Ok, yesterday I did my yearly round-up of the Top Ten comedy DVDs, according to Amazon. Some of you have complained. Some of you don’t like this comedian, or that comedian. Well guess what you lot! Me neither! Some I like, some I don’t. I don’t get to choose the Top Ten. I guess sales do, or something.

Did any of you notice that all the Top Ten are male? And 9 out of 10 are white? And the only comedian who isn’t white is described as “dangerous”? Like I say, I don’t pick. I just watch and-

Oh no! The Top ten has changed today! How’d that happen? It’s a minor change; Bailey’s out, Mack’s in.

For the sake of this poll coming up, I am going to use the Top Ten from yesterday. Now remember! this is very important! You are NOT voting for who you think is the funniest. There are two polls: the first one is for the best cover, the second one is for the worst cover. Got it?

Here’s an example. You can’t stand McIntyre (not necessarily you, but someone on Twitter did express annoyance that he was in here), but you do love his cover… then you must vote for him. THESE ARE THE RULES! Please stick to them.

Ok, here goes:

Oh no! First a quick reminder. Here they are:

Henning Wehndylan moranalan carrChris Ramseybill baileyPaul ChowdryMichael McIntyreDara o BriainJohn BishopKevin BridgesNow here goes:

And now the opposite. Which do you think is the worst?

 

It’s that time again. Christmas-time. And Here I am with the annual round-up of Top Ten Comedy DVDs, helping you make those difficult Christmas present choices.

This is how it works: The Top Ten is taken from today’s Amazon Stand-Up comedy recommendations. I’ve not watched any of them. I don’t read anything about them (not even the Amazon blurb). I look at the covers and come to unfair conclusions. I’ll say the same as last year: “Yes, I am judging a comedy DVD by its cover.”

Here goes, counting down from ten to one.

10: Henning Wehn

Henning Wehn

Henning Wehn

It looks like we’re off to a good start. Henning is “a superb social commentator” with “great likeability”…. Woaaaaahhhh! Hold your horses! He’s only gone and said that about himself! Where’s the quotes from The Sun, or the guardian, or anyone else. Ah! There is a quote from Everybody Else! He’s “that German bloke”.

There’s a clue to his Germanness (Germanity? Germanicity?) in the title Eins, Zwei, DIY. And we can also tell that this is a DVD of his live show from the use of the word “Live”. As far as titles go, I like puns, and this made me laugh. But then I laughed a little less when I remembered a similar comedic use of the 123 thing from a German zombie film a few years back.

dead snow

Ein! Zwei! With my little eye!

Still, it’s a good start to our Top Ten. And Henning looks like Frank Skinner in a never-made Ronnie Barker shop sitcom called Spanner’s Manor, where Frank/Ronnie/Henning would have played Sam Spanner, a DIY shop owner who’s a private dick on the side.

Henning’s DVD is a 15 certificate, shown twice (once in blue, once in red) making it suitable for 30 year olds. It is available on Amazon for £10.

9: Dylan Moran

dylan moran

Dylan Moran

There’s going to be a pattern here with the certificates. Why they have to do it twice is anyone’s guess. Globalisation or something.

Anyway, this is Dylan Moran. Live. It’s called Off the Hook. No one knows why. Here’s some suggestions: Dylan has been let ‘off the hook’ by someone… a family member? The police?; the DVD has a fishing theme; it’s a bit like Off the Pegg– a not-yet-made one joke-fits-all fest by funnyman Simon Pegg; It’s a DVD of jokes stolen from New Order funnyman Peter Hook; it has no meaning.

Dominic Cavendish, from The Telegraph, says: “This show makes the world seem a better place”. It may well be deliberate but I have no idea what that means. He does give it four stars though, and that is good.

Unidentified writers from the guardian, The Times, and the Evening Standard also give the show four stars. One must assume that, unlike the brazenly out there Dominic Cavendish, these other writers are spies.

Nevertheless, it gives the DVD a total of 16 stars. That means it is good and funny. You can get it at Amazon for £10.

8: Alan Carr

alan carr

Alan Carr

15 + 15. This is Yap, Yap, Yap! Live. It is described by Guardian (not the guardian, so really, it could be anyone!) as “Hooting jabberfest”. (What in hell’s name has happened to the definite and indefinite articles here? Have they gone on holiday for Christmas?)

Anyway, let’s get to the point. Dogs yap, owls hoot. I’m guessing Alan is an animal impersonator. Available for £9.79.

7: Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey

Chris Ramsey

15 x 2. Lots of info here. It’s Live. And you get a full-length bonus show thrown in too. It’s All Growed Up, which means… it’s not… ’cause it’s said in baby talk. And Chris is holding a microphone made out of Lego (I wonder if he had to buy it, like Ai Weiwei?) It’s “Stand-Up gold” too (from the proper the guardian). So, everything’s looking good for this one, except…

“Frighteningly talented… tearing up every stage he lands on.” GQ

This is really worrying. Why does he land on stages? Has he only ever performed in Miss Saigon? Is he an alien? And then why on earth would he tear them up? Has he a Hulk complex?

And how is he managing to lean on a blue sticker that isn’t a sticker at all but they’ve still gone and made it curl up at the edges to try and fool us into thinking it is a sticker after all?

Putting aside these worries and doubts, Chris’ video takes us back up to the £10 mark.

6: Bill Bailey

bill bailey

Bill Bailey

It’s a first this year! A 12 certificate DVD. 12 + 12 = 24. Fun for (most of) all the family!

You know where you are with this one. “Sublime hilarity” and “Blissfully funny”… from proper papers. And then there’s jokes on top! The big joke is the plug pun (it made me laugh). The smaller joke is the “high voltage comedy” bit. And the surreal joke is the tick showing that the DVD is “approved by most goverments” (I’m guessing that the missing ‘n’ is a joke I am missing out on, rather than a spelling mistake).

And you get three DVDs for £10.57!

5: Paul Chowdhry

Paul Chowdry

Paul Chowdry

Man, this one gives me the heebiegeebies!

Seriously, what gives? “Imperiously on top of his game”? Is that good? From the Mail on Sunday too? maybe it’s a spoof. Five stars though. and another five from the Daily Mirror to show that he’s cool on the left too. No quote from them, but the stars are adding up. Ten stars so far.

But then Eastern Eye lets Paul down. No stars and “Dangerous comic genius”. Dangerous? What!? Surely a comedian to be avoided?

Imperious? Dangerous? Genius? Is he after a part in the next Bond film?

But, ever fond of the cheaper stuff, PC’s World is funny.

As a little aside; when me and Trev worked on Going Live! and Live & Kicking our producer, David Mercer, was responsible for deciding if  our content was acceptable/broadcastable. At times, he could be harsh on us (or so we thought), and so, in the face of BBC right-on thinking, we would always sing the same song at him. And it went like this; “Where in the world? David Mercer’s PC World”. That’s all. Not even funny. It just stuck. But if you ever meet him, do sing it to/at him.

Back to the £10 DVD.

4: Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre

Michael McIntyre

You knew he’d turn up. What would the Top Ten be without him? If anything, it’s scandalous he hasn’t made the Top Three!

No newspaper quotes here, because he doesn’t need them. “The record-breaking comedian returns with his brand new show!” A brand new show! It’s a shame they don’t tell us what record(s) he has broken. I’m going to plump for World’s Greatest Curtain Peeper.

It’s Live at The 02 Arena (does it have red curtains?) It’s called Happy and Glorious but where’s the trademark McIntyre smile?  If anything, he’s looking sneaky. As if he’s about to rob the 02. With a prosthetic hand.

Long to reign over us. 15 + 15. £10.

3: Dara O Briain

Dara o Briain

Dara O Briain

Here’s Dara O Briain spoofing a Phrenology Head, looking a little like the third of the Three Wise Monkeys. “Devilishly sharp” says Metro. What’s devilishly sharp? Dara? The scalpel that separates the sections of the brain? A Kitchen Devil knife?

Look closely and you’ll see what to expect: audience chat, highbrow, lowbrow, Gloria Estefan, Not bumping into things. Oh, and a formula I don’t understand, and gags! Gags! Right by his left eye.

Crowd Tickler. Ken Doddish? £10.

2: John Bishop

John Bishop

John Bishop

Possibly the most understandable cover amongst the lot. John Bishop. Live. At The Royal Albert Hall. “Britain’s top comic”, the Daily Mirror.

But hang on… Supersonic Live? Supersonic? As in Syd Little? I guess this is John’s tribute to Cyril Mead, the Little half of Little and Large, always referred to by Edward McGinnis, the Large half of Little and Large, as Supersonic. It’s a nice touch. And always welcome to see the new wave of comedy acknowledge the old wave. Or whatever.

Nice arrows. 30 year olds. £7.99! Cheapest so far! (unless you price Bill Bailey’s per disc).

And so to Number One. The Top DVD on Amazon today! Beating “Britain’s Top Comic”! Who can it be?

1: Kevin Bridges

Kevin Bridges

Kevin Bridges

It’s Kevin Bridges! “Kevin Bridges might just become the best stand-up comedian in the land” says The Times. That’s … ummm… treading carefully. Might just become!? “Kevin Bridges might just become the best replacement Letter I on the cover of his DVD in the land”. Me.

Perhaps comedians just like to have a laugh with the newspaper quotes. Or perhaps Kevin can’t bring himself to do the usual cheeky trick; the one where you go – “Kevin Bridges… the best stand-up comedian in the land”.

It’s A Whole Different Story… Live 2015 . There’s also one of those stickers that aren’t stickers (though at least this one isn’t fake peeling) stating that the DVD “also includes Kevin’s set from BBC1’s Live at The Referendum”. Like Live at The Apollo I guess, but I have no idea where The Referendum is. It might be in Scotland.

I feel distracted. Is there a big I behind Kevin, or is he a human I? And has he got his hands in his pockets to stop McIntyre prosthetic hand syndrome? £10.

Come back tomorrow and we’ll do some polling. Have your say. Which are the best covers, which the worst. Voting commences tomorrow.

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:

Comedy gala 2013

10- Channel 4’s Comedy Gala 2013

Peter Kay 2013

9- Peter Kay double pack

Kevin Bridges

8- Kevin Bridges: The Full Story boxset

Jimmy Carr

7- Jimmy Carr: Laughing and Joking

eddie izzard

6- Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure

Sean Lock

5- Sean Lock: Purple Van Man

Jack dee

4- Jack Dee: So What?

Bill Bailey

3- Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

Greg Davies

2- Greg Davies: The back of my Mum’s Head

Micky Flanagan

1- Micky Flanagan: The ‘Back in the Game’ Tour

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!

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…

Greg Davies

Greg Davies Live: The back of my Mum’s head

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:

“Hey guys…”

(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.

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…

Jack dee

Jack Dee: So What? Live

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…

“A cultural bully from the Oxbridge Mafia who wants to appear morally superior but couldn’t cut the mustard on a panel game.”  Lee Mack, Mack The Life, 2012

… 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…

Bill Bailey

Bill Bailey: Qualmpeddler

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.

mao poster

Mao Tse-Tung: China’s funniest mass murderer

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.