Tag Archives: comedy

Lovin It

So, it was the weekend of love. I had a weekend full of friendship and culture – including the movie Freeheld and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom at the National Theatre. Here are three things that gave me the warm and fuzzies:

One The reaction to Justice Scalia’s passing, in particular this response to the GOP’s rush to declare that the current, democratically elected POTUS is somehow ineligible to nominate his replacement:

Two Saturday Night Live, “The Day Beyonce Turned Black”.


“Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” Maya Angelou.

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Dogs and Dentists

No cavities. The perennial teacher’s pet in me was cockahoop after my dentist appointment today which was a roaring success compared to previous encounters…

…like the time he pulled out my wisdom tooth. Or that time when he diagnosed my sore jaw as an episode of Victorian-style hysteria which is specific to women around 30 years old. (apparently, this is a thing, ladies).

But the thing that made me laugh out loud today was this Very British (true?) story about a man and his dog trying to help someone trapped in a car boot. These are the things that make Twitter worth it.


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Drunk History

I can’t write about what I want to write about; my head is full with thoughts about terrorism, solidarity, media coverage, consumerism and lament. I think I’ll write it all out but not yet.

I’ll just let that cook.

But in the meantime, I’m going through my bookmarks. One of these was an episode of Drunk History, one of my favourite comedy shows.

The premise is simple: people getting drunk. And recounting history while actors act out their drunken rambling. It appeals to that part of me that’s eating crisps and sniggering to South Park at 2am.

The best UK one was Romesh Ranganathan recounting the story of Tutenkhamun but the US one is the first I encountered.

This one with Octavia Spencer as Harriet Tubman is an excellent example.

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Funny Ladies

Unusually for me, I’ve barely been to the theatre this year, but I have been reading a lot more, especially books by comics.

In my enthusiasm for all things Parks and Recreation, I dived gleefully into Nick Offerman’s (he plays anti-government moustacheod Ron Swanson) memoir, Paddle Your Own CanoeIt was ok. His rants were not as interesting as his revelations about learning his trade in theatre and comedy. I’m currently reading Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please (also Parks and Recreation) and I’m struck by how much hard work goes into making comedy seem effortless*

I was also struck by how, like so many industries, most people know each other, they have networks that go way back. It has been interesting to read these memoirs and Tina Fey’s hilarious and heartwarming contribution, Bossypants, and notice how all the professional networks intertwine. (and how, too, these networks can sometimes be monochrome). It reminds me of why I believe in and am proud to be part of the Media Diversified project, committed not only to diversifying the media but building a platform, networks and collaborative projects for people of colour.

And since I’m talking comics, a couple more books I have on my list:

  • Is everyone hanging out without me? (and other concerns) by Mindy Kaling. I’ll probably check out her new book, Why Not Me. She’s not without controversy, but she’s a trailblazer.
  • Self Inflicted Wounds by Aisha Tyler, who also has the interesting podcast Girl on Guy.

*Comedian Mindy Kaling has written a great essay on confidence, entitlement and hard work. In sum:

“Work hard, know your shit, show your shit, and then feel entitled.”

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Reporting on Suicide

This morning the front page of the Metro (which you really can’t avoid as a Londoner, it’s everywhere) had a lurid spread on how Robin Williams killed himself and why. I didn’t bother to read it but the headline jumped out at you. I admit, I was curious. But I didn’t because I feel like it’s none of my business. He’s gone; that is such a tragedy for all who knew and loved him, and a lurid expose that’s not aimed at helping anyone else in a similarly desperate situation is not worth it.

I was going to write something about the reporting when I saw, via Twitter (of course) the best blog on this, by a writer called Mary Hamilton. I think she said it all. An extract:

“Let’s be clear, this is not a hypothetical danger: a review of almost 100 studies worldwide has found a strong, coherent and consistent association between certain types of media reporting and increased risk of suicide in vulnerable people, and the Bridgend suicides should be known by every UK journalist as an example of how the media can make things worse.

This is happening in the UK, where funding is being stripped from already-stretched mental health services at the same time as punitive welfare policies strip money from the poorest and force severely unwell people to attempt to work despite disabilities that make it impossible for them to do so safely. A population that is already incredibly vulnerable is being made more so by lack of access to treatment and to funds. The UK is currently in the grip of an acute mental health crisis. This context is important.”

And further to that context, according to the Office of National Statistics, the leading cause of death for 20-34 year olds is suicide and poisoning:

Suicide and injury/poisoning of undetermined intent were the leading cause of death for 20-34 year olds, for 26% of men and 13% of women. Factors that could lead to these deaths include: traumatic experiences, lifestyle choices such as drug or alcohol misuse, job insecurity and relationship problems. “

We need responsible reporting about suicide that follows the best practice outlined by the Samaritans. However, we also need to address the root causes and ensure that those who need the extra support can access it swiftly.

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In praise of Phone Shop

It’s not just the fact that I’ve chained myself to a laptop for a week to crunch out a draft of my dissertation and Phone Shop is my light relief. It’s hilarious. It’s also got a very clever  script with a lot of zinging one-liners, but the real triumph is the cast, who are credited with improvising the script too.  At turns slapstick and satirical, Phone Shop is a comedy on a many levels and I enjoy every single one, from the basement up. And if you don’t believe me, read the Guardian’s review of Season 3.

Just one example of the silly, self-referential style:

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You know it’s Friday When…

…you find yourself watching:

1. A video of a CGI baby plotting to “fight for kisses”

2. A trailer for a film about sharks in a tornado…thank you SyFy channel, for answering questions no one was asking.

3. A spoof video on how men see themselves

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