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 2

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

Harry Hill

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

Frank Skinner

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.

Frank Scanner

Frank Scanner

7: Roy Chubby Brown

Roy Chubby Brown

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

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

Al Murray

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

Still Game

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

Jack Whitehall

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.

15.

2: Russell Howard

Russell Howard

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

Lee Mack

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Kill Keith Vol. 2

September 21, 2011

Damn my ignorance! @ShowbizSimon on Twitter makes some comment about killing Keith Chegwin as a movie, I think ‘that’s a great idea’ and, in an Ernie Wise fit of fifteen minute screenwriting, I bash out my take for a film called Kill Keith.

Damn it all! Then, I go and find out it exists! Who knew? Well, many of you I guess. I didn’t know. Or I’d forgotten (Trev thinks I’d forgotten and he knows my mind better than me).  So, I write it this morning (like I say, 15 minutes… let’s not get too precious over this) and send it over to Trev. He gets in touch to tell me it’s real. There is a film. It is called Kill Keith.

Damn it to high heaven! And we didn’t even get a part in the damned saga!

So, for entertainment purposes only, here’s ‘the film what I wrote’. Let’s call it Kill Bill Vol.2

All of the ‘real’ people referred to are made-up, including myself. Though the beginning knocking on the door stuff is true.

KILL KEITH Vol 2

Everyone loves Keith Chegwin. He’s had his ups and downs – whether battling alcoholism or accusations of joke theft on Twitter – but as long as he does something cheeky soon afterwards – whether getting nuddy for a low-rent quiz show, opening a supermarket in Stoke, or laughing on a morning chat show – he always comes up smelling of roses.

Everyone loves Keith Chegwin. Apart from Simon Hickson.

The early 90’s. Simon is asleep in bed. Well, a kind of a bed. Simon, despite being a regular on Saturday morning’s kid’s TV, lives a squalid live. Like Keith a few years before, he’s battling his demons. Even in his sleep.

As he dreams, he hears the squeaky voice of Cheggers. Just a dream. A nightmare. And then his door bell rings and Simon is awake! Keith is at his door. All part of those jolly early morning wake up calls he does for the live Channel 4 show, The Big Breakfast.

This is horrible! Surely this kind of thing only happens to proper celebrities, like Linda Lusardi. What can Simon do? He calls his agent but it’s 7.30am and she doesn’t get in until noon. He calls Trev. Trev’s wife answers and refuses to believe Simon’s story; she knows he’s delusional, mad, not good in the mornings. She hangs up on him, refusing to disturb the slumbering Trev who deserves a lie in after a late night watching Bid TV.

“He he! I’m here outside Simon out of Trev and Simon’s house! He’s not answering. Yet! He he!”

Simon’s in a panic. What to do? Then he knows. He’ll scare Keith and also get Trev and Simon some well-deserved notoriety. It’ll do them good to cause a bit of an uproar.

Simon answers the door to Keith. Naked. Waving a replica firearm.

*****************************************************************************************

It didn’t work out.

It stopped Trev and Simon’s career in its tracks. Keith had a breakdown, went into a home, and emerged a few months later, loved by the public more than ever.

******************************************************************************************

Years later. Simon can’t let it go. He’s met Keith since, at showbiz do’s here and there, and Keith has apologised. He was only doing his job. So were the Nazis Simon points out.

Simon decides his only option is to kill Keith. Trev, aware that he slept through the whole thing after a long night of Peter Simon watching, feels just a tiny bit guilty. He reluctantly agrees to help out. And then Trev and Simon approach the comedians whose jokes have been stolen by Keith on Twitter… discreetly… direct messaging.

A cabal is formed. An elite team of comedy assassins dedicated to ridding the world of Keith Chegwin; Trev, Simon, Ed Byrne, Lee Mack, Milton Jones, and Jimmy Carr.

They meet and form a plan.

They put their assassination plot into action.

***********************************************************************************************

Keith Chegwin is tied up in a basement. Jimmy Carr’s basement, full of suits. It’s his suit cellar. The team argue over who’s going to kill Keith. And how.

But Keith is wily. And cuddly. He he! And the asinine assassins find it impossible to carry out the vile task.

This wasn’t the way it was meant to be.

They hated Keith, but, after holding him captive they’ve all developed Stockholm Syndrome in reverse. They love him now, and he has grown to love them.

***********************************************************************************************

Keith understands, he empathises. Irritating celebrities should be dead. His team are just targeting the wrong people. Keith has been wronged too along the way and he has a revenge hit list. Between them they draw up a list of ‘celebrities’ who really do deserve to get it! He he!

Kill Keith has become Keith Kills. Headed up by their new honcho our team of crappy killers see off deserving celebrities one by one.

No one knows who is behind the mystery murders of some of the most despised and undeserving ‘celebrities’ on TV… from the original Nasty Nick through to poor old John Stape from ‘Corrie’ – heck, he’s only an actor, does he really deserve to die? The public can’t tell fact from fiction and are happy to scream ‘Yes!’

Murder after murder… from game show hosts to reality ruffians to bad actors… the team are inventive with their killing ways, making the death suit their TV crime.

Eventually they make a mistake and the mystery murder team are exposed. Like Taxi Driver or The King of Comedy though, they go unpunished. They are just too loved now by a public happy to see the demise of those least loved. Those who now go by the names of ‘Killebrities’.

All films should have happy endings, and Kill keith is no exception. The team get their own prime time TV show; Killed by Keith – a gameshow where ‘game’ celebs go through a pretend execution if they fail to win viewers votes.

But why’s it called Killed by Keith? Lee Mack’s not too happy. Resentment starts to brew in Milton’s hair. Byrne by name burn by nature. Carr wants to push Keith off a cliff. Trev and Simon suggest a new plan… to be continued… ?

And here’s the real thing…

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

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.