Comedy

More Saturday Night Live

The Saturday Night Live spoof of the VP debate is online. Tina Fey does not have to do much spoofing, Palin spoofs herself. I had to grin at the 'Due the historically low expectations....'

In the UK, 'The News Quiz' has a nice take on Sarah Palin. Every time she is mentioned on the show we get a burst of 'Halleluia!' from Handel's Messiah - It's Sandi Toksvig thanking the Gods of Comedy for such a rich source of new comedic material.

Toksvig now finds herself "terribly grateful to Sarah Palin. For comedy writers, she’s just heaven."

(Source)

Sarah Palin Interview

Sarah Palin is being spoofed very successfully on Saturday Night Live in the USA. The interview mentions Russia, and this was spoofed in the New Yorker recently.

Another sketch has Clinton (Hillary) and Palin jointly address the nation.

'I can see Russia from my house!'

On the basis of these sketches, it looks like SNL have a running gag whereby 'The Bush Doctrine' is an 'adult movie'. This phrase did stump the real Sarah Palin... at least until it was defined for her.

I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue

Last night we went to see the 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' tour at Reading. This was a 'not for radio' show - probably best thought of as the 'Tim Brooke-Taylor retirement fund' (Humph isn't likely to retire!) As might be expected it was very entertaining (though, heretically, Mornington Crescent doesn't do it for me).

I loved Jeremy Hardy singing ('Thank you for the Music'... and as Abba fades out, Jeremy continues....), he also did one song to the tune of another - singing 'I tawt I taw a puddy tat' to... ack, can't recall. It may have been 'Jerusalem'.

In the 're-written nursery rhyme' round, Graham Garden managed a nice reference to Bill Oddie... it's frustrating. With comedy, I know if I enjoyed it, and at the time I think 'I'll remember that' - but within a minute the next few gags have come along and it all becomes a blur.

The perfect audience member for 'Clue'.

My favourite game had to be when the audience used the kazoo to play a song, and the panel had to guess. Hundreds of people trying to play 'Feelings' or 'I like to go a-wandering The Lonely Goatherd' was just chaos. (memory is such a fallible thing!)

The highlight of the evening, as always with 'Clue' was Humphrey Lyttleton. The man is a legend, with a sense of timing that's superb. After a hilarious stint by the panel, Humph will pause, say 'mmm' in a resigned way... and move on. The best bit of the show was the finale - after the kazoo and swannie-whistle round, Humphrey's trumpet came out, and we were treated to 'We'll meet again'. Accompanied of course, by kazoo and swannie-whistle.

After the show, I really wanted to wait by the stage door - mainly to meet Humphrey, but also to see the Goodies (sorry, Jeremy, Barry and Colin). Unfortunately we had a little drive to get home, and needed to get home safely with tiredness creeping up - so it wasn't to be.

Update: Post from someone else who was there

One Man Star Wars

We've just returned from seeing One Man Star Wars Trilogy with Charles Ross (he also does the One Man Lord of the Rings, which he's currently not allowed to tour in the UK, presumably due to the musical). The warm up at the start of the show was a guy called Matthew Reed, he was amusing enough and raised a few chuckles. He wasn't laugh out loud funny though. His stint was about 20 minutes, and then a break of about 15 minutes (we'd only just settled in!)... and the main event.

We didn't know what to expect... Well, we did... we expected One Man Star Wars (the clue is in the title). What we didn't know was, frankly, if it'd be much cop. We were pleasantly surprised. He does each of the three films in the original trilogy (not the prequels) in 20 minutes each, with most of the major plot points present. There are even the opening lion's roar and the scrolling text (okay, you have to imagine the actual text).

I won't recount the details, as if you've seen the films, you know the plot. As we left I overheard one woman saying 'I didn't really know what was happening'. Unsurprising, you're not going to understand the parody without at least some familiarity with the thing being parodied!

His rendition is hilarious. C3P0 was very well done, and Luke was uniformly presented as whiny, which hit the nail on the head. Not every word uttered was directly from the film (Luke's last line of 'Jedi' was very amusing, as was Han's reaction to Leia's revelation at the end of 'Jedi').

Chewbacca's reaction at the medal ceremony at the end of 'A New Hope' was very funny, and echoed what I've thought each time I've seen that scene.

Yoda was very well observed, the physicality with Yoda's (imaginary) cane was spot on.

For me, the best parts were the appearance of some of the minor characters. The thug in the bar who abuses Luke ('He doesn't like you..... I don't like you either') was very well done. Admiral Ackbar was good too, and reminded me of Columbo.

The battle to blow up the Death Star, with the visual representation of the various ships was good - we could instantly distinguish an X-wing from a Y-wing from a Tie Fighter.

A good night out, but it's not one for those rare people who aren't familiar with the films. The show is touring in the UK until mid-July. For one night at each venue it will visit Kings Lynn, Canterbury, Bradford, Newcastle, Nottingham, Northampton, Cardiff, Leicester, Cheltenham, Lichfield, Salford, Reading, Poole, London (for 7 nights), Durham and Lincoln. It ends its tour in Lincoln on the 12th July.

Oh, one thing.... there are StormTroopers at the Theatre. If you want a photo, go early and bring a camera. I didn't have mine.

Other Reviews: Christina on Myspace, Daily Vodcast, The Loy and a Video Clip via Chris Drummer and a podcast interview from iscifi

Supermarket 2.0

Via Userfriendly I came across an excellent video on glumbert parodying 'Web 2.0' (for those not in the know, that's all the sites that have tagging, rss feeds etc) What if a supermarket went 2.0? I particularly liked the reference to 'Ajax', to 'Stumbleupon', and the ever-present tagging.

I loved the delicious punning, and the cookie.

I think my favourite part was the flickr reference with quakr.

The Producers

Last night we went to see The Producers (UK) (US tour) (The Stage info). This was an excellent show, and for sheer entertainment was one of the best things I've seen in a while.

The Leo Bloom character was Joe Pasquale, and Max Bialystock was Cory English (though to be honest I wouldn't have known if it were an understudy). Both were excellent. I was worried about Pasquale squeaking his way through the piece, but he can go deeper if he needs, so it worked well.

The pair worked well together, and had little nods to the audience when needed, for example, Bialystock through a large sheet of paper across the stage, which drifted and landed in the waste paper bin.... the audience cheered. He acknowledged it, looked amazed and asked 'shall we put the fourth wall back up?' before carrying on with the number - he pitched it exactly right.

The playwright was excellent, and his pigeons were choreographed very well.

The star turn had to be Russ Abbot, who was excellent. Honestly. Russ Abbot played the director of the play. His entrance was very well handled, spectacular one might say. He carried off his dress that looked like the Chrysler Building with applomb. He also has what is my favourite line in the piece, the one about 'the singing Hitlers over to the left, and the dancing Hitlers to the right, please'.

The major set-piece was the actual staging of 'Springtime for Hitler'. This they handled beautifully.

Goose-stepping chorus-girls? check. Smarmy looking guy dressed in black singing the lead? check. Big mirror over the stage for the dance routine? check.

I was wondering how they'd manage the 'signature' routine, would they have enough people? The answer was no, but it didn't matter - they got around it in such an elegant way (think of what the PoWs did to avoid the Germans picking up on an escape, i.e. having a dummy in place of a prisoner). Essentially each dancer stook in a contraption flanked by two dummies, they then controlled the legs of the two dummies allowing them to 'march' in formation. It worked, it really did.

The Producers is something that is worth seeing, we came out with big grins.

For those unfamiliar with 'The Producers', it should be mentioned that the show is about making a bad-taste show in order to try and produce a flop - so it's not about glorifying Hitler and his ilk. At one point the playwright complains 'you've made Hitler look stupid', to which the Russ Abbot character said 'he didn't need our help'.

We've seen Hot Fuzz!

Tonight we took ourselves off to see the new Simon Pegg/Edgar Wright film, Hot Fuzz. We've been eagerly awaiting this film since Shaun of the Dead, and got tickets at our first realistic opportunity.

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright have been most unsportsmanlike in their promotion of the film, giving interviews to every media outlet that'll take them. Heck, they were even on Five Live this afternoon! Whatever happened to the studio system and aloof stars, eh?

The film is a British police film (and there are precious few of those), set in the west country (and there are even fewer of those). Nick Angel (Pegg) has been transferred down from the Metropolitan police, and is teamed up with PC Danny Butterman (Nick Frost).

There are some great moments in the film, the music in the Daltonator's car (Tim Dalton's on set nickname), the slow buildup is great, and some of the action is simply ridiculously well done.

It felt like a real 'company' piece, with familiar faces from 'Spaced' appearing (Bill Bailey, Julia Deakin), cast from Shaun (Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman), as well as other people who just 'fit' (Steve Coogan, Jim Broadbent)

At one point, I'm sure that a character rejecting a DVD in a supermarket threw it back into a bargain bin on top of a copy of 'Shaun'.

We felt that 'Shaun' had some better set pieces (e.g. there is nothing that topped the scene in Shaun with the Queen song for us) - but Hot Fuzz was still thoroughly enjoyable. There were lots of nods (after explicit references though) to 'Bad Boys 2' and 'Point Break'.

I did really enjoy the ultimate fight between Pegg and Dalton. The phrase from the opening of Babylon 5 popped into my head: 'Giants in the playground'.

I wasn't hugely keen on the ending - the bit after Nick Frost made his dive when Edward Woodward's character showed up again didn't sit right with me, but on the whole, that was pretty minor.

The question that remains, what's next for the entity that is Pegg/Wright? Simon Pegg is to appear in the David Schwimmer film, 'Run, Fat Boy, Run', and will shortly start filming 'How to Lose Friends and Alienate People'. Edgar Wright has done a fake trailer segment for Grindhouse, and has also directed the Jack Black film, 'Them'. However, that's as individuals, what next for the gestalt that is Pegg/Wright?

The Play What I Wrote

Last night we went to see 'The Play What I Wrote' at Woking. Monica quite enjoyed it, but I left feeling somewhat disappointed. It simply didn't do justice to what was possibly the greatest British double act of the 20th century.

The show is about a comic double act, one of whom writes bad plays, and the other is the funnyman (sound familiar?)

The author wants to put on 'The Play What I Wrote', and the latter wants to do a Morecambe and Wise tribute act.

Via several machinations, some of which involved a third guy dressed as Darryl Hannah, they end up doing the Morecambe and Wise thing, followed by 'The Play' in Morecambe and Wise style.

The thing felt very patchy to me, there were some moments that produced a chuckle, but these were only when they were doing 'straight' Morecambe and Wise (wey-hay!) - one of the duo had Eric's tone of voice to a tee. Unfortunately, these moments seemed few and far between.

The guest star was Lisa Riley of Emmerdale fame, and her introduction was handled pretty well (Morecambe and Wise style, but not a direct lift). She was refered to as Lisa Stansfield, Conda-Lisa and so on.

They riffed on 'A you're adorable', they did the paper bag bit, and the sitting in the flat was referenced too.

I left wanting much more Morecambe and Wise, and much less 'fluff'. I'd have been happiest with 'Morecambe and Wise: The tribute'.

It has to be said that the majority of the audience seemed quite content. I think I was in the minority.

Personally, whilst it was perfectly watchable, I don't understand how it could be an Olivier award winner. By the time they sang 'Bring me Sunshine', I was very pleased, partially because I've a fondness for that song (Eric and Ernie didn't always use it, and I always feel a little cheated when it's not in the show when it's repeated on TV), but mostly I was pleased as it meant things were finishing!