HaHalloween III: The Final Chapter

“I never tied people up and forced them to read my HaHalloween jokes, and I could’ve ’cause I’m a big guy and I’m good with knots.”

So, it was not my plan to embark on another HaHalloween episode. The barrel had been scraped, the well had run dry…or so we had thought (to be honest, many considered the barrels and wells empty to begin with). And yet, I coudn’t help myself once the puns began to flow. So another thirty-one hallowed days have passed, another thirty-one jokes, quips, and memery flung agains the Twitter wall in the hope anything would stick. Feast yourselves on HaHalloween III: The Final Chapter. Final, you say? Perhaps. Or perhaps more in the fashion of horror movie sequels. With every final chapter, comes a resurrection, reboot or remake…

Q. What’s a dungeon keeper’s favourite song?
A. Chained Melody.

Q. Why was the squire afraid of jousting lances?
A. Because he didn’t like things that go bumping the knight.

Q. How did the Headless Horseman appear to people when he wasn’t really there?
A. He was a Sleepy Hollowgram.

Q. How do you keep screams fresh?
A. Shriek wrap.

Q. Why do people see fewer ghosts nowadays?
A. Because fitted bedsheets are now more commonplace.


Q. On what audio format is it best to record the eulogy at a funeral?
A. Caskette tape.

Q. Which food critic compiled a guide book of Britain’s best brains?
A. Igor Ronay.

Q. Which is the Blair Witch’s favourite Mercury Prize-winning album?
A. Boy In Da Corner.

My Halloween pumpkin this year is fine, but it can’t hold a candle to last year’s.

Kid: I see dead people.
Bruce Willis: That’s not a sixth sense! Sight is one of the five normal senses, you dummy! Why I am even here?
Kid: …

Q. What do hangmen toast over a bonfire?
A. MarshGallows.

Q. What does Jason Voorhees like to do most today (Friday the 13th) of all days?
A. Hurt teens (Thirteenth).

Q. Which team of mutants led by the Antichrist fought against their more famous rivals in a game of Noughts & Crosses?
A. The O-Men.

Q. What does Batman wear on Halloween?
A. A Bruce Wayne mask.

Q. What is the subtitle of Mary Shelley 2.0’s classic internet novel, “Frankenstein.com”?
A. The Modem Prometheus.

Q. What’s it called when you’re a werewolf but the girl you’re into would rather date a vampire?
A. Getting TwilightZoned.

Q. What does Vincent Price use to look up gay Wiccans in his area?
A. WitchGrindr General.

Knock Knock.
Who’s there?
Ghostbusters who?
Ghostbusters who ya gonna call?

Q. In which film is Edward Woodward burned alive in a giant humanoid structure made of chocolate, nougat, caramel and peanuts?
A. The Snickers Man.

Q. Why was the pumpkin embarrassed?
A. His mum walked in on him jacking his lantern.

Q. What do you call a ghost that doesn’t say “Boo”?
A. Shy.

Don’t know what’s so “cool” about dressing as a skeleton for Halloween. Your skeleton wears your dumb flesh and skin as a costume all year round.

Q. What do you call young apprentice executioners?
A. Guilloteens.

Q. How do you quantify the energy content of a candy skull?
A. Kcalavera.

Q. What did Hannibal Lecter have for breakfast?
A. Full English, mid-30s, about 5’10”.

“Um, actually, I think you’ll find garlic has no effect on us, that’s vampires.” – Wolfmansplaining.

Q. Why were AKB48 accused of operating on behalf of Satan?
A. Because the Devil makes work for idol hands.

Q. Who lives in the sewers of Newcastle and preys on the local kids?
A. Penny-wye-aye-se, man.

Q. How do you download a ghost?
A. Through the Apparition Store.

Q. What do you use to conduct a seance in Switzerland?
A. A YesYes Board.

The 2016 Advent Calendar Crap Christmas Cracker Joke Challenge


2016 has widely been considered the worst year ever. In order to help or hinder this trend (depending on your perspective), and having been FOUR YEARS since my last endeavour (not counting two Hallowe’en interludes), this December saw the return of my CRAP CHRISTMAS CRACKER JOKES.

On Twitter, I tweeted an original (at least, not intentionally plagarised, though it’d be pretty obvious if anyone were to attempt to lift most of these from me) made-up Christmas-themed joke. It was like an Advent Calendar, except even more disappointing. Here for your amusement/bemusement I have compiled the whole lot for you to entertain/mortify your nearest and dearest this HOLIDAY SEASON.

Q. How did the Spanish wise man find his way to Baby Jesus?
A. Sat-Navidad.

Q. How does Rudolph find casual hook-ups on his phone?
A. Reindr.

Q. Why does James Bond insist he is on telly every Christmas?
A. Because otherwise he’d threaten to use his TV licence to kill.

How hard can it be to put on a meticulously choreographed Christmas dance spectacular in New York? It’s not Rockette science.

Q. Which streaming service only plays Christmas songs?
A. Yuletidal.

Q. How do you turn a Polar Bear into a Grizzly Bear?
A. Drink Pepsi.

Q. How are Christmas trees officially ranked?
A. They are deco-rated.

Q. How does Donald Trump greet a pantomime dame?
A. He grabs them by the Puss-in-Boots.

Q. When does the song “Santa Baby” take place?
A. On the Thirst Day of Christmas.

Q. Which Babylonian king hates Christmas?
A. Nebuchadnezzar Scrooge.

Q. In which Christmas film does Bruce Willis play a wisecracking cop who can also emit light?
A. Diode.

Q. What do you use to drain vegetables for Christmas dinner?
A. An advent colander.

Q. Why did British and German soldiers play football together on Christmas Day 1914?
A. Their volleyball had a puncture.

Q. How come Darth Vader knew what Luke Skywalker was getting for Christmas?
A. Well, otherwise what kind of father would he be? #spoilers

Q. How do you remember which of Santa’s reindeer is which?
A. Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, red nose.

Midge Ure: What do you call a blind dinosaur this time of year?
Bob Geldof: Do-they-know-it’s-Christmas-time-saurus?!
Bono: LOL

Q. In which film does Freddy Kringle appear?
A. A Nightmare on 34th Street.

Q. Why did Tupac refuse to sing “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”?
A. He didn’t like Biggie pudding.

Q. Which film often watched at Christmas is also a fish dish, served with fruit from which wine is made?
A. The Grapey Skate.

Q. How do you make yellow snow?
A. It’s not possible, because it’s a primary colour.

Q. Who lives under your Christmas tree but doesn’t speak?
A. Parcel Marceau.

Q. What do people who drink Budweiser say when they go carol singing?

Q. Who delivers to Father Christmas what goes in naughty kids’ stockings and by what mode of transport?
A. Robbie, coal, train.
(Actual Cracker joke)

Q. Why is it customary to leave a glass of milk for Santa?
A. You ever tried reindeer milk?

That’s you lot for 2016, but if you are desperate for more (emphasis on the word desperate), you can find here my offerings from 2011 and 2012.

HaHalloween 2: The Revenge

Because anything can happen on HaHalloween

Because anything can happen on HaHalloween

You didn’t ask for it. And yet, it came back! My spooky joke challenge has been resurrected for another year, following last year’s ordeal (and previous Christmas-themed monstrosities). Behold 31 truly terrifying ‘jokes’, ‘quips’, ‘puns’ and non-sequiturs (as originally posted on Twitter) to baffle and bemuse your friends this All Hallows’ Eve, and beyond. Please scare (share) and die screaming (enjoy).

Q. What sprouts a red and white jumper every full moon?
A. A WereWally (or WereWaldo for our North American friends).

Q. Medusa stars in which David Fincher film?
A. Gorgon Girl.

Q. What do satanists buy from the candy store?
A. Beelzebubble gum.

Q. What is Sadako’s favourite potato snack, packaged in an appropriate tube?
A. P-Ring-les.

Q. What is the largest amount of memory that can be stored on a USB stick from Hell?
A. A Cenobyte (CB).

My girlfriend is totally into giallo, she’s my tenebae.

Q. Why did the ghost throw the clock out of the window?
A. Because he wanted to see time fly. Plus he’s a poltergeist. They love throwing things.

Q. How do you inspect a witch for internal maladies?
A. A cauldronoscopy.

Q. Why did the insurance company pay out more for Shrek’s claim?
A. They were ogre-compensating.

Q. What is the wimpiest pasta dish?
A. Fettucinne Afraido.

Q. In which horror film does Mia Farrow give birth to a sheep-herding pig?
A. Rosemary’s Babe.

Q. Where does Satan buy his sweatshirts?
A. Jersey Devil’s.

Q. Who is the spookiest graffiti artist in the world?
A. Ban(k)shee.

Q. Why did the witch call the plumber?
A. Double double toilet trouble.

Actually, Honey was the name of the creator, NOT the Monster.

Q. Which company makes the best soaps in Texas?
A. Imperial Leatherface.

“Waiter, waiter, there’s The Fly in my soup!”
“Err, hi, I’m Jeff uh Goldblum.”

Q. Which ghost always looks like they are shouting when they write an e-mail?

My toothbrush does an amazing impression of the final scene from The Blair Witch Project. [PRESS REVEAL]

Q. Which girl band member only performs with the rest of her group around Autumn time?
A. Pumpkin Spice.

Q. Where do you go to buy the most terrifying costumes for Halloween?
A. Your local scaremonger’s.

Q. In which film is it revealed that Liberace drank the blood of goats?
A. Behind the Chupacabra.

Q. Which classic  ‘Universal Monster’ was kicked out of the club for not being scary enough?
A. The Visible Man.

Q. Why did the Mummy not want to go on the rollercoaster?
A. He didn’t have the stomach. Or the guts. All his organs were in jars.

Q. Where do most UK witches hail from?
A. Coven-try.

Q. What is the most frightening Bond film?
A. James Bond Versus the Spooky Ghost.

Q. Why was the phantom desperate to see the new Mission: Impossible movie?
A. He was a TomPhan.

Q. Why is Zombie Mozart no good at his job?
A. He is decomposing.

Q. What is the best substitute for eyeballs in the ‘Witch’s Body’ game?
A. Sheep eyes probably – just ask your local butcher.

Q. Which cartoon dog investigates Haitian dark magic?
A. Scooby-Voodoo.

Q. Why is Dracula allergic to crucifixes?
A. He’s an atheist.

HaHalloween: A Spooky Joke Challenge


It’s been some time since last I attempted a joke challenge. After two consecutive years of Crap Cracker Jokes (2011 and 2012), I had given another jolly Christmas jokefest a break to allow the world to recover from my incessant punnery. But on 1st October 2014, somewhat on a whim, I thought I’d give it a go again – this time in anticipation of that scariest of holidays, Halloween. The theme of course would be anything spooky or related, but this time round there’d be 31 jokes (or anti-jokes), rather than my previous 24 (a la advent calendar tradition). It was tough going at times, but I think the results speak for themselves (take that any way you wish). You can either check the Twitter hashtag #hahalloween or simply see the full list below. And remember, anything can happen on Halloween!

Q. What’s a zombie’s favourite recipe book?
A. Graze Anatomy

Q. What do witches use to keep their skin wrinkly?
A. Gargoyle of Olay

Q. How do gravediggers cure a sore throat?
A. Coffin syrup

Q. Why did the corpse fail his X-Factor audition?
A. He wasn’t entombed (in tune)!

Q. What do you call a woman with knives for fingers who makes sexual advances on much younger men?
A. Freddie Cougar

Q. Where does Bigfoot buy his shoes?
A. Big Foot Locker

Q. Why didn’t the skeleton go to the party?
A. He decided to stay home and watch THE SKULLS on DVD!

Q. Which of the Golden Girls was born in the Himalayas?
A. Yeti White (I’d also accept Estelle Yeti)

Q. What building grows hair every full moon?
A. The Curseskin (Gherkin)!

Q. Which actor always gets ‘tricked’ on Halloween?
A. Treat Williams

I am looking forward to the Halloween episode of The Walking Dead.

Q. How do you stop the undead from infringing a copyright?
A. Send them a deceased and desist letter

Q. What kind of burger has brown sauce and cheese slices and comes from the nether realm?
A. The H.P. LoveKraft

Q. What CD should you get a ghost for Christmas?
A. Ghouls Holland and his Rhythm and Boos Orchestraaaah!

Q. Who is the Archbishop of Transylvania?
A. Desmond Nosferatutu

Q. In which Muppets movie is Fozzie Bear burned alive by pagans?
A. The Wocka Wocka Man

Oh no, @BrainAppeal – don’t think I don’t know what you’re up to, you bunch of zombies!

Q. What is a SKELETON’s favourite Winter Olympics sport?
A. Scary curling!

I’ll never be able to play with my haunted Monopoly set – I don’t have a ghost of a Chance.

Q. Why did Jack the Ripper not kill any men?
A. He would have got the willies

Q. Which famous horror comic also had a fiendishly difficult puzzle section?
A. Tales from the Cryptic Crossword Keeper

It’s Frankenstein’s Monster, not Frankenstein’s MANster. #adamandeve #notadamandsteve

How to insult a mad scientist: tell them they couldn’t even organise a monster mash in their lab, late one night.

Q. Which Greek restaurant in Austin uses power tools in its kitchen?
A. The Texas Chain Saw Moussaka

Q. What did the police do when they found the dead Jack O’Lantern?
A. Inform his next of pumpkin

Q. Which soul singer was also a famed vampire hunter?
A. Luther Van Helsing

Q. What should you never give a child when they come round trick or treating?
A. Your number

Q. Which football team raised an army of the dead for its players?
A. Necromanchester United

Q. What’s the name of Dracula’s party boat?
A. Salem’s Yacht

Q. What is the sexiest Halloween costume?
A. The Phantom of the Opera, but topless

Q. Why does the Grim Reaper not like being told jokes?
A. He’s afraid his scythes might split

Crap Christmas Cracker Joke Challenge 2: Lost in New York

In spite of popular demand, The Advent Calendar Crap Christmas Cracker Joke Challenge is back! As last year, I posted a new festive-themed #crackerjoke a day on my Twitter feed, with variable success – everything from tumbleweeds to ticker tape parades. But for the benefit of everyone, here are all 24 compiled in one handy groan-inducing mega-post. So dial 99, and get ready to press that final 9 in case your sides split (from laughing, that is!).

I’ve got my Dad a watch for Christmas. There’s no present like the time.

Q. Where does tinsel come from?
A. Hollywood.

I don’t get why the guy looking at those three ships on Christmas Day thought they were such an eyesore. Boats are lovely.

Q. Which play depicts a famous TV interview with one of Santa’s reindeer?
A. (Jack) Frost / Vixen

Q. How does Christopher Biggins avoid getting scurvy?
A. Pantolimes.

I used to look forward to parsnips at Christmas lunch, but then Ma told him he had to keep his shirt on.

Q. Which broadcaster moonlights as one of Santa’s helpers and boasts of his toy-making abilities?
A. Elven Bragg.

I loved my Christmas tree so much last year, I’m pining for it now.

Q. Which Ancient Egyptian figure visited the newborn baby Jesus?
A. Nefertivity.

Christmas pudding makes me horny; must be all that randy butter.

Q. How did Christmas Eve come about?
A. Christmas Adam’s rib.

Q. How do blind homosexuals read about the Annunciation in the Bible?
A. Gay-braille.

Q. What does Nina Simone sing when preparing mulled wine?
A. “Oh Cinnamon, where you gonna run to?”

Q. Which bestseller exposes the socio-financial impact and backroom dealings behind the gifts presented to Jesus?
A. Threekingnomics.

Q. Did you hear Santa has a new fragrance out for Christmas?
A. It’s Scent Nick (Pour Homme).

Q. What do Australians hang on their door to stop people entering at Christmas time?
A. A Great Barrier Wreath.

Q. Which artist is always Christmas Number One on the Starship Enterprise?
A. William Riker, with “Snowfrakes”

Q. What treatment did Mary undertake to conceive Jesus?
A. The Holly and the IVF.

Q. What’s in Joan Rivers’ diary the day after Christmas?
A. Botoxing Day.

Q. What do you call a dinosaur that only feasts on people called Stephen?
A. Wenceslasaurus Rex

Q. What cut of dress or robe was the fashion of the time where Jesus was born?
A. The Bethle-Hem.

Q. What makes snow white?
A. Catchy songs, comedy dwarfs and a great villain!

We were going to stuff the turkey this Christmas, but thought it’d be quicker and easier if we just bury it.

Q. Why does Father Christmas put a lump of coal in children’s stockings?
A. Dementia. 😦

Comedy Showcase/Lab: The Results Part II

Almost a year has passed since the first half of Channel 4’s Comedy Showcase and E4’s Comedy Lab completed their concurrent runs. And a lot has changed since then. Inexplicably, the only one 4 picked up out of the original six thus far was Anna & Katy, far and away the worst offering of the initial half-dozen. Chickens though will go to series, albeit for Sky instead. For the others, everything’s either gone quiet or has been confirmed dead (e.g. The Fun Police).

But back to the final six. Once the announcement came through that Comedy Lab was to be cancelled after 13 years (roughly round the same time that they launched the online-only Comedy Blaps, perhaps as an indication of where the training ground for new comedy talent will lie in future), the scheduling went a bit haywire. The final three Comedy Lab instalments were practically sneaked in under the radar later than they were originally due to be broadcast, and the last of the Comedy Showcase episodes has only just found its way to our screens as part of 4’s current Funny Fortnight. Were they worth the wait?


The Mr and Mrs Hotty Hott Hot Show

This is not comedy trio Pappy’s first foray into the Comedy Lab, having created a more conventional sketch offering in the previous series, but in the wake of Shooting Stars’ cancellation, it seems if Vic and Bob aren’t able to keep their surreal over-the-top games show on air (though they are back this week, again for Funny Fortnight, in a one-off special Lucky Sexy Winners), this rag-tag absurdist beauty pageant pastiche doesn’t stand much of a chance either. Through a series of rather pathetic fairground-style challenges, audience members are whittled down to see who will be crowned Mr or Mrs Hotty Hott Hot. There’s very little else to it, but the energy (and peculiar karaoke renditions of popular hits) from the Pappy’s gang just about keeps it going, but only just, with the live studio fun only vaguely translating through the TV screen. Popstar Jamelia once again proves to be an unsung comedy genius, but for all its naughtiness and tomfoolery, it’s decidedly ho-hum. 2/5

The Warm-Up Guy

Initially, alarm bells rang that this would be a rip-off of Ray Peacock’s wonderful short, a behind-the-scenes peek at the life of the warm-up act who gets the studio audience going before filming a TV recording. The Warm-Up Guy takes a different approach, following in the fine British comedy tradition of deluded failures. However, it’s always a tricky thing to focus on a deliberately unfunny comedian funny and an unlikeable character sympathetic, but Tom Davis as Ian Bodkin largely fails to achieve either. There’s a desperation to it all that rings true (his vlog attempts in particular), and his job search meetings have an unexpected heightened tension being that his coordinator is played by Kill List star Neil Mallarkey. But Bodkin is so annoying, you barely care where he ends up at all. 2/5


The final Comedy Lab episode (in history), and probably the most obvious pilot (being that it is largely character introduction and plot establishment), also just so happens to be one of the weakest. It’s another east meets west culture-clash comedy (i.e. a Goodness Gracious Me cast member has to appear, in this case Kulvinder Ghir), this time focusing on slacker Bobby’s attempt to put together an all-white team to play the traditional Indian wrestling sport of Kabaddi. Shazad Latif is an affable lead, and Tony Jayawardena as a legendary Kabaddi player hired to train them is entertaining, but there’s very little else to recommend about it. The superhero-style character profiles are naff, and the assembled oddballs and no-hopers (including a seemingly lost Josie Long) are as cookie-cutter as can be (Fatso, Hippy, Geek). The worst of the worst though is Vin (The Fun Police’s Jack Doolan), Bobby’s supposed best mate but for how and for why is baffling considering he is a horribly sweary oaf who uses his working class background and lack of education as an excuse for his hugely misguided racial slurs. Kabadasses tries to have it both ways to some extent, but why it’s okay to resurrect the spirit of Bernard Manning with “Ramadama-ding-dong” jokes here is beyond comprehension. Or perhaps its just “ironic” stereotyping a la Come Fly With Me. Kabadasses wants to be a British Dodgeball: An Underdog Story. In the end, it’s just balls. And ass. 1/5



The Angelos Neil Epithemiou Show

It’s interesting that the only Comedy Showcase or Comedy Lab pilot in the 2011-12 offerings to go to series before even being screened is a vehicle for a character first introduced to the masses through the aforementioned recently cancelled Shooting Stars. But in gifting Angelos Epithemou his own show (which has already completed its first run!), at least something survives. Naturally the show lives or dies on whether you find the character amusing or not, and I do, but whether he can hold a half-hour variety mix of chat, quiz, interviews, audience participation, sketches, and song-and-dance numbers is another issue. As a means of comparison, you could look at Da Ali G Show, and likewise with Borat and Bruno, so too does Dan Skinner play other characters, but whereas Ali G was already established as a ‘yoof’ reporter on The 11 O’Clock Show and therefore presenting in a studio was not such a stretch, Epithemiou is perhaps not quite as well-placed in a format such as this. Yet, the deliberately shambolic anything-goes nature of the show, and the addition of the wonderful Adeel Akhtar (from Four Lions) as his even more inept sidekick, it gets away with it. Though it says something that I actually didn’t bother with the series itself. 3/5

Milton Jones’s House of Rooms

Though Milton Jones is by no means a newcomer, this was my first introduction to his work, and a very fine one it was too. A pretty conventional setting and situation (a ‘house’, owned by his mother who lets out ‘rooms’ to tenants) is merely the framework for an introductory episode filled with some very funny jokes and a wonderful set of performances, particularly Jones and Colin Hoult as charismatic Australian charmer, new tenant and love rival Paul. What’s more, House of Rooms is really impressively shot, in a highly stylised, near-cinematic fashion not really seen in either director Ben Palmer or director of photography Ben Wheeler’s previous work (having last collaborated on The Inebetweeners). Sometimes the comedy feels more like stand-up one liners and plays on words forced into a sitcom framework, but they are often so good, it doesn’t matter. And there are enough reveals, sight gags, surreal asides, and slapstick for it to be the most enjoyable episode of the second six. Yet, the cruelty of tellyland strikes again as a series is not in the offing. 4/5

The Function Room

It’s taken many many months, but finally Daniel Maier’s pilot and the last of the Comedy Showcase run has aired. Boasting a cast featuring more familiar faces than any of the others (including Kevin Eldon, Reece Shearsmith, Daniel Rigby, Simon Day, James Fleet, Marek Larwood, Blake Harrison…), The Function Room will surely serve as an excellent step for any future British comedy Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon-style pub conversation starter. But as a piece of comedy, it’s somewhat wanting. The characters are flat and the situation (locals attending a police meet-and-greet in the titular Function Room) uninspiring, which would be fine if it were all just a cipher for decent jokes, but these are few in number. Instead, we have running gags that go nowhere, puerile double entendre, and faecal matter. It manages to tie itself together a little better in the second half, but it feels more like an overlong skit that’d fill some time on Comic Relief night than a prospective opener for a full-blown series. 2/5

2011: Comedy of the Year

It should be a given by now that all these lists carry with it an unwritten disclaimer (which I shall now write anyway) that I can only pass judgment on things I have actually seen and experienced, or at least can remember doing, so I am well aware there are great big gaps in my annual comedy consumption, but these are just the ones that stuck out.

Sketch Show – Limmy’s Show!

Brian “Limmy” Limond returns with another batch of low budget high quality sketches, tied together with his own observational musings which are far more successful than those of other would-be observational comics thanks to his believable increasing frustration with the world as it exists and a welcome touch of the surreal. A shame its only show on BBC Scotland (iPlayer’s your friend here), but at least a third series is in the works.

Panel Show – Shooting Stars

As we mourn the loss of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer’s madcap nonsensical take on the celebrity TV quiz, at least we can rest safe in the knowledge that it was still going strong, some 18 years since its original episode. I don’t expect it’s the last we’ll ever hear from Shooting Stars (Sky have recently come out saying they won’t be taking it), but with Vic & Bob indulging their barely-scripted sketch itch with Fosters, it will be exciting to see where they end up next.

Sitcom – Him & Her

Cowards‘ Stefan Golaszewski broke the BBC Three comedy curse with Him & Her series one by bringing to the channel a sitcom which was actually pretty good. Series two, however, completely took me by surprise, frequently very funny, incredibly perceptive and genuinely touching. “A lazy couple in a flat being visited by their friends, family and neighbours” is perhaps the least exciting premise one could think of for a comedy, but Golaszewski has a great nack for picking up tiny details which a wonderful cast skillfully deliver every time. Special mention to Kerry Howard as the deliciously bitchy Laura. Really looking forward to the third series now. Definitely not to be overlooked.

Comedy Drama – Psychoville

Though traditionally a name given to programmes which are “not funny enough to be a comedy, too silly to be a drama”, I’m really just using the category it won at The British Comedy Awards as an excuse to just talk about Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton’s incredible second series of Psychoville. Just as dark and funny as any League offering, Psychoville repeatedly pulled the rug out from under your feet by saving the lives of most of the first series characters, only to have them all dispatched one by one, an act of audience-baiting cruelty but a perfectly-judged one. And for every fallen individual, a worthwhile replacement, be it Imelda Staunton’s Judi Dench-wannabe villain, Jason Watkins’ camp and creepy toy-shop owner, or the appearance of the Silent Singer…

Stand-up – Adam Riches

While I have still yet to see his full-length Edinburgh Comedy Award winning show ‘Bring Me The Head of Adam Riches‘ (though will do soon!), the brief segment of his I saw as part of An Evening Of Telly Live at Kings Place was the most astonishing face-achingly funny performance I enjoyed in 2011. Audience participation is the bread-and-butter of many a stand-up routine, but Riches‘ fully-invested character turns means any unlucky participant really has no way of knowing where he’s heading and no out from the increasingly bizarre situations they find themselves in. And a scene from a movie based on the popular colour-based guessing game Mastermind starring Daniel Day-Lewis certainly takes some beating.

Live Show – Tim and Eric

Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! is quintessential cult entertainment at best even in the States, so with only two series released on DVD in the UK, it’s safe to say they are even more of an underground deal here. But that didn’t stop their shows selling out when they came to London. More of a greatest hits package of fan favourite characters and sketches than anything, Tim and Eric arrived on stage arrived on stage in nude suits with giant testicles to a song the entire lyrics of which was just the word “diarrhoea” repeated over and over. To the unprepared, bafflement and bemusement was the inevitable result (as the myriad one-star reviews demonstrated), but one man’s death-knell of comedy is another’s bell of, I don’t know, joy, or whatever. I had my fun and that’s all that matters.

Short/Animation – The External World

David O’Reilly is kind of a genius whose talent and artistry is only matched by his twisted mindset. And The External World is his masterwork thus far – a very troubling and deliberately unclassifiable masterwork, but one nonetheless. Ostensibly an animated collection of sketches (though naturally far more than that), its not only beautiful to behold, but disgustingly hilarious too. Less talk, more watch.