’s over 70 posts of photos, stories, interviews, and videos. Membership is for… well, a long time. We’ve never really pinned that down. Somewhere between a Year and Life… more likely falling towards the Life end (it’s not like we’re internet librarians with stamps and stuff).
Now here’s the thing. Normally Membership is £20. But this week is WormHole Week, and we’re making Membership only £5 for the first 100 to sign up. So, if you fancy it, please spend a fiver to gain access to some really funny stuff. And if you do, that money will go directly to funding the next Episodes of STRANGENESS. If you’ve not listened yet, please do. It’s free, and we have two completed episodes featuring me and Trev, Sophie, Doon Mackichan, Barnaby Edwards, David Annen, Sarah Madigan. And also special guests like Carol Cleveland, Peter Guinness, and Rufus Hound!
You can hear Episodes 1 and 2 here. They are FREE! Please take a listen. If you like them, that’s lovely. And if you’d like to hear more, please help us. Please take a look at our shop. It’s our own version of crowdfunding. We’ve got the cut-price WormHole membership, and we’ve also got badges, hats, bags, and scripts and all sorts of ways you can help us get these crazy episodes made.
Here’s a one minute version of a video in the WormHole. It’s when Rufus met Sophie.All improvised, with none of us having any idea what could happen. It’s funny. Very funny. And the full version is four times as long and even funnier… with some rude words. Easily worth a fiver. I hope you enjoy it. And if you do, please spread the word and help us hit our target.
April 6, 2015
It’s one of the great pop songs. And since hearing it, it’s one I’ve always tried to take to heart. Yes, shyness is nice and (more often than not) the antonym is hideous. So, it’s always worth an ask. “Ask me, I won’t say no, how could I?”
Years back, last century, when I worked with Trev Neal on Saturday morning TV, we’d get to perform daft sketches with the stars of the day (Big Fun, Craig Machlachlanchlachlan, Nathan from Brother Beyond) and sometimes the stars of many days (Kylie, Cher, Mel Brooks). When it came to the Christmas and New Year shows there was always an attempt by our boss, Chris Bellinger, to up the ante, to aim high, to get the big guns in. And we would always ask for the top bananas. Year after year, for ten years, we’d hand in our wish list. Always the same names. And always, at the top of our list, the same two. We never did get Eddie Murphy or Gorbachev. But the point is, ASK! Always ask.
During one series of Live and Kicking we had a weekly feature called Every Loony Wins*. It was a daft phone-in quiz and we had a band as part of it, all played by kids from the audience. The leader of the band was called Des Tindeby (The Des Tindeby Band). And during their musical performance (miming to the very real Spike Jones and his City Slickers) a character would jump on stage (again one of the kids) as The Lone Yodeller (a Lone Ranger type, in a mask, yodelling like a loony). And each week we would end the segment by looking into the camera and saying; “Just who is the Lone Yodeller?”
When we reached the end of the thirty week run it was time for us to reveal just who was the Lone Yodeller. The obvious way to do this was for it to be one of the guests of the week. The only problem was (me and Trev being a picky pair) none of the guests were up to the task. (Anyone remember Little Danny Mangrove? or Nu Boxxx? Or Jennifer Bush?** No, I thought not.) And so we went to Chris… and we asked… we begged… please, please, can we get another guest. One worthy of the title of The Lone Yodeller? Chris wanted it to be Little Danny Mangrove. Little Danny, who was actually 6’2″, had just won Pop Zinger on ITV and his record company, BIGPUSH, were desperate for him to be the Lone Yodeller. They’d even recorded a special yodelling version of his current hit, A Pocketful of Promises, for him to mime to. We couldn’t have it though. We insisted; the Lone Yodeller had to be a bigger name. And then we asked Chris this; “if we can get a big name to play along will you let them be the Lone Yodeller?” This, of course, depended on who the big name was. We said to Chris; “if we can get Jonathan Ross to be the Lone Yodeller will you let him do it?” And Chris said yes.
Just one snag. We didn’t know Jonathan Ross. Not really. He’d been a guest before on the programme, but it’s not like we played tennis with him or anything. It’s not like we’d been to his house, or had his telephone number. All we had, on our side, was the ability to ASK.
It’s time to get to the races now so… we asked… we found a phone number for his production company and we asked… and they said “we’ll ask”… and we waited. And he said YES!
Jonathan turned up on the Saturday morning, played the Lone Yodeller and also brought along a friend of his who went on to declare “No! I’m the Lone Yodeller!” Our second Lone Yodeller wore a shoe hat, made from two shoes and a coat hanger. That was was Vic Reeves.
We’ve been asking again recently. We are working on a new thing. A Sci-Fi audio comedy adventure with me, Trev, and Sophie Aldred. Some of you reading this will already know about Strangeness in Space. ***
And we’ve been asking people to help us out with it. We’ve given up on Eddie Murphy and Gorbachev, but we have asked two top people who have only gone ahead and said YES!
YES! Doon Mackichan has said yes to being our narrator, Bounty Flightingale.
YES! Rufus Hound has said yes to being Atrocious Knocious, an alien hoverbiker who’s never even heard of Evel knievel!
All from asking.
* based on Nick Berry’s hit Every Loser Wins. We had a minor battle with some BBC bigwigs to get them to accept the use of the word Loony. I’d grown up with it, reading the works of Spike Milligan. It was accepted in the end when dictionary definitions, on the whole, gave the word two meanings; one meaning (and our one) was silly, the other mad.
** Ok, I’ve made all these acts up. And the ongoing business with Little Danny Mangrove. Other than that, this story is true.
*** A final ask. Please help us get this made. We’ve loads of perks available if you join us: T-shirts, badges, scripts, signed photos and artwork, etc. We’re not far off our target now, but the more money we raise, the more episodes we can make. You can back us here.
December 19, 2014
Over the past few years, in the build up to Christmas, I have been reviewing the Top Ten Comedy DVDs to help you make those difficult Christmas present choices. I’ve left it a bit late this year, but here goes: all ten in one go.
And here (for those new to this exercise in futility) are the rules: The Top Ten is taking from today’s Amazon Stand-Up comedy recommendations. I’ve not watched any of them. I don’t read anything about them. I merely look at the covers (pictures of the covers) and come to undoubtedly unfair conclusions. Yes, I am judging a comedy DVD by its cover.
That’s it. Happy shopping. Let’s countdown!
10: Nina Conti
Nina Conti is “Brilliantly funny, outrageously hilarious”. But we don’t know who said this. Perhaps it was her dad, the Liverpool boxer John Conti.
It’s a “live” DVD but I cannot tell you where from. The show is called “Dolly Mixtures”. I remember Dolly Mixtures from my childhood. They were/are sweets. Nina’s teeth are perfect suggesting she doesn’t eat them, or she brushes well. Her smile is rigid. If I were Sherlock Holmes I would put this with the puppets below and conclude that she is a ventriloquist with a penchant for confectionery nostalgia. Suitable for 15 year olds and above.
9: Harry Hill
No. 9 is Harry Hill. He is the “Lord of Misrule” and this is his return to stand up. It is also a “Brand New Live Show”. Unlike Nina’s we know the location of this live show. It is Leeds. The show is called “Sausage Time” and the cover suggests the sausages that are taking up the time are meat sausages and also “sausage” dogs; dogs resembling sausages in shape alone.
This DVD is suitable for anyone above the age of 12.
8: Frank Skinner
Well now, this is fascinating. It’s that rare thing in the world of stand-up comedy DVD cover art; something that looks, almost, well… designed. As if someone has put some thought into it.
Here’s what we know for sure. It’s Frank Skinner “live”. Location unknown. The show is called “Man in a Suit”. The comedy comes from Frank being in a suit and a suit alone. No shirt, no tie. We cannot see, but I guess he has no shoes too. It’s traditional, it’s subversive. And possibly a little Christ-like.
The Mirror (representing the ordinary left-wing folk) call it “A masterclass in stand-up”. The Telegraph (representing the extraordinary right-wing folk) call it “Outrageously funny”. Something for everyone. Over 15.
And if you think you’ve seen that cover somewhere before, try this for size.
7: Roy Chubby Brown
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
18 and over.
6: Jim Davidson
Jim Davidson is “Back and Live”. We don’t know where he is live, or where he is back from. The quote from The Mirror (none from The Telegraph here) says “Standing ovation to packed houses every night” so perhaps Jim did a door to door tour.
The DVD is subtitled “No further action”, which is, I assume, an Operation Yewtree reference. Jim also reveals the “Unseen story of Celebrity Big Brother”, unseen by any who didn’t watch it.
He stands, cheekily, clutching his mic like a big cock whilst hiding his other hand in his pants! Spotlights play over his groin area, saucily. It’s a 15 and over affair.
5: Al Murray
Covers don’t come any better than this. It’s a work of art with something for everyone. Firstly, Al is painted. Take a close look; he could be by Michael Sowa, or a painteralike. That pint of beer is a masterpiece waiting to appear in an unwritten Paul Heaton drinking song.
Look at that maroon strip along the bottom; worthy of the discontinued range of HD DVDs (the ones that lost out in the 2008 BluRay/HD DVD war). It’s an all-new live show. We don’t know where, but look! A bonus is a full-length live show from somewhere we do know; Edinburgh.
The Times says; “Murray is on exuberant form, splashing the audience with both his beer and his ideas”. Yes, it’s an odd quote, but no doubt well meant.
The cover references the Carlo Goldoni classic, “Servant of Two Masters” (aka One Man, Two Guvnors”) and there is an added joke in the subtitle “20 years at the lager top”.
It is suitable for 15 years olds and it is 20 past one.
4: Still Game
I’m a little clueless on this one, but I think it may be Harry and Paul.
15 year olds welcome.
3: Jack Whitehall
Ah! Jack Whitehall! Frankly, I’ve never heard of him, but he must be a big cheese because he is “Live from Wembley Arena”. That’s a big place.
Going off his hi-tech microphone it’s possible that he may be connected in some way or another with Justin Bieber.
Minimal research shows that he is the son of someone.
2: Russell Howard
Sorry folks. I’m really letting you down now. I haven’t a clue. Possibly Jack Whitehall’s son?
This guy could be an illusionist. He’s performing a ‘trick’ on the cover, making it look like he can hoverfloat a cup of coffee. Closer inspection shows that he is lying on the floor, shot from overhead.
This is “Wonderbox” live. We don’t know where live. My research yields no results for Wonderbox. I will have to hazard a guess that his Wonderbox is where he keeps his rabbits and his silk handkerchiefs.
Suitable for ages 15 and under.
1: Lee Mack
And back on dry land once again. I know where I am now. “Slick, sharp and very funny” Time Out says. Swearing too, which is good. But clearly no “cunts” as it is a 15 certificate.
It’s your traditional comedy cover, right down to missing foot behind a big ‘C’. Well done Lee.
But which is your favourite (and least favourite)?
Remember, play by the rules. Don’t pick your favourite comedian. Pick your favourite cover. Then least favourite.
June 15, 2014
A quick recap and the results of yesterday’s games:
Colombia 3-0 Greece
Uruguay 1-3 Costa Rica
England 1-2 Italy
Ivory Coast 2-1 Japan
So, spot the shock result from the above! That’s right; we only lost by one goal!
Oh, ignore me, that’s just a sad joke. We played well… (when I say ‘we’, I mean England… it’s a synechdoche, or something… I didn’t play well. I didn’t even play. Who do you think I am? One of Rooney’s Looneys?)
Incidentally, that last bit, the Rooney’s Looney’s bit, I hope no one is offended by it. Mainly because I have pitched it as a film idea to George Clooney’s company. Years back I pitched Clooney a film idea called Clooney’s Looneys, about a bunch of madcap robbers who plan the ‘Heist of the Hectosecond’. I never heard back from him, and then was a little shocked when Ocean’s 11 hit the screen. Yes it was a different title, but in ever other aspect it was completely different from my pitch too. And for that reason, and only that reason, I decided not to sue.
I digress. So… Clooney’s Looneys didn’t work out, but what of Rooney’s Looneys? Wayne Rooney (played by Daniel Craig) is imprisoned in Guantanamo. He gets together a ramshackle bunch of prisoners and forms a football team to take on the American guards (led by a cheeky and likeable torturer played by George Clooney). Rooney’s plan is to use the football match as a means of escape. All goes wrong when the Americans turn up ready to play ‘American’ Football. They are covered in padded gear, helmets etc. There then follows a 17 minute Tarantino-esque debate over the differences between ‘soccer’ and ‘football’. It looks like it is all going wrong. But no! Ha! It is you dear viewer who has got it wrong! This was Rooney’s plan all along! The rat-a-tat-tat Tarantino-talk is a cover for the escape. And the Americans, encumbered by their clumsy outfits and helmets, can’t keep up with the nimble-footed footie fools. The film ends with Rooneys looneys sitting in a bar in Havana called Smokie Mo’s smoking cheroots and laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing.
It’s a feelgood sports comedy set against a background of torture and wrongful imprisonment.
Back to the tweepstake. Quick summing up of last night: England down but not out, keep an eye on Costa Rica. (And I’d like England to do well for more than the obvious reason: @Christian_N-Orr, swept up by the power of the tweepstake, has promised an extra £5 to Alzheimer’s Society for every game England wins! He is a star! And, if you fancy helping out you can make a donation at my Just Giving page here. Just a pound or two will help me reach my goalllllll!!!)
Here are my previews and predictions for today’s games:
Switzerland (@realandrewgreen) v Ecuador (@wasaunders) ITV, 5pm kick-off. Estadio Nacional de Brasilia in Brasilia (capacity approx 68,000). Switzerland are ranked 6th in the world, Ecuador are ranked 26th, which says it all really.
SWITZERLAND 26 ECUADOR 6
France (@Zoleipar) v Honduras (@wristwatch42)BBC, 8pm Kick-off. Estadio Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre (cap. approx 48,000). I have a vested interest in this one; @Zoleipar is my wife. Sorry @wristwatch42. But still… here’s my informed opinion: France failed to win a single match in the 2010 World Cup. They are out for revenge. They will win this one to lay down a marker. Honduran cuisine makes extensive use of coconut.
FRANCE 2 HONDURAS 1
Argentina (@joyfeed) v Bosnia-Hercegovina (@jaq421)
BBC, 11pm Kick-off. Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro (cap. approx 75,000) The match of the night and one worth staying up for. Argentina have at last sorted out where Lionel Messi plays, and it is for Argentina. And for any Manchester City fan, this is the clash of Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko. Bosnia-Hercegovina used to be called Bosnia Herzegovina, a model famous for her catchphrase “Hello boys!”
ARGENTINA 4 BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA 1
Have a good day, enjoy the football, and to all Fathers out there, happy day.
June 10, 2014
In the early 80’s me and Trev met at Manchester University. We were doing degrees in Drama (one each). I can’t speak for Trev, but I was hardly the most academic of students. Nor was Trev. As our friendship developed, so did our interest in comedy, more commonly known then as mucking around a bit and getting up late.
We were blessed with having tutors who not only indulged our experiments in comedy but also actively encouraged it. (Every Monday night students would perform their latest experimental pieces at the department’s Stephen Joseph Studio, a converted church where we once tried an ‘alternative comedy’ take on Chekhov).
One of our tutors was Dr David Mayer (later to become Professor David Mayer). David’s daughter, Lise, was the girlfriend of a former student, Rik Mayall. The two of them, along with another former Manchester student, Ben Elton, had just written a new sitcom for the BBC called The Young Ones.
We had no TV. We were students; we had no money. Any money we did have had to be spent on beer. And tins of Goblin Dumplings (50p at Oobidoo. Everything at Oobidoo was 50p. That’s why their slogan was –Don’t ask the price. We always did.)
The Drama Department had a TV. And a video player! Every week David Mayer would video The Young Ones for us. And I do mean us, the two of us. Others may have come along too, but David, gently pushing us in all the right directions, knew it was important for us to see this show.
There’d been nothing like it. And it was made by students from Manchester! Not Oxford, not Cambridge. Manchester! It was the most ground-breaking Mancunion contribution to comedy since Frank Randle (and, if you have four minutes to spare to watch this clip from Somewhere On Leave, 1943, you’ll see that Frank would have fitted very nicely into the world of The Young Ones).
Sometime shortly after this, in 1983, David said; “Lise, Rik, and Ben are going to be at my house over the weekend. Would you like to come and meet them on Saturday night.”
Ok… stop. Take a big long break in reading. I’d like to leave a big long gap on the page but that’d be daft. Just imagine the time it’s taking me, even now, for this to sink in. Would we, two stupid students, barely out of our teens, like to meet the creators of The Young Ones? At our tutor’s house?
Let’s deal with David Mayer’s house first.
It was a Mansion of Myths. We’d never been there, but we’d heard the rumours. Apparently he had a shower with three heads! And a Picasso! And we were being invited there! To meet The Young Ones! (I know exclamation marks should be used sparingly, but… come on!!!)
Now, the meeting. Of course we went. We even prepared: We spent Saturday afternoon scooting around Oobidoo, looking for fun items and generally asking the price. We settled on a wind-up spider. 50p.
And so we headed off on Saturday night to our tutor’s home in the posh part of Manchester armed only with a wind-up spider. (I don’t know at what age we learn to take wine, but whatever age, we hadn’t reached it yet).
We arrived at the house. And whatever you read from this point onwards, I assure you, did happen. David greeted us and showed us into a huge half kitchen, half dining room, with a small dividing wall about three feet high in the middle. In the dining room half there was a circular table. And there was Rik, Lise, Ben… and possibly someone else (sorry someone else). David didn’t introduce us… oh, he may have said something like “this is Trev and Simon”… but he didn’t explain who we were or why we were there. The one other thing he did do was to ask us to keep an eye on some steaks he was grilling in the far half of the kitchen.
This of two idiots whose diet consisted of tinned Goblin products.
And David disappeared! Where did he go? To this day no one can answer that. But the best bets are ‘to have a look at his Picasso’ or ‘to have a shower’.
So… we kind of stood around. The others, at the table, carried on talking to each other. At one point we wound up the wind-up spider and let it have a little walk. It didn’t get much of a reaction. But then, why should it? These fellows had demolished a house in their first episode.
We hadn’t been asked to do much by our tutor. Just keep an eye on some steaks. But that wasn’t our forte. We did our best. We wandered over to the cooker. We looked at them. And then they burst into flames.
How can a steak catch fire? I’m sure it’s easy to burn a steak, to ruin it; but for it to catch fire?
Trev struggled to get the grill out. He did, eventually, but not before the fire alarm went off.
The rest is a blur.
On Monday night we did a daft bit of comedy at The Stephen Joseph Studio. It ended with us dropping some kind of large object off a balcony onto our wind-up walking spider. The spider was smashed to bits. And Rik, and Lise, and Ben were there.
Afterwards we talked about Saturday night. They had no idea why we were there or who we were. They said they hadn’t realised we were ‘comedians’. Which could have been a compliment or not, but either way we had a long chat with our comedy heroes. And for the next few days they were around and about. One night I played cards with Ben and Rik (Ben insisted on giving me money for a taxi home. I insisted on refusing it. I walked the three miles home in the rain. What an idiot student.) Another night we sat chatting with Rik in the bar at The Contact Theatre (the theatre connected to the drama department). He gave us lots of advice and he even gave us his phone number (before mobiles… this was Rik’s home phone number!) and told us to phone him whenever we wanted. He also gave us a quote to use on our publicity for our first Edinburgh show. He told us to use, “My favourite act!”
Up in Edinburgh, doing our first ever show in 1984, we walked past a poster for a band. I can’t remember the band, but I can remember the quote: “My favourite band”, Rik Mayall.
RIP Rik. Thank you. x
December 21, 2013
All ten DVD covers have been reviewed… and one bogus one that sneaked in at the last minute as a result of Amazon’s Top Ten changing so radically between the 11th December and the 20th! Who knew Amazon could fiddle around with their lists so much; seemingly basing best on sales? Click here to catch up on yesterday’s Number 1.
And now it’s your turn. Three polls to vote in. Firstly, the best cover. Then, the worst cover. And, finally, the funniest.
Here’s a quick reminder of the contenders:
And here’s the polls:
And for the last one, since a comedy gala has an unfair advantage, I have removed it and replaced it with yesterday’s surprise No. 1 choice on Amazon, Jethro!
December 20, 2013
Here we go! After nine long days it is time to put you out of, or into, your misery.
I’ve been taking a look at the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s according to Amazon, and then reviewing them by the state of their cover alone. But a funny thing has happened since I first searched out the list on the 11th December.
I’m going to show you the list from 10 through to 2 that I found on the 11th December. And then I’ll show you the list as it stands today. See if you can spot the funny thing.
Here’s my list from the 11th December (without yet revealing number 1):
9- Peter Kay
7- Jimmy Carr
6- Eddie Izzard
5- Sean Lock
4- Jack Dee
3- Bill Bailey
2- Greg Davies
And now, here’s Amazon’s Top Ten as of today (and I’ll save the number 1 til the end too!):
10- Peter Kay (but a different DVD)
9- Roy ‘Chubby’ Brown
8- Def Comedy Jam
6- World’s Greatest Stand-Up
5- The Comedians
4- Jim Davidson
3- Stewart Lee
2- Channel 4’s Comedy Gala (but 2012, not 2013)
And no.1? Well, it’s a repeat of one of the above. But I’ll save the surprise.
And did you notice the funny thing that happened? Yes, that’s right! The list went from being pretty pretty good to being pretty pretty shit.
How did that happen? Is it based on sales? And if it is, did NO ONE (out of my 24 or so readers) pay any attention to my thorough reviews?
And how on earth did Stewart Lee and his Comedy Vehicle sneak in there at no.3? Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m glad Stewart Lee is in there. He’s my favourite comedian. Ever. (Though Frank Randle gives him a run for his money).
But truly, what gives?
And so, at last, here’s the proper (as in the 11th December list) Number 1. It’s…
Yes! Micky Flanagan!
And he’s made my job easy. I’m reviewing this solely by the cover and Micky has wisely eschewed any fake stickers with silly newspaper bits declaring him to be this or that. It’s just him, with a bit of a cheeky title and a cheeky chappie grin. And, as I sit here typing, I say to my wife, “there’s not much to say really”. And she says, “Say he’s copied my walk”.
I like Micky Flanagan. And he makes me laugh. Though he has copied my wife’s walk.
Two 15 certificates. Suitable for 30 year olds.
But here’s the thing. You’re all (24 of you) waiting to find out who’s top of the Amazon chart today, aren’t you? Yes?
It’s a 3 DVD boxset. It’s £5.75.
I wasn’t going to review this cover. It’s not part of the plan. And I don’t want Jethro stealing any of Micky’s thunder. But there is one point of great interest: Jethrol uses the fake sticker style favoured by yesterday’s no. 2, Greg Davies. But whereas Greg’s fake sticker was used to declare him “one of this country’s best comedians”, Jethro’s fake sticker is used to declare “contains new release”.
Contains new release. Contains new release.
Just say it a few times. Over and over.
Is it making you feel queasy? Contains new release.
Is it meant to be a joke?
Contains new release. What does it mean?
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help thinking… contains new release… I can’t help thinking Jethro has somehow spunked out his new video.
Maybe that’s what he wants us to think. Who knows? Who buys Jethro? What is he? And why doesn’t Ricky Tomlinson sue?
December 19, 2013
I’m reviewing the Top Ten Comedy DVD’s (taken from a search on Amazon), but with a trick. I’m not watching them. I’m not even reading about them. I merely looking at the covers (pictures of the covers) and coming to undoubtedly unfair conclusions. It’s a service I’m offering to help you with those last minute Christmas presents.
Yesterday I looked at numbers 3 and 4. In fourth place was grumpy Jack Dee. In third place was becalmed Bill Bailey.
Who’ll be in second place? And will they be a smiler or a scowler? Here goes…
It’s Greg Davies! And he’s… scowling? Or squinting? Possibly pondering.
As far as covers go this one is a winner, only bettered so far by Bill Bailey’s barmy army cover. It looks good, there’s outsider art involved, and it presents us with a mystery: why has Greg decided to turn his back on the view? Is he doing it to spite his Mum? And what is he looking at with his one eye? And why’s he called it The back of my Mum’s head? And is that his Mum? And if it is his Mum, is it his real Mum or a ‘stage Mum’? And why is he wearing a huge blue badge telling us he is “one of this country’s best comedians?”
That’s the one part of the cover I hate. I can’t tell for sure but it looks printed on rather than being a sticker you can peel off, and that makes it just a little bit worse. Someone (maybe Greg, maybe not) designed this cover and made it as good as they could and then someone else (a marketing idiot) came along and said:
(The kind of person who says ‘guys’ to everyone regardless of gender)
“Hey guys, I’m not really sure this cover sells Greg as well as it could. After all, he is one of this country’s best comedians, can’t we find a quote from somewhere that helps get that point across?”
The quote is found and the marketing idiot tells someone else to make it look like a big sticker stuck on the front of the DVD. And this someone else, who has no power, tries to suggest it will look shit and it will ruin the cover. And the marketing idiot, thinking they are being creative, adopts a pose not unlike Greg’s, pretends to think, and then declares “make it blue, so it matches the blue of the sky!” And the marketing idiot barks a laugh and shouts out “”That’s blue sky thinking for you” and everyone pretends to laugh and a cover is destroyed.
Two 15 certificates. Suitable for 30 year olds.
Tomorrow, number 1.
December 18, 2013
Ok, so I didn’t get a chance to do number 4 yesterday. Sorry! But it’s nearly Christmas and there is drinking to be done.
And so, rather than be a day behind, I am going to rattle through numbers 4 and 3 today. Here’s my thinking, this is the plan; if I get to Number 1 by Friday then you are all sorted for your Christmas shopping. You’ve got the weekend to buy the whole Top Ten. If that’s your thing.
The downside is that I can’t tell you anything about the content of these DVD’s. It’s not like I’m watching them! I haven’t got the time! Or the money! …No, hang on… I haven’t got the money! I knew it was one out of the two.
Having seen none of them I am solely judging a DVD by its cover. Which is fine by me. These comedians surely approved their covers; even, bizarrely, Jimmy Carr!
Before we start the Top Three countdown let’s get Number Four done. And it is…
It’s the original Grinch! It’s the grumpiest comedian ever! It’s Jack Dee!
Here’s Jack! Looking more hapless than grumpy. He’s pulling the kind of face you imagine he might have pulled when he heard Martin Freeman had stolen the part of the Hobbit from him.
Ooh, as a little diversion, here’s some stuff I have watched. Let’s laugh along as Vic and Bob try to cheer Grumpy Jack up. And look carefully… at one point Jack is sitting next to The Hobbit himself, smiling away, not grumpy at all.
Now, back to the serious cover analysis.
I’m getting a little fed up of the double 15 certificate thing. It’s on all of these bloody videos. But, for those new to this blue and red stickeration the double 15 means this DVD is suitable for thirty year olds.
Jack’s gone for an old variety poster style for his cover. It’s a cross between the Good Old Days and a boxing flyer. As such, it’s covered in stars. The Telegraph gives the show Five Stars, but if you count them all up this is in fact a 47 Star show. That’s a hell of a show. So What? So 47 Stars What, that’s What!
Jeremy Hardy calls the show/Jack a “little ray of sleet”. It’s not quite up there with Lee Mack’s critique of Stewart Lee…
… but it’s still a fun quote.
And so on to the Top Three.
(Incidentally, the Top Ten order has not been decided by me. I am going off the first ten comedy DVD’s that came up when I searched Amazon’s Stand-up comedy section way back on December 11th).
And, at Number Three…
It’s Bill Bailey! And what a cover! Truly astonishing! A 12 certificate! A first for the Top Ten! Here is a DVD for (almost) all the family.
It’s also the first DVD in the Top Ten to entertain me through title alone. If only all warmongers became qualmpeddlers the world would be a much better place.
As far as most comedy DVD covers go (grins, teeth, quiffs, scowls) this one is a work of art. A spoof art work too, mocking and mimicking the militaristic murals of Mao.
Bill Bailey may be only Number Three, but it’s likely, when the votes are in (the poll will open on Saturday) that this cover will be Number One!
Tomorrow, Number 2.
December 16, 2013
Following on from yesterday’s no. 6, Eddie Izzard, we move straight on to no.5. And, to quote Winston The Wolf from Pulp Fiction, “If I’m curt with you it’s because time is a factor”.
See, the thing is, I’ve been out all day and now I have to eat and then get to my choir’s social, where karaoke is king, and that starts at eight.
So… Number 5.
It’s Sean Lock! We hope. The tricky thing is to try and figure out what letter his head is. But since his name is actually Sean Lock I’m going to plump for an ‘O’. His head is a big ‘O’. He’s the Roy Orbison of comedy.
He’s a two 15 certificate comedian man, making him ideal for any thirty year olds.
He may have his hands down his pants.
Talking of pants, his cover with its swirly fonts makes me think a little of this:
Despite his down-turned mouth and the description of him as “punchy”, I doubt he is a violent man. Unlike Eddie Izzard’s DVD, he is not selling an Ultraviolent version of his act.
He is also “inventive, superb… undeniably brilliant.”
Well… do you dare deny it? I thought not. You can’t. It’s undeniable.
If you’re wondering what Sean’s Purple Van looks like, here’s a pic:
I am off to do my yearly sing of First Of The Gang To Die and Manchester. Bye.
Tomorrow, number 4.
Oh, and if you’ve never seen this video, give it a watch. It’s “punchy, inventive, superb… and undeniably brilliant.”