Saturday, December 06, 2008

A Comedy Lesson

We tried it. Beehive.

"A quartet of bin-loving Russell Brands"? Check.

"A dating duck"? Check.

"A Sex And The City spoof that's truly worth the wait"? Check.

The quotes are from last week's Guardian Guide. Those sketches were in the first ten minutes. Ten minutes of shit.

I like women that make me laugh. I'm married to one. I wouldn't want to live with a woman who didn't make me laugh.

But why oh why have there been so few funny women on the telly in recent years?

There was Caroline Aherne, usually.

There was Victoria Wood, sometimes.

There was Susie Essman (Susie Greene in Curb Your Enthusiasm).

There was Jane Turner (Kath Day-Knight in Kath & Kim).

There was Ruth Jones in Gavin & Stacey.

There were Sharon Horgan, Tanya Franks and Rebekah Staton in Pulling.

There's still Maggie Jones (Blanche Hunt in Corrie).

There was...erm...


Nope, that's it. There has been a dearth of funny women on the telly.

They've come on their own, in duos or in gaggles like these Beehive bitches. And they've all have one thing in common. They're *zany*, *wacky* and extremely unfunny.

I don't think it's a class thing. They're not necessarily middle class. They haven't necessarily been to university. But they do all think they're funny when they're not. It's so depressing.

I'm not just down on unfunny women this week, though. Last night we watched the latest Screenwipe. Charlie Brooker was sucking up to some writers including comedy writers Graham Linehan and the two blokes who write Peep Show.

Whatever Linehan might have had he's clearly lost as anyone can see by watching ten minutes of The (bloody awful) IT Crowd. But there he was proud of his latest work and blatantly admitting he spends lots of time surfing the internet for source material. Of course we all know the internet is a treasure trove of hilarity. Let's just hope he doesn't go as far as plagiarism, shall we?

The two Peep Show blokes were dull as ditchwater. Meanwhile Brooker is nodding away, receiving good vibes from the writers, hoping he can use these writing tips in his next second rate fictional series.

As I've heard time and time again, it was reiterated by all the writers on view that writing is about rewriting. Apparently you start off with something rambling and shit and you hone it down, fiddle with it, dress it up 'til it becomes a small, glistening turd.

Or something like that.


  1. I thought Charlie Brooker was an actress out of Eastenders until a few months ago. I think I got him mussled up with Janine or Stace(y). Anyway - I am beginning to wonder whether he is a better self publicist than writer these days.

    PS: I think Julia Davis was bloody funny in the first series of Nighty Night.

  2. Sorry - I meant muddled up - typing too fast

  3. Might I suggest just supplying Betty with a load of props and costume changes and standing her in front of telly in the evening?

  4. Mrs Overall. Edina Monsoon.
    Marti Caine??

  5. Even Smack the Pony was better than Charlie Brooker!

    You've never forgiven Linda Smith for suggesting you have a suicide pact with Dagengham have you Geoff.

    PS Thanks for removing "Cow in the North" from your sidebar - Drew's bloodpressure has retunned back down to 220/90.

  6. Sorry about the typos, but remember Muphry's Law

  7. Romo - I used to like Geoffrey Phillips, the old Evening Standard tv writer. But he retired to France and I stopped getting the Standard. Brooker's a bit of a one trick pony when writing about stuff he doesn't like. And the stuff he likes I'm often not impressed with anyway so I don't feel like I'm on the same wavelength as him. That Dead Set thing was pretty poor.

    MJ - Betty and me have a few sketches in our heads which won't see the light of day because we're too shy and because they involve other bloggers taking parts. Would you like to see Vicus dance?

    Scarlet - Julie Walters and Jennifer Saunders are annoying. Marti Caine was the original Jane McDonald.

    Murph - Smack The Pony, Linda Smith, Judith O'Reilly...All about as funny as each other. I'm glad Drew's feeling more calm. My joke ran a bit thin after the first ten minutes.

  8. Sarah Palin? She's quite funny I hear...

  9. Perhaps they were all just having an 'off' day!

    The good news is that (unless they've taken too many drugs) comedians and writers often enjoy a renaissance later on.

    Re Peepshow I really miss the keyhole camera technique of the early series. I know it was a bugger to film, but it really helped it stand head and shoulder above other sitcoms.

  10. Dead Set was prob poor because they still didn't have scripts 2 weeks before the shoot! Shit! No excuse! The words 'up' and 'own arse' come to mind..

    Can you imagine if Wife From the North had a stand up show? Oy vey.

  11. I don't really expect to laugh at TV any more.
    Next part of comment deleted by author because she daren't admit what actually made her laugh on ITV4 last week.

  12. Scarlet - She was great in the dead parrot sketch at The Secret Library Book Banner's Ball.

    Laura - Paul Whitehouse made a decent comeback after a few years taking himself too seriously. I couldn't get into Peep Show but the writers were involved in The Thick Of It so maybe they'll get me laughing again.

    Romo - Maybe he was rewriting right up to the last minute, honing it, making sure there was no fat on it, the culmination of two years hard work. As for Wifey, The Aga Monologues comes to mind.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Kaz - ITV4? Was it Martin Shaw's hair in The Professionals?

  15. There never was a Sarah Palin. It was Tina Fey all along. Sandra Oh is a hoot too.

  16. Maybe we need more American humour on UK tv.

  17. I quite like Margaret Cho.

  18. I think Olivia Coleman is pretty good in whatever she does. Although I suppose that isn't really stand-up.

    Ruth Kelly? Oh wait, that's hysterical laughter...