I remember a fantastic TV series aired in the mid-early 90’s called “Sunnyside Farm”. It introduced us to the acting and comedy musings of Phil Daniels, that bloke from off of The Full Monty (also, King Robert out of Game Of Thrones) and the bald, chubby, gay chap who was at his funniest playing George Dawes. They played vulgar exaggerations of characters, very much in the style of ‘Bottom’ or ‘The Young Ones’. The particulary nasty farm owner was a favourite of mine, over the top nasty excellently played by some fellow I can’t really recall. That was in the 90’s and we are now in the 10’s (2000 and…) and what do we have in terms of character, situation comedy? Mrs. Brown’s Boys. That’s all I can think of. Most of the humour around this is the fact that it is a bloke in drag. Hilarious.
I don’t want to turn this into a ‘hasn’t comedy gone to pot‘ rant, but suspect it will. Maybe my nostalgia glands are kicking in here but I’m sure comedy was better thought out, better written and far more intelligent than now. Maybe that is because they are riding off the back of the Mayall et al/Ianucci/Morris’ of the last 30 years. This, surely is not an excuse for lack of imagination or creativity? We appear to be influenced by the American style of peurile and irony-less comedy. Fart gags are funny but have to be done right. Bottom was bang on in it’s vulgarity and timing. Mrs. Brown’s Boys, however, does a fart gag for ther sake of a fart gag. A 50 year old bloke with lipstick and lace on saying ‘fuck’ appears to be the funniest thing we can come up with. From the golden age of satirical comedy, social commentary and character comedy (including and not exhaustive – Fawlty Towers, Alan Partridge, The Day Today, Fist Of Fun, anything by Vic & Bob) we have, in the last 10 years created nothing of note. This is, of course, my opinion.
To end this fairly short ‘blog for the sake of a blog’, blog I would like to add that Mongrels on BBC3 was good which has recently been axed. I expect the BBC will continue to fund populist shite in order to follow trends and viewers. It’d be nice for it to go back to taking chances on comedy (Fawlty Towers, Monty Python) wouldn’t it?