The Jazz Musicians’ Jazz Musicians’ Jazz Musicians’ Panel-Game Chairman

For some reason or other, many of us on this side of the Irish Sea tend to prefer our heroes being low-key, understated, and with a blow-dried sense of humour.  Such was the case with a great English gentleman born exactly a century ago.  Humphrey Lyttelton may not sound like the name of someone you’d expect to have a cape and superhuman strength, but he certainly managed to inspire and lighten up the lives of millions in a long and …

Read more…

Tiochfaidh ar Laugh – A brief history of Irish comedy…

At times like these when so many of us are simply not amused humour can often be the best medicine… After the ground-breaking Father Ted hit our screens a quarter of a century ago, Irish comedy shows tended to keep a low profile within the wider televisual world. However in recent years we’ve had something of a renaissance, now that three Irish comedies have made their mark on UK TV. The most popular of these shows (purely in ratings terms …

Read more…

All dead but still alive, the comedians who keep us laughing…

Sometimes when I cannot sleep, I think about Dead People. Sometimes I think about Dead Footballers (George Best, David Herd, Shay Brennan….) or Dead Musicians (John Lennon, Brian Jones, Keith Moon…) but the most fun is Dead Comedians. It is a good game to play. The only rule is that I must actually remember them. So Max Miller who is in my lifetime but I don’t actually remember cannot be included. People who I remember from being on TV… and…. …

Read more…

The man who died from “an overdose of police”

Heard the one about the comedian whom the police seemed duty-bound to keep arresting whenever he swore on stage? Just thinking of such a scenario seems utterly incredible in our times. For all the complaints about political correctness and how We Can’t Say Anything in This PC Age, the truth is that speech today is considerably freer than many realize. It is certainly freer for stand-up comics than it used to be. Although he would not live to enjoy the …

Read more…

‘Doctor Fact is knocking at the door! Someone – please – let the man in!’

It’s proving to be another crowded year for anniversaries, not all of them Great War- or Ireland-related. Two 25-year ones in the coming week that are particularly worthy of attention may well pass unnoticed amid the above themes. In four days’ time it will be exactly a quarter of a century since the Geneva-based British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee switched on his patented information network, whereby computer users from all over the globe could access and share information simply by …

Read more…

So, was Hancock right? (!)

There really is nothing like a classic comedy sketch to highlight confusion and/or ignorance over important historical events. Such is the case with this outburst by Tony Hancock in an edition of his semi-eponymous sitcom. As the foreman of an immovable jury, seemingly mystified as to why his fellow jurors cannot agree with him about the defendant’s innocence (‘Well, he’s got such a lovely face…‘), he bellows at them: Does Magna Carta mean nothing to you? Did she die in …

Read more…

Remembering the comic with 9-and-a-half fingers – and why he still matters

The man looks so cool and self-assured: sleekly besuited, seated on stage, cigarette in one hand, glass of whiskey on the rocks (except it wasn’t – it was actually ginger ale with ice, but hey, that’s television mythmaking for you) on a small side table, utterly confident of his audience’s attention. David Tynan O’Mahony – or, to give him his more familiar professional name, Dave Allen – may have left us exactly ten years ago, but the image and memory …

Read more…

Since we’ve already had a Famine farce, we might as well now have the satire…

Perhaps we care too much about profanities that don’t really matter, and care too little about the ones that really do. Prompted by the controversary over a sitcom that hasn’t even been written yet, Diarmuid Ferriter has this confession to make: I did not feel any great shame, over 15 years ago, in laughing at a satirical song about the Irish Famine of the mid-19th century, and I was not alone. Under the title The Potatoes aren’t looking the best, …

Read more…

“Turns out people know the score, and they’re not so easily offended…”

I’m holding fire (pun intended) on the #CharlieHebdo shootings until I’ve worked out precisely what I think about it. In the meantime, on the business of why humourists may be displacing serious journalism as a prime source in political discourse (and perhaps suffering the consequences), this critique of John Oliver is well worth reading. These three points make worthy highlights: He tells a story. America is built on narrative. Although BuzzFeed has made inroads, it’s got no soul and no true fans, because …

Read more…

Now Show Eurozone analogy: “Not the Englishman, they had a row about spicy food so he refused to come”

listen to ‘Now Show on the Eurozone crisis’ on Audioboo If the Eurozone crisis consistently confounds you, here’s a great extended analogy from this week’s Now Show on BBC Radio Four… It breaks off before the end, but it is great nonetheless… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: …

Read more…

Voice recognition. In a lift. In Scotland.

It’s Friday, so it’s time to lighten up. I’ve been encountering a lot of Scottish accents recently. Then Mick forwarded this to me: And on the subject of Caledonian comedy, am I alone in regarding BBC’s Still Game as the most underrated sitcom of recent years? Paul EvansLiving in London, working as a trade union official in the film and TV industry (opinions my own). Author of “Save Democracy, Abolish Voting” (published by Demsoc in November 2017). Personal website with …

Read more…

It’s Friday!

It’s 4.30pm and it’s probably nearly home time. Here are three websites that you might want to study while you wait for the little hand to sweep towards five: Is your IT manager as creatively destructive as the BOFH? [translation: Bastard Operator from Hell] NB: PFY = Pimply faced youth – BOFH’s underling. I’m always surprised at the large number of people who haven’t discovered The Daily Mash yet. Labour may not have a lot going for them at the …

Read more…