Charlie Brooker versus 2015 The creator of Black Mirror and some friends look back at 2015. (SLY)
In its all-too-brief 3½ year run, Comedy Central's sketch comedy powerhouse Key & Peele burned brightly, leavening Peabody-award-winning social commentary with sublime silliness and Hollywood-quality production values, all centered on the impeccable character acting of co-stars Jordan (Peele) and Keegan-Michael (Key). By the time its end was announced, characters like the Substitute Teacher, the East/West College Bowl players, and Obama's Anger Translator had captured the popular consciousness, while skits like TeachingCenter and Negrotown deftly spotlighted our most pressing problems. With the finale airing tonight, and the dynamic duo free to tackle other projects, why not revisit the program's concentrated brilliance in the form of ~100 of their very best short bits available on the web, sorted loosely by topic. [more inside]
If you're tired of the endlessly minor variations of TV's Police Procedural shows (seriously, "CSI: Cyber"?!?), check out "The Encyclopedia of Hypothetical Police Procedurals" for great non-existent shows including... [more inside]
What do you need to be an international CONTROL super spy fighting the forces of KAOS? A Shoe-Phone. A Cone of Silence. A Bulletproof Invisible Wall and a Laser Blazer. Then, and only then, can you Get Smart. [more inside]
Accidental Death of An Anarchist is a 1983 television version of Belt & Braces Theatre Company's adaptation of Dario Fo's Morte accidentale di un anarchico, a satirical farce based on the real death in police custody of an Italian railway worker and and anarchist; featuring an entirely fictional Maniac invading a police station to expose police corruption and brutality. It contains more than traces of slapstick, Thatcher-era left-wing agitprop, terrible jokes, swearing, vigorous fourth-wall obliteration, great jokes, a fully-functional mock-up of a bomb (that is to say, a bomb), a musical number, a coffee break and a multiple-choice ending. Among other things. If you speak Italian, here is a presentation of an elderly Fo himself as the Maniac, for comparative purposes. If you don't speak Italian, you can still make the comparison, though somewhat less precisely. [more inside]
There was no wink and they never sold it out for these half-hour, densely, beautifully produced pieces, which is, for all possibilities, obscuring that this doesn’t at all sound like a comedy show. It is all the production elements you would use in a full-scale news production. All the gravitas, but just inflated to a point that it has no gravitas whatsoever. And I think that is where it became this excitingly subversive thing because it just showed that BBC Radio 4 and everything it stood for was just a big bag of shit.John Oliver on why he's a fan of On the Hour. On the Hour, of course, is the legendary BBC news radio program created by, among other people, Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, In The Loop, Veep), Christopher Morris (Jam, Brass Eye, Four Lions, Why Bother?), Stewart Lee (41st best stand-up comic ever), and Steve Coogan (Knowing Me Knowing You With Alan Partridge, I'm Alan Partridge). Short-lived but influential, On the Hour mimicked the tone and production of other radio news shows but replaced the content with what Oliver describes as "unremitting bullshit". On the Hour was aired in two six-episode series (S1E1 S1E2 S1E3 S1E4 S1E5 S1E6; S2E1 S2E2 S2E3 S2E4 S2E5 S2E6), and begat a television series called The Day Today. That show in turn added Graham Linehan (Black Books, Father Ted, The IT Crowd) to On the Hour's already all-star lineup, upped the already-insane levels of overproduction, and ran for six short-but-glorious episodes (one two three four five (WAR!) six), as well as a special 9/11 radio report. [more inside]
Liar Town Usa: An alternate USA where our products, signage, headlines, and fads are all slightly more surreal, sinister, and threatening.
(minor Spoilers should be assumed for most of the post) Fringe, which many have called a cult show, has a pension for playfully populating its episodes with pop culture references and has continued to do so into its fifth and final season. [more inside]
Mefi's own Mightygodking takes the April Fool's joke from Comics Alliance ( previously ) to the logical next step with The League Of Extraordinary Gentlepersons: 1996.
""If technology is a drug--and it does feel like a drug--then what, precisely, are the side-effects?" "Charlie Brooker (previously), the writer of E4's Dead Set, returns with a suspenseful, satirical three-part mini-series that taps into collective unease about our modern world" - Black Mirror [more inside]
The Daily Show's Decade in Review. [Single-link Comedy Central video presentation.]
In 1982, the comedy team of Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker introduced Police Squad! to network TV viewers. It lasted six episodes before being cancelled. What, you missed it? You weren't even born? Here are episodes two, three, and four. [more inside]
TV Offal's songs and the US radio jingles which inspired them. "It's nice in Detroit." "It's nice being Esther." TV critic Victor Lewis-Smith's late night comedy show was short lived but well remembered by those of us who saw it on Channel 4in the UK (cf, Google Video and YouTube).
Mock the Vote: Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert interviewed.
"We don't vote for them, we don't even know their names and we're not quite sure what they do. But they wield enormous influence. They are the power behind the power. They are The Hollowmen." You can watch the Australian Broadcasting Company's new political satire The Hollowmen [warning: sound] on the web. Or you can find it via Bittorrent. (Or if you live down under I suppose you could watch it on ABC 1 Wednesdays at 9pm or ABC 2 Thursdays at 8:30pm.) It's worth a look because it may be the funniest new satire on any English-language network. [more inside]
The Chasers reveal the irrelevant of many surveillance cameras and the ignorance of many Americans by declaring War on Everything.
The greatest TV show you will probably never see: Aunty Jack, a ten-foot tall, boxing-glove wearing, motor-cycling, moustached cross-dresser, was the star of The Aunty Jack Show, which ran for thirteen episodes in 1972-73 on the Australian Broadcasting Commission TV network (and was the first show broadcast on Australian TV in colour). Many of the original episodes have been lost (but records of them exist). Re-release on video or DVD of the remaining episodes is tangled up in copyright issues. The 1974 album Aunty Jack Sings Wollongong was re-released on CD, and still seems to be available. It includes such classics as 'Fish Milkshakes' and 'Teenage Butcher' and the song 'Farewell Aunty Jack', which was a number 1 hit in Australia. Some samples can be found here. There were spinoffs from Aunty Jack, most notably the Norman Gunston Show, with Norman playing the prototypical terrrible interviewer and inspiring the much later Ali G, Dennis Pennis and many others. I was two years old when the series aired: Aunty Jack's threat at the end of each episode, that: 'If you don't watch next week, I'll rip your bloody arm off!' meant that I never, ever, missed it.
Bert is Evil is gone.
"I have taken down the "Bert is Evil!"site from my server. I would like to thank Sesame Workshop for their patience and restraint all these years. I implore all fans and mirror site hosts of "Bert is Evil" to stop the spread of this site too. -- dino"
Contrary to what you may have heard, the new Brass Eye is indeed about paedophiles. And it's got Phil Collins wearing a "Nonce Sense" t-shirt.
Last night's Brass Eye special was mysteriously pulled from the schedules, seemingly because it concerned "an army of paedophiles". Apparantly, this is not the case
Great news! Channel 4 to re-screen Brass Eye - with restored footage.
Did anyone watch the Simpsons Sunday night? Did you notice how bad it sucked? Maybe it was on purpose, as a response to the feud going on between the show's writers and the alt.tv.simpsons newsgroup.