Here are a few of my favorite comedies. Red Dwraf, The BlackAdder, and The Young Ones. As you can see I was stationed in England far too long,
as most of my comedy tastes lean towards the English.
"It's cold outside, there's no kind of atmosphere. I'm all alone, more or less ". So begins the
closing credits song for what is easily one of the most original and funny of English comedies,
Red Dwarf. A huge hit in England, it is finally catching on in the states, and I'm finding more and
more people who know what I'm talking about when I say:
"Boys from the Dwarf".
With excellent over the top stories, writing, and characters like:
Lister, (put in stasis for 18
months after a picture was processed at the ships photo lab showing him in possession of an illegal
animal (cat) on board. He stays in stasis for over 3 million years due to a radiation leak.)
Rimmer, ( A hologram projection of one of the dead crew members and Lister's X supervisor)
Cat, (A life form that evolved over three million years from Lister's illegal cat)
mechanoid, who crash landed with three females, he was picked up by red dwarf and lives to
Holly (The ships computer, with an IQ of 6000. the same as 6000 PE teachers).
The shows outrageous plots and excellent acting make this an incredibly funny half hour. Check
it out !!!
"Watch Red Dwarf, or Uncle Arnie will
fry you alive with his hex vision".
The BlackAdder, an alternative English history. When it comes to historical satire nothing beats
the writing of Ben Elton and John Curtis for the BlackAdder comedy series. Throughout the
series they lampoon English society, morality, and politics in four distinct periods of English
history. Absolutely the funniest thing Rowen Atkinson has starred in. He really brings Edmund
(The Black Vegetable/Adder) alive.
In the first series Edmund is Duke of Edinburgh and not much else. He gathers together the finest
minds as his companions at court. However the finest minds won't have anything to do with him
so he settles for Baldrick (a dogs body) and Lord Percy. Slimy Edmund makes it through many a
misfortune until finally he becomes King of England, well for a very short period anyway. "Chiswick.. Fresh horses !" Edmunds father King Richard
In the second series Edmund is the Lord BlackAdder, one of the Queens favorites at court. A
clever and cunning adversary, Edmund weasels his way through many a courtier and adventure
to try to win the Queen's heart and money, and to save his bottom from a hot poker. His friend
and adventurer Lord Flashheart (Flash by name, flash by nature) drops in to do a tonsillectomy on
his would be bride "BOB". Edmund also sails with captain Redbeard Rum. But mostly
he comes up with subtle plans that are so cunning you could brush your teeth with them.
Lord Percy:" Trapped on a boat with a captain who's legless."
Captain Redbeard Rum:" I haven't touched a drop."
Lord: Percy:" No, I meant that you haven't got any legs."
In the third series Edmund is butler to the regent, Prince George. The Prince, a rather thick
headed simpleton, ("Well I may be as thick as a whale omelet") gives Edmund fits
trying to maintain his stature and cash box. Along with Baldrick (still a dog's body) they make
attempts at marrying off the prince, (for money gained as a dowry) educating him,(with theater
for profit)and saving him from being struck from the civil lists (thus depriving them of all
money). Needless to say, money is the root of all BlackAdders.
Prince George:"Why the people love me. Just today I was riding in my carriage and they
shouted, we hail Prince George!, we hail Prince George!"
Edmund:"We hate Prince George, We hate Prince George!"
In the fourth series Edmund is Captain BlackAdder of the Royal Infantry. He, with his fellow
officer Lieutenant George and Private Baldirck examine many ways of escaping the trenches before the "big push" ( A combat maneuver whose main point involves thousands of English soldiers climbing out of their trenches and moving slowly towards the German lines, whilst at the same time being turned from live infantry to dead infantry. All for the sake of the generals who's only goal is to move 3 to 4 yards more towards Berlin) . Edmund tries many subtle plans such as portraying Private Parkhurst ("Bob" from season two) as a female, female impersonator in a soldiers variety show and jamming two pencils up his nose and saying "uuwubble". All to no avail. Even at the last moment, before the off, when private Baldrick has a cunning plan and Captain BlackAdder asks him " Is it as cunning as a fox who has just been appointed professor of cunning at Cambridge university?" They unfortunately run out of time and it's over the top. A fine and well crafted comedy series, this unfortunately is the last set of BlackAdder episodes made for the BBC. But as Ben Elton was supposed to have said "Even the new testament only has four gospels". So sit down, ready for a good laugh, and watch The BlackAdder.
Put together four diametrically opposed students in one house. Add total chaos, plus a sampling
of ultra violence, a totally insane plot, and what have you got ? The Young Ones. The launch
pad comedy for both Rik Mayall (Rik)and Ade Edmondson(Vyvyan). With writing from Ben
Elton and Rik Mayall this short series had a huge young adult following in England.
Vyvyan: A homicidal maniac and biology student. His favorite hobby is a game called murder in the dark. This includes an ax, the lack of illumination and quite a bit of mayhem.
Rik: The peoples poet (or so he claims). A sociology student who preaches revolution, but has no idea what that may mean. Favorite hobby is himself and his poetry written for "The Kids" and designed to fight "The Pigs" and "The Establishment".
Neil: A Hippy. His hobby is the support of vegetable rights and peace. He spends the majority of his time either planning his own suicide or cooking and cleaning for the rest of the house. His specialty is lentils a wonderfully bland vegetable treat (usually served off the floor or wall).
Mike: A chick magnet with very strange tastes. Hobby of course the pursuit of women. Mr. cool of the house he often tries to solve the boys problems through the seduction of women ( never successful that we see) or the gain of large profit through the use of Rik's room as a roller disco.
Known for its total lack of subtlety, it is a forty minute comedy "slam fest" designed to test the limits of
your imagination. Most of the episode plots can be summed up best by Vyvyan himself. He explains it while preparing to penetrate a stray atomic bomb that falls into their flat, "This calls for a drill, the hedge trimmers and some ordinary household bleach" a strange mix for a strange show. But if you're into visual and verbal slap stick comedy, English style, then the Young Ones is definitely for you!!
If this is your idea of a good time !
Watch the Young Ones. You'll love it !
Here are some links to Young One pages that you may like: