They say write about what you know….so for my first blog post for Auckland Libraries, I thought I’d write about my obsession. It’s one of the best things to have ever come out of the ol’ United Kingdom. You can take your history, your monarchy, castles, and Earl Grey tea, it’s the best thing, ever (I’m sorry Kate).
So, if you have time in your life for a new obsession (which I’m guessing you do, it’s the holidays after all), here are my picks for the best British comedy to veg out on the couch to.
1. Monty Python's Flying Circus
The show that established the comedians John Cleese and Michael Palin’s, and filmmaker Terry Gilliam’s fame, this classic show is the grandfather of the comedy world. It is hard to believe it is forty years old. Renowned for using short animations as ‘links’ between sketches, it allowed the performers and writers creative freedom to not have to use traditional punchlines. There is also plenty of footage dedicated to mid-thirties men dressed as elderly British ladies, which doesn’t hurt. Watch if you love surrealism, and prepare to start quoting the ‘Dead Parrot’ sketch.
2. The Mighty Boosh
Named after the childhood hairdo of creator Noel Fielding’s brother, this show is like a modern-day Monty Python. Just like with Monty Python, the writers star as the main characters in their creation. Combining frequent pop culture references, guest appearances, and even some damn catchy music written by creator Julian Barratt, this show is childlike brilliance.
Ahh, Blackadder. Almost everyone in the English-speaking world will recognise the star of this show, due to his future role as the mute Mr Bean. Rowan Atkinson, with fellow British actors Stephen Fry, Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny, Miranda Richardson and Hugh Laurie, proves he’s just as funny being vocal as he is with his mouth shut. The four series of Blackadder prove to be like a fun history class; covering medieval times, Queen Elizabeth’s court, the dim wit of George III (played with great ineptitude by Hugh Laurie), and finally, World War One, which ends with a moving tribute to the people who lost their lives in the Great War.
4. The IT Crowd
A contemporary of the Mighty Boosh (look out for the shared actors), this show is great for geeks, and for the people who love them. I challenge you not to fall in love with the protagonists; misanthrope Roy, socially backward but cute-as-a-button Moss, and career-minded Jen. Much of the humour comes from the clash of their respective worlds. Jen is socially adept, but doesn’t know the first thing about IT (in one memorable episode, she lifts up a small black box, and calls it “the internet”) and the intelligent slackers of the IT department who are almost constantly socially awkward. This show comes with so many references that will make your little geeky heart sing.
These are a great place to start, and remember to hit me up in the comments section if you want any more suggestions ;)
Happy New Year!