With the exception of Al Gore, the office of the Vice President has recently become a fertile ground for comedy, mostly because of the characters involved. Dan Quayle was comically stupid, Dick Cheney was comically evil, and, if The Onion is to be believed, Joe Biden is just a guy looking for a good time. The funny thing is that these qualities are pretty terrifying if they ever become attached to the responsibilities of the President, which of course is a very real possibility (one could argue that George W. Bush was a mixture of all three).
There's a moment in Veep — a brilliant new HBO series by Armando Iannucci — where the Vice President turns on a dime from indignation at not being let into a meeting to barely suppressed giddiness after being informed why: the President is experiencing chest pains and she needs to get to the Situation Room immediately. This is one of the Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ many fine moments in the role of Selena Meyers. Yet when the VP is prepped on her duties a real sense of disquiet comes over the viewer… neither she nor her staffers seem to have much confidence that she knows what she is doing. There's a palpable sense of relief all around when we learn that the President was just experiencing a bit of heartburn. She can thankfully return to her political backwater in the Vice President’s office, and we can continue to laugh at the excesses of Washington. READ MORE
“I could get tables at a moments notice. I was stopped on the street by people telling me how ‘unbelievable’ my show was. I was hot and it felt goooooooood. And then, live on the air in the sixth and final episode of my chat show, I shot a man through the heart with a gun.”
— From Chapter 13, “Lift Off, Show-Wise”, of I, Partridge
Upon finishing I, Partridge on January 3rd I made the somewhat rash declaration that it would be the best book that I will read in 2012. I suspect that devoted Steve Coogan/Alan Partridge fans that get their hands on this endlessly quotable book will back me up. This sort of hyperbolic reaction is probably common from Americans who peg their comedic sensibilities to certain figures in the British comedy world (I don’t even need to go back a week in Splitsider’s archives to find an example of this in a profile of Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes’ Spaced). As far as I'm concerned, these shows and comedians go beyond being just funny or clever into the realm of the brilliant and profound. However, with I, Partridge such exalted terms seem justified, as somehow Coogan (along with Armando Iannucci, Neil Gibbons, and Rob Gibbons) have perfected the Partridge voice nearly three decades since its inception and in its third medium. READ MORE