British Comedy Guide

British comedy is no longer funny Page 26

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Steve Sunshine

  • Sunday 2nd April 2017, 2:49am
  • Dagenham, England
  • 14421 posts

I've nothing to add as I've only read page 1 & page 25
Apart from, have things got any better since then?

I usually watch the US comedy shows these days, rather than the UK ones

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Monkeys Grimace

  • Monday 3rd April 2017, 1:03am [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 4 posts

Left-wing comedians making jokes about Trump/ Brexit/ Tories in front of right-on London audiences, it's extremely stale, we need an alternative to alternative comedy.

I won't hold my breath though, we don't seem to have these movements anymore, when I was growing up there was a new musical movement every few years; punk, New Wave, Ska, Mod Revival, doesn't happen with music anymore so I doubt it will with comedy either.

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Davida

  • Monday 3rd April 2017, 1:12am
  • Oregon USA, United States
  • 319 posts

Ah yes, everything was better in the good ol' days. *slight sarcasm due to the fact that everyone seems to think things were better when they were younger when really there's always been about the same gold:garbage ratio across time*

In my eyes there is more good comedy being made now than ever before. There's a lot of garbage too that comes along with it. But you really don't have to look that hard to find good new comedy. Call me naive if you wish. I'll remain vaguely optimistic regardless.

And that's not to say most of the comedy I like is new. Most of it is at least somewhat old. But the past is a lot more expansive than the present, so why shouldn't that be the case?

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Monkeys Grimace

  • Monday 3rd April 2017, 1:20am
  • United Kingdom
  • 4 posts

"Alternative" comedy has been the mainstream for so long though, for about 25-30 years, time we had something new.

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Davida

  • Monday 3rd April 2017, 3:46am
  • Oregon USA, United States
  • 319 posts

Then don't look to the mainstream. Surely there are plenty of other streams.

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chipolata

  • Friday 19th May 2017, 10:48am
  • England
  • 29292 posts

Is there much British comedy now? It seems that there's proportionately less now than ever before.

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Will Cam

  • Friday 19th May 2017, 1:41pm
  • England
  • 7418 posts

There's the Labour Party.

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Michael Monkhouse

  • Friday 19th May 2017, 1:43pm
  • Eternal City, Italy
  • 2943 posts

Sheets, covers and quilts are no longer funny. Sorry, that's a blanket statement.

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WarmWasp

  • Saturday 20th May 2017, 11:49pm [Edited]
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 24 posts

I would agree that British comedy has declined in quality; if, like the good ol' days, your exposure is BBC1/2/ITV & C4. There's far more great stuff out there if you broaden the search.

The internet is awash with quality, not to mention a far greater availability and ability to get stuff commissioned or independently produced.

With the abundence, I'd concede there's more crap content but at the same time there are gems. When there's that ease in production, there's understandably an ability to take more chances in throwing hot tods at the wall to see what sticks

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beaky

  • Sunday 21st May 2017, 8:23pm [Edited]
  • Malaga, Spain
  • 1824 posts

Watch Fleabag

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Damn His Duckpond

  • Friday 26th May 2017, 6:41pm
  • England
  • 109 posts

I (partially) blame Twitter. Yes... the comedians on Twitter tweet some poor gag [Richard Osman is a good example for this] and get hundreds of retweets. This is their validation. They end up all over television and before you know it we're up to our ears in Jack Whitehall.

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Flossy

  • Friday 26th May 2017, 7:32pm [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 6 posts

I'm new here but I joined precisely for the topic title, I was hoping to find a reason for why British Comedy, or rather British sitcoms, are no longer funny and having read this thread I'm none the wiser. It depresses me beyond belief, as a writer and as a viewer I feel beholden to Netflix for the occasional chuckle from American shows.

What used to be the norm in British Comedy i.e. diversity, class, profession, gender, is now shunned like a plague victim wearing a freakin' belt round their neck whilst hollering unclean.

Now it's about the cost cutting reality shows in which some bellend thinks they deserve to be autotuned on YouTube for coming up with a crusty catch-phrase, expecting it to be admired as though they'd just written the definitive answer to a question for philosophy/ quantum physics/ Mandarin language exam at Oxford University.

Comedy can be transformative, self-reflective, and informative, Jesus at 16 I could name six Cabinet Members from Thatcher's government thanks to Spitting Image, a street poll televised during the last general election couldn't get a 26 year old to name one!
Feels like cultural suicide, at this rate we won't have to worry about a war because peopel are becoming increasingly dead from the neck up, and Spitting Image doesn't have to be your thing, but too little is being done to save comedy, which makes me sad and yes...even tearful.

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Davida

  • Saturday 27th May 2017, 4:26am
  • Oregon USA, United States
  • 319 posts

What sorts of comedy do you most enjoy (you mentioned sitcoms, but that's quite broad). Maybe we can give you some ideas of shows to try out that perhaps you aren't yet aware of. And what would you say was the cutoff point time-wise as far as when things really went downhill. Are there things from the 90s and early 00s that you have found enjoyable? Are you just talking about the past couple of years?

There is so much out there. Here are some very recent shows that's I've found to be quite good (not all strictly sitcoms though):

Catastrophe
Man Down
Camping
Flowers
Not Going Out
The Trip
Car Share
Toast of London
Inside No 9

And here are a bunch of sitcoms that arguably don't suck that have come out since 2000...

2000 or later:
Catterick
Gavin & Stacey
Black Books
Human Remains
Nighty Night
Psychoville
Hunderby
Peep Show
Outnumbered
Coupling
Spaced
I'm Alan Partridge
The League of Gentlemen
The Office
Early Doors
Garth Marenghi's Darkplace
Green Wing
Still Game
The Smoking Room
The Vicar of Dibley
Ideal
Benidorm
Nathan Barley
The Thick of It
Lead Balloon
Pulling
Royle Family
Saxondale
The Inbetweeners
Getting On
...I'm going to stop listing because I've lost the ability to focus. Too busy watching Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle. That's good, and new. Not a sitcom, but top notch!

Though I don't disagree entirely that there aren't a lot of great new sitcoms, and that diversity is definitely an issue. It seems clear that the BBC and other networks are trying to get more diverse panels on panel shows, though I have noticed that they seem to like to have a token non-white person, a token female, a token foreigner, and/or a token non heterosexual person or something like that, and the more boxes a single person can tick out of those token things, the more likely they are to be featured. Like, in a panel of 4 people, if there's a bisexual foreign black woman as one panelist, then they can comfortably have the rest of the panel be white men. That's an exaggeration, but maybe you get the idea I'm driving at.

However, I don't think sitcom is the best vehicle for new comedy these days. There is a lot of great stuff being done on the radio, in podcasts, in new or unique formats such as anthology series (plug for Inside No 9, watch it! You won't regret it...or you will, in which case, I don't like you), whatever Taskmaster qualifies as, genre-bending shows that mix comedy with some other strong flavour, like horror, or drama, or whatever, and also shows that are somewhere in the middleground between being a sketch show and a sitcom, or otherwise play with tv formats and genres in new and novel or interesting ways. Then there's live comedy, which is a world unto itself, and very much not dead (though the climate is a bit strange right now, with the fact that to be a comedian it seems like you have to be pretty well off financially etc.). There are also books, newspaper articles, web series etc. Comedy is not dead, nor is it stagnating, you just might not find what you're looking for at primetime on BBC 1.

It saddens me that the state of comedy saddens you. Maybe we can find some new funny British comedy to cheer you up, eh?

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Flossy

  • Saturday 27th May 2017, 11:30am [Edited]
  • United Kingdom
  • 6 posts

Thanks I appreciate you taking the time to respond but I've seen all of them, not all all are funny and many are no longer airing, and finished years ago I'm referring to the current state of British sitcoms, but if you're recommending shows from past ten years I'd suggest you add the following to your list, some of which are diverse and first one was in my view brilliant

Rev
The IT Crowd
Father Ted
Him and Her

There have been some new ones recently too

Flowers
Chewing Gum
Mum

But by and large sitcoms are catering for a certain demographic the middle age Anglo Saxon male to avoid using the word white and failing miserably. And the poorly conceived hybrids that try to fuse British culture with American make me cringe

The Carters Get Rich
Loaded
Episodes

Peddling racial stereotypes whilst trying to appear diverse. The sitcom, especially of the progressive kind, as an art form, is becoming obsolete, in the UK, except in the US, as for panel shows even the quality of those have declined with the same comedians are rotated on the same panel shows is bad enough. But now it's morphed like Frankenstein's creature into the reality show/ quiz show hybrid which aren't funny just a return to the shock jock/lad/ladette TV of the nineties with shows like 'Your Face or Mine' and an updated 'Through the Keyhole' and the upcoming 'Blind Date'.

I suspect panel shows are going to fall into decline especially as reality show 'stars' are creeping onto them to replacing comedians. Producers are always on the lookout for members of the public to replace comedians/ comedy shows hence 'Gogglebox'.

We're in the British comedy age of make it cheap and pile it high reality TV and like fast food has no value for mind body and soul.

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Davida

  • Saturday 27th May 2017, 12:14pm
  • Oregon USA, United States
  • 319 posts

Maybe if sitcoms are not satisfying you you should branch out into radio, podcasts, web series', stand up shows (DVDs and actual live shows that you go to, sketch shows, game/panel shows, shows with novel formats, etc. I appreciate that you've seen all of the ones listed, and didn't find some of them funny (I too, have seen the ones you listed, and I too don't find some that even I listed to be side-splittingly hilarious), but that's aside from the point. It sounds like you're not interested in 2000-2015 or so. So what do you make of the ones I listed that are either currently running or may get recommissioned?

Catastrophe
Man Down
Camping
Flowers
Not Going Out
The Trip
Car Share
Toast of London
Inside No 9

I know Car Share is done, but it's good, and recent, Toast might not return (and might not be your thing), what about the others? What do you think of Inside No 9 (it's kind of my favourite show if you hadn't guessed that already) Or are you really just looking for sitcoms? Flowers is coming back. I think Camping might come back, but I'm not sure on that one, Man Down is coming back, not sure about Catastrophe but I think it's still going. There are others.

Honestly though, I think if you're displeased with the state of comedy on telly you might be best off exploring more things that aren't big network tv productions. I agree with you that there is a glut of panel shows and reality garbage that I too find unappealing. Not sure what helpful recommendations I can make regarding diversity. I could possibly recommend specific comedians. And I can think of loads of shows that have strong non-white-heterosexual-male characters. I guess maybe I'm having trouble honing in on what you're after. If you want to get away from the glut of reality tv and panel shows etc. perhaps I and other more informed forum members can come up with a comedy diet of things you'd enjoy and find more nourishing for your mind body and soul.

Are you looking in earnest for new things to like, or just looking for people to agree with your qualms about the current state of comedy (either one is okay, I'm just not clear on which it is).

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