If you read Splitsider, you’ve probably got one or two favorite British comedy series that you’ve watched through and through, that you’re always eager to push on someone who hasn’t seen them. Mine is one that doesn’t come up often enough with comedy nerds, at least in my experience: It’s Smack the Pony, the female-led sketch series that ran on Channel 4 from 1999 to 2003. Popular during its run in England, Smack the Pony drew enthusiastic reviews and a handful of awards, but it doesn’t enjoy the reputation that other solid British series do. However, the entire series run is available on Hulu — that is, regular [...]
For the past few years, America has been experiencing a spectacularly creative comedy boom that continues to grow. But in the UK, the comedy scene may be heading in the other direction. For the past decade, live and televised comedy have been big business in Britain. Stand-up shows like Live at the Apollo and Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow brought rising talent to mainstream attention, and panel shows established a wide pool of popular comedians. This led to massive theatre tours and hundreds of standup DVDs released every Christmas. But like all bubbles, it was bound to burst, and the comedy community, particularly in London, is reeling as things [...]
Sometimes TV shows drag their unfunny, uninteresting, yet highly rated feet across our living rooms for years. “Who let this happen?” we ponder as our foreheads turn red from frequent smacks. Other times, the powers that be get things right. That’s where “Brilliantly Canceled” comes in, looking at the shows that didn’t pass their pilot and saved us all a ton of grief.
Upon viewing the pilot for the British comedy Heil Honey I'm Home, several questions come to mind. "What am I doing in Hitler's house? Why are his neighbors Jewish? Why is he calling me ‘honey’?" All fair concerns when discussing one of history's most vile and [...]
I'm not sure the US has ever been more enthusiastic about British comedy than it is right now. Thanks to Veep and to Hulu’s uncensored screening of The Thick of it, excitement about Armando Iannucci has reached near-Olympic levels. And just last week, HBO announced a remake of award-winning BBC sitcom Getting On, a bleak take on nursing in an underfunded hospital.
Judging by shows like these as well critical faves like The Office and cult sitcoms from Peep Show to The IT Crowd, it must seem that all UK comedy shares a certain aesthetic. It's painfully-observed, harshly-lit, darkly funny, and of course, full of swears.
But not all [...]