Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"If you thought this was a relationship, you were nowhere near doing your bit."

Taking a break from the novel to recommend something to everyone.

I grew up on a lot of British Comedy, the likes of Monty Python, Blackadder, Fry and Laurie. I used to have entire scenes from Red Dwarf memorized and would reel them off, much to the annoyance of everyone around me. Lately, of course, I’ve been watching nothing much but Japanese comedy, with the Daily Show and Colbert Report thrown in when I get homesick. But I’ve recently learned about another British duo, and felt vaguely betrayed as though everyone has been hiding a magical land from me.

David Mitchell and Robert Webb met at Cambridge and have written various sketch TV shows, radio shows, and a book together. I am in awe of anyone who can be so clever and funny in so many different genres and mediums and styles and costumes and wigs and accents.


From commercials,
To craft shows.


From a patron being criticized by a librarian,
To a vegetarian being criticized by his dinner guest.


From parodying classic movies
To parodying modern television.


From a criminal mastermind having difficulties with his underlings,
To a butler having difficulty with his master,

To theatre troupe having difficulty with their sponsors.


From mocking historical figures
To mocking modern trends
To mocking future generations.


From the socially inept
To the socially inept.


From being almost unrecognizable,
To being almost indistinguishable from their real selves.


From a cartoon that made me literally laugh out loud,
To a sketch that could win for “Most Heartbreaking in Comedy Ever.”



Wrap all that up in a lovely bundle – rather, two lovely bundles - and you can see how I came my current starry-eyed crush.

They’ve also done the UK version of the “Mac vs PC” ads, which seem doomed to be lost in translation when they insist on casting adorably awkward PCs that everyone feels sympathetic for (the same issue arose in the Japanese version.)

They’re perhaps best known for starring in (though not writing) the sitcom Peep Show, as odd-couple roommates who are nominally best friends though you wouldn’t know it considering they spend so much time despising and stabbing each other in the back.

I hesitate to recommend Peep Show, however, as it’s very much the sort of Cringe Comedy so popular these days (which I can’t stand, my life is non-stop humiliation as it is, why would I voluntarily seek out more?) and as such is frequently disgusting and constantly embarrassing, with an occasional quite funny bit:  

“Men with ven” and Mark’s pocket-checking dance = priceless.
“What did Shakespeare say?” “He said a lot of things, Jeremy.”


David Mitchell also does quite a bit of solo work on the game shows that seem to be popular in England, where he gets teased a lot for being posh and goes off on a rant whenever there’s some thing he feels strongly about. There are so many of such things that they finally gave a him a show of his own so that he can rant to his – and his fans’ – heart’s content.

1 comment:

Raney said...

Thanks. I needed a laugh and the do-do sketch hit the spot.