Intro to British Comedy

I’ve always been a Python fan. Several years ago a friend sat me down to watch Red Dwarf and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Well, last week I started watching Black Adder and I love it. Now I’m interested in seeking out other British comedy, and I’m looking for suggestions (possibly based on the little information I’m providing here.)

I watched the first episode of Fawlty Towers this week and it didn’t really grab me. Does it get better?

I’m a recent convert to House also, so I’m interested in seeing other stuff with Hugh Laurie. What should I check out after Black Adder?

IMO, it couldn’t actually be better, but you might grow into it, or find the plots of some of the other episodes more to your liking, but it doesn’t change much really; the comedy is all in the tragedy and awkwardness of circumstsances surrounding Basil; it may be that this just isn’t your thing.

You might like Coupling.

Which series of Black Adder are you watching? The third one features Hugh quite prominently; if you like him in that, then it might be worth getting hold of some of his earlier sketch show work - A bit of Fry and Laurie, which is at long last available on DVD.

If you like Hugh Laurie, you might want to look at the Jeeves and Wooster series. Delightful adaptations of the classic Wodehouse tales about a dimwitted twit (Hugh Laurie) and his wise, avuncular manservant.

A series that I used to enjoy long, long ago was The Goodies. It was usually not as funny as Monty Python, but it had its moments.

Hell, The Goodies actually caused a man to die of laughter, something Python can’t claim. :slight_smile:

I was a big fan of the older series No, Honestly, and My Hero was pretty good, too.

Holden, check out this thread.

Right now BBC America is showing Peep Show right now, which is f***in’ hilarious.

You sound like you like Ben Elton’s work, so The Young Ones and Thin Blue Line are shows you should check out. The former is out on DVD in the US, along with an epi of Bottom which was the “follow up” of sorts to TYO.

If you like sketch stuff you have to watch The Fast Show which aired for a time on BBC America as Brilliant! Da Ali G Show aired on HBO for two seasons and was easily the funniest thing on TV. I also loved Harry Enfield’s TV Programme (the one that aired on Channel 4 - I thought it was better than the more popular BBC shows he did. Too much Paul Whitehouse and Kathy Burke for my tastes.)

Comedic tastes are so varied, it’s almost impossible to make recommendations. When I was last in the UK my mates were encouraging me to watch Bo Selecta! based on the stuff I liked. To say it was the most dire cack I’ve ever seen would be understating things a bit. Complete shite! People also suggested that I watch Black Books and The Mighty Boosh - didn’t do anything for me either.

Oh, but the Goodies - pure comedy genius!

The best recent comedies are Spaced, Black Books, Peep Show, Green Wing, and The Office. No discussion or arugment is possible.


No mention of Are You Being Served? yet? Give it a try. If you don’t like it, you’ll find that it will ride up with wear.

My bad, I didn’t see that you were limiting the suggestions to Hugh Laurie shows.

Just about any British comedian will admit that virtually all modern film & TV comedy owes a great deal to Ealing studios. The company’s best films include: Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Ladykillers, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit and Whisky Galore!.

If you can find it, check out A Bit Of Fry And Laurie (sketch show) with Stephen Fry.

Interesting titbit : Laurie’s first TV appearence was as part of the Cambridge rowing crew in the annual Oxford Vs Cambridge boat race.

As Mangetout notes, A Bit of Fry and Laurie will be released in the U.S. on DVD either this month or August. I think it will be the first two seasons.

The sketches are hilarious, and between the sketches they do “man in the street” snippet-type interviews - featuring both Stephen and Hugh as barrow men, housewives, constables, every imaginable English character you might bump into on the high street. Those snippets are often the funniest part of the show.

There are a couple of recurring characters - Tony and “Control,” prim and proper MI5 operatives, the American oil executives who punctuate every sentence with “Damn!” and references to an unseen “Marjorie,” and Australian soap opera characters who seemed to be having sex with everyone. Most memorable were the absurdist sketches where Stephen Fry would play a public-school civil servant type in a shop, or as a barber, who would politely frustrate and irritate the everyman character played by Hugh Laurie. Impossible for me to describe but possibly the funniest dialogue you will ever hear uttered.

Well, and Little Britain can sometimes be funny as well. I like Dafydd as the only gay in his welsh village, and Andy “I Want a Whippie!” wheelchair guy. :slight_smile:

Blackadder–especially *II * and IV.

I’m fond of absolutely fabulous, and of course, good neighbors

French & Saunders, Vicar of Dibley, Father Ted and (or course) Absolutely Fabulous. Go get them on DVD. Now.

Hugh Laurie also had a bit part in an episode of The Young Ones, along with Stephen Fry and Emma Thompson. Much harder to find is a radio show called Saturday Night Fry, which starred Stephen Fry. Hugh was in just about every episode, and Emma showed up a few times, too. If you can find it, it’s well worth listening to.

Ah, the “Bambi” epi. Scumbag College goes to University Challenge and plays against Footlights College. I think Fry was “Lord Snot.” Classic for Vyv’s decapitation, Mel Smith’s appearance as a security guard, and SPG’s attack on the Footlights Team…

“World’s stickiest bogey?”
“Toxteth O’Grady, USA.”

And Steven Fry’s first TV appearance was representing his Cambridge college on the quiz show University Challenge. He always was a clever clogs.

You’re obviously not local.
League of Gentlemen. Best thing in many many years.

I beg to differ. It started off decently enough, but went downhill fast.