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Glyph

Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

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37 Responses

  1. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I’m with you on this, Glyph. They’re geniuses.Report

  2. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    It’s amazing who many stellar shows each of them shows up in, either in large, bit, or cameo roles. It’s clear that other people in the industry love them. (And justifiably so.)Report

    • Avatar Glyph says:

      Really, all the sketch shows I named produced a lot of big names in comedy today. But Mr. Show still feels special (could just be because it was less-visible, as an HBO thing…I remember going over to a friend’s house so we could watch the VHS tapes he’d recorded).Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

        I agree that it’s the best since Python. I certainly can’t think of any that came close.

        Although if we want an excuse to smash our whiskey bottles on the bar and go after each other with jagged glass, I would say that Stiller and State don’t deserve to be mentioned over Chappele, Frye and Lauire, SCTV, Shuemer, Ulman, or Robot Chicken.

        (SNL would likely be an easy #3 after Python and Mr. Show if you were allowed to judge it only on the top 2% of its best sketches and pretend the other 98% had never been made.)Report

        • Avatar Glyph says:

          Of the ones you list, I’ve only seen Chappelle and Robot Chicken (I’ve seen tiny bits of SCTV here and there, and I’ve seen and liked some of Schumer’s stand-up stuff).

          Chappelle is definitely one of the greats; I like Robot Chicken, but not only is it even more hit-or-miss than usual for sketch comedy, it goes back to the same well a little too often of “beloved kid’s toys, doing/saying foul things”. In and of itself it’s not a problem, but sometimes that’s all that seems to be going on in a sketch.

          Speaking of Adult Swim’s stuff, it’s not sketch, but my favorite cult comedy of semi-recent vintage has to be Harvey Birdman, Attorney At Law (which was sort of a more-narrative Space Ghost Coast to Coast, with another old Hanna-Barbera cartoon superhero trying out a second career), featuring a murderer’s row of comic voice talent (including Stephen Colbert in a couple roles, before TCR took off).Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly says:

            My kids just turned me on to Rick & Morty, which I am loving.Report

            • Avatar Glyph says:

              I watched the first season on dhex’s recommendation and didn’t love it, but I will still give the second season a shot at some point. I freed up some TV time by deciding I’m done with The Strain (I could have watched 3 more episodes to finish out the season, but why?) and then last night I watched about 30 seconds of the season premiere of The Walking Dead before realizing, nope, I don’t care about any of this anymore either.

              I forgot to set my DVR for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, so I need to look that up too. This was the clip that made me realize I need to see it – the rapper interlude is hilarious (very much NSFW):

              https://youtu.be/ky-BYK-f154Report

        • Avatar Alan Scott says:

          Although if we want an excuse to smash our whiskey bottles on the bar and go after each other with jagged glass, I would say that Stiller and State don’t deserve to be mentioned over Chappele, Frye and Lauire, SCTV, Shuemer, Ulman, or Robot Chicken.

          I nominate Mitchell & Webb.Report

          • Avatar aarondavid says:

            Mitchel and Webb are great, but it you haven’t watched Frisky Dingo, well! (Archers creator with AS sensibilities:

            Report

          • Avatar Maribou says:

            The me-of-my-childhood would very much advocate for Wayne and Shuster as the best sketch comedy show – not sure it’s post-Python since they started in the 40s and Just Kept Going.

            I haven’t watched them – or even thought of them – in at least a couple of decades, so I’m not sure if I think they’d hold up now, or not.

            I always found Royal Canadian Air Farce, and its spiritual heir This Hour Has 22 Minutes, far funnier than most of the shows mentioned so far (some of which are indeed hilarious). Dunno if they’re too political to count, or if they’re just too Canadian to be particularly funny to Americans. (Believe it or not, I suspect The Kids in the Hall of also suffering from the latter problem.)Report

            • Avatar Glyph says:

              Amongst my social milieu, I am an outlier for not really finding KITH all that funny. Their humor seems to translate just fine for most people I know, so it’s not them, it’s me.

              The other comedy that people are surprised to find I don’t like all that much is Arrested Development – it’s suitably absurd, and I like most of the players (hey, it even has David Cross!) but the voiceover just wrecks it for me – it telegraphs too many jokes, and hand-holds you into remembering prior interactions and setups; in my more cynical moments I half-suspect the voiceover was pushed on them by a nervous network afraid that viewers wouldn’t be able to follow all of the story threads.

              I prefer the Curb Your Enthusiasm approach, where it’s on you to remember the kind of ridiculous kerfuffles that Larry has gotten into before, so you can anticipate how the current situation is going to blow up in his face.Report

            • Avatar krogerfoot says:

              Regarding KITH, I think Glyph is correct in hinting that he is an outlier—a monstrous, freakish one—in not being fond of that show. It seemed otherwise almost universally well-regarded among Americans as being both very Canadian and very funny.

              The influence of Canada on late 20th-century American comedy is colossal, especially in comparison with how oblivious we are to virtually every other aspect of the country.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                @krogerfoot I guess I’m surrounded by monstrous freakish outliers then… many in my friend circle here are not just unimpressed but actually put off by it.

                Good to know it’s generally well-regarded.Report

              • Avatar krogerfoot says:

                Good lord—your friends are monsters. Then again, I have been out of the TV comedy loop for about 20 years. KITH was state-of-the-art at the time, but maybe it hasn’t aged well.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            I nominate Trump & Carson.

            What, wrong thread?Report

          • Avatar Glyph says:

            I like what I’ve seen of M & W, but I haven’t seen all their stuff (I’ve seen a good chunk of Peep Show, and I think Experience). I should revisit them.Report

            • Avatar Alan Scott says:

              I mainly know them through The Mitchell & Webb Look.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco says:

                OMG, it was that Mitchell? That explains where he came from… I recognize him from QI. Maybe he didn’t marry miraculously above his station after all – just considerably…Report

              • Avatar Alan Scott says:

                Oh man.

                David Mitchell hosts a radio show called “The Unbelievable Truth”, which is basically a trivia bluffing game.

                The episodes where his wife Victoria was on the panel were just bonkers fun.Report

  3. Avatar El Muneco says:

    Glyph:
    Amongst my social milieu, I am an outlier for not really finding KITH all that funny.Their humor seems to translate just fine for most people I know, so it’s not them, it’s me.

    It’s not just you, it’s me too. I mean, I can see how other people would find it funny, it just never connected with me personally. Not like the last season of Python, when the cast was burned out, had lost the inspiration in sketch writing, and was phoning in the acting. I recognize the talent in KITH, it just ends up kind of flat.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      Didn’t grab me either…”trying too hard” was my impression.Report

    • Avatar krogerfoot says:

      Hmm, either you guys come from Monster Island, or you have some lofty standards for sketch comedy. Monty Python seems like the gold standard of sketch comedy—by my math, they landed well north of the 50% hit rate. On the other hand, I have not made it to the musical guest in any recent SNL episodes. I never dreamed it would be possible to sit through 30 minutes of SNL without encountering anything funny.

      Again, I loved Kids In The Hall and had never previously met anyone who didn’t, but now I wonder. At the time, it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen. Did everybody here watch it contemporaneously, or are we going on YouTube clips? I’d have no trouble admitting that comedy and TV in general has evolved tremendously over the past 20 years. This is especially obvious to me, since most of my memory of TV is frozen in 1996. A lot of other immigrants in my circle agree—the shows we loved back then seem notably pokey and obvious in comparison with what is coming out these days.Report

      • Avatar Glyph says:

        I watched (some of) KITH at the time, and it just didn’t do it for me.

        I rewatched some Flying Circus not too long ago and it holds up for me; it’s still really, really inventive and bizarre. But I have no idea how it would look to someone seeing it now for the first time, and I also suspect that British accents and manners make Python funnier to American ears/eyes (we associate that accent with intelligence and culture and propriety, which increases the silliness quotient when the characters are clearly being stupid or puerile or just plain insane).Report

        • Avatar Krogerfoot says:

          Regarding Python and its Britishness, I’ve thought that too. When I watch it now, I get a lot more of the regional humor that was baked in. Though it was already long-dead by the time I first encountered it on PBS in the late 70s. PBS aired virtually anything then if it originated on the BBC. I remember them classing up the joint with Benny Hill, even.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco says:

            What’s amazing to me is just how much regional humor, current (circa 1970) events, political satire, and even classical allusions are baked into Python, but we miss that in the US because it’s a different culture here and now. I mean, yes they were absurdist, but I’m constantly amazed when someone I know thinks they were just being “out there” when they’re talking about a bit that was skewering someone or something right up the metaphorical jacksie.Report

      • Avatar Maribou says:

        @krogerfoot I watched it at the time. And then we talked about it at school the next day. Enthusiastically, gleefully, and with reenactments. I have trouble imagining it without the context of being 15 and hanging out with my friends. (Mind you, I’ve tried watching the clips, and all that happens is I flash back to being 15, and once again I think it’s hilarious :D.)Report

        • Avatar Krogerfoot says:

          I was a huge proponent of SCTV back then, which for all it has bestowed on N American comedy—jeez, everyone on that show was great—is a pretty tough sell these days.Report

  4. Avatar El Muneco says:

    Tod Kelly:

    Although if we want an excuse to smash our whiskey bottles on the bar and go after each other with jagged glass, I would say that Stiller and State don’t deserve to be mentioned over Chappele, Frye and Lauire, SCTV, Shuemer, Ulman, or Robot Chicken.

    I’ve never actually seen Fry&Laurie, but I totally respect both of them and what I’ve read of the scripts looked good – and they had good chemistry in both Blackadder and Jeeves&Wooster.

    I have a soft spot for Dave Allen at Large but I suspect that the sketches have aged less well than his raconteur-on-stage act.

    IMO, Schumer is a better standup than sketch writer/performer. “At Large” skits often remind me of me and my college buddies mugging our way through college “short film contest” entries. Note that this is not true of Chappelle, who might have been too good at sketch comedy, to the point where (a la Colbert) the more unsubtle among the audience missed the joke entirely and went around the other side.

    (SNL would likely be an easy #3 after Python and Mr. Show if you were allowed to judge it only on the top 2% of its best sketches and pretend the other 98% had never been made.)

    To be fair to SNL, it’s not like even Python had a hit rate above 50%. And a lot of those were salvaged by a vintage Cleese rant or Idle irascibility when in any other hands a massive egg would have been laid.Report

  5. Avatar Brandon Berg says:

    The PTCIS’s host’s hairline sure went fast.Report