Tuesday, 1 July 2008

When They Were Funny

Here's a secret internet fact only a few people know about. Providing you've been a good little boy or girl, if you close your eyes really, really tightly and wish especially hard, anything you want will magically appear on YouTube.

This evening, we ate all of our vegetables without once pulling a face, and as a result, our wishes of YouTube playing host to a complete Wednesday night's entertainment on Paramount Comedy circa 1997 were granted.

Danny Mash and Gareth Peas (i.e. Lucas and Walliams when they still had more than three jokes between them) linking Spoofovision. Directed (least in part) by Edgar Wright, no less.

Despite having a budget of practically zero pence, and the duo only having a few minutes each week to work with (they were essentially glorified continuity announcers), there's more invention, effort and overall splendidness in those linking segments than there were in the last two series of Little Britain.

And now, because we tidied our room earlier on, without even being asked to, we're going to wish especially hard, and then type MASH PEAS PLENTY into the search box, to see if we can't rustle up the time Dominic Diamond genuinely lost it with Lucas and Walliams, live on air as part of Night O'Plenty (the utterly majestic Tuesday night linking 'shows' on Paramount at the time, which saw Diamond and Kirk Ewing faff around magnificently for so long each week, all subsequent programming generally went out up to forty minutes behind schedule).

Sing Hosanna, it worked! Extra Bonus Utterly Pointless Fact - Kirk Ewing wasn't part of this final show of the series (possibly ever, actually), because he was busy working on (we think) Earthworm Jim 3D for the N64, hence the temporary co-host Eunice Huthart, who had just been a contestant on Gladiators WHY DO WE KNOW THESE THINGS? OTHER PEOPLE KNOW THINGS ABOUT CHEMISTRY OR ACCOUNTING OR HORSES, AND WE'RE LUMBERED WITH POINTLESS TRIVIA ABOUT MID '90S SATELLITE TV CHANNELS. CURSE THESE WRETCHED HANDS.

Extra bonus YouTube thing: Several full episodes of NightStand, the best of the shows contained within Spoofovision (unless Soap was also part of Spoofovision, we can't remember).

8 .:

Mark X said...

It also played host to the original Only Jerks and Horses sketch, later seen on Channel Four: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLA7Kx4srUs&NR=1

Steve Williams said...

Ooh, on Paramount this Sunday there's a ninety minute thing called Paramount School of Comedy, which sounds like it's going to be more of this sort of thing. You'd hope, anyway.

Mark X said...

Well spotted. Going by Digiguide: "Paramount Comedy presents the best from its past stars, including Simon Pegg, Lucas and Walliams, Dom Joly and Armstrong and Miller". Hopefully it also includes Chariotts Of Fun with Bobby Chariott, which was skill.

I'm a bit surprised they've been sitting on all that material for years without making more of it, to be honest. If any of it had featured Peter Kay it would have been span out into a seven-DVD boxset.

Anonymous said...

Gosh, Matt Lucas and David Walliams being funny. I didn't think that was possible.


Steve Williams said...

Most of this was indeed on Paramount School of Comedy this weekend. I really love the Take Hart Gallery on Mash and Peas ("Good!... Good!... Oh, his mum drew that... We seen that!") and how on the Why Don't You parody, they're "the Wales and Newcastle gang", presumably because they couldn't decide what accents to do.

They also featurd that Night O'Plenty moment, with Diamond saying that immediately after the show finished - literally, judging by the way he seemed to lunge out of shot while the credits rolled - he pinned Lucas up against the wall and was seconds away from thumping him.

Bit too much Leigh Francis on the show, though, talking about how he made props and stuff but wasn't allowed on air because his stuff was crap. Sadly he didn't mention the only good thing he's done on telly, that being C4 teen show Buzz in 1998, which he fronted as himself, and he was a great kids TV presenter, really warm and lively in front of the camera ("Welcome to Buzz, if it were a record, it'd be number one!"). Shame he spent the following decade doing rubbish characters instead.

The show was copyright 2007, so either it's been on several times and I've missed it, or it's been on the shelf for ages. Worth catching a repeat, though.

Mark X said...

The odd thing about Leigh Francis is, whenever I've seen him out of character (such as on the recent Comedy Map of Britain programme), he has come across as a genuinely likeable and entertaining chap. It's only when he becomes one of his 'characters' that I get the feeling that I shall never smile again.

I missed the Paramount show, mainly because my Sky subscription ran out at the end of June, but hopefully it'll be repeated as frequently as their (two) Peter Kay half-hours, and I'll get the chance to see it eventually. Certainly, D Diamond made many of the same points when the Night O'Plenty clip was shown as part of five's Little Britain: A Showbiz Marriage.

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