Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trash Humpers

I’m not sure if liking this trailer makes me pretentious or merely retarded, so for the time being I’ll settle for being pretarded.

“This crap makes all other crap masterpieces of shit.”

- J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

Who wants a sip of Shock Cinema #37?

According to the Shock Cinema web-page, issue #37 will be available at the end of the month. For those who can't wait nearly that long to skip over my reviews here's one you can ignore right now!

That’s Adequate (1989; Just For The Hell Of It) Satirical targets don’t come any more ambitious or obscure than MGM’s That’s Entertainment series and for that reason alone Harry Hurwitz’s That’s Adequate deserves credit even if it isn’t entirely successful.

Made in the days when the mockumentary had yet to become synonymous with bad, self-indulgent improv, That’s Adequate chronicles the 60 year output of Adequate Pictures a low budget film studio responsible for such forgotten classics as Slut of the South (a pornographic rip-off of D.W. Griffith’s Birth of the Nation) and the Third Reich financed bio-flick Young Adolf. Sketch comedy movies by their very nature are uneven but That’s Adequate is uneven in a way that’s almost schizophrenic. It’s a film that is at once clever and insultingly stupid. When the film works you get bits like Brother Theodore hosting a kids show, an Itchy and Scratchy-esque take on the Three Stooges, a skewering of the rah, rah jingoism of war movies, a deconstruction of Hitchcock’s signature cameos and a News on the March type newsreel where correspondent Chuck McCann badly fakes current events (McCann on the Hindenburg disaster, “Oh my gosh and golly! Look at go!”). But when it fails it fails on the laziest most obvious level possible. For every smart parody there’s at least three or four that simply take up space such as the sci-fi movie where people are attacked by a backed up toilet and the musical in which a guy in latex penis costume tap dances to banjo music. Obviously scatological humor isn’t necessarily a bad thing I’m just saying that we need to put a little creativity behind it. What’s wrong with giving the audience a fart joke that makes them think?

I also hated the fact that a majority of the film is made up of clips from old public domain movies that are dubbed over with shouting voices and cartoon sound effects. If that wasn’t creatively bankrupt enough, the premise for their Jazz Singer parody - Singing in the Synagogue- is blatantly stolen from an old episode of SCTV.

Luckily, however the film’s all star cast occasionally distracts attention away from its more annoying flaws. In his final role, James Coco is hilarious as the sleazy CEO of Adequate Pictures who at one point wistfully reminisces with Joe Franklin over the first time he “saw an elephant shit”. Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara practically steal the show as a pair vapid garment manufacturers who merge with Adequate and produce product placement heavy sci-fi films. Rounding out the cast are cameo appearances from Robert Downey Jr. as a sort of pirate version of Einstein, Susan Dey blowing a guy, a young Ben Stiller, Bruce Willis when he still struggled under the misconception that people found him funny, Maureen McCormick, that kid who played Fred Savage’s best friend on The Wonder Years (I could look up his name but why bother), fucking Sinbad, most of the original cast from HBO’s Not Necessarily the News and Robert Townsend playing the type of demeaning stereotype he railed against in Hollywood Shuffle.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

An Actual Trailer for a Legitimate Movie

When I first saw this trailer, I assumed it was supposed to be one of the fake trailers that were seen at the beginning of Tropic Thunder but was deleted from the final cut. Not so. This is a real film that was actually released and is available to buy on DVD. Oh, and fans of The Forbidden Zone might be interested in knowing that this unconscious parody movie was directed by Matthew Bright.

Would You Like to Buy a Monkey?

Was Letterman really one of the worst people to host the Oscars? I never thought so. After all, you wouldn’t see a sketch like this if it was hosted by Billy Crystal or Whoopi Goldberg or even Ellen DeGeneres.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yes, Housecoats Tire Me Too

Not liking Chris Elliott is a deal-breaker for me. So please enjoy the following clips for my sake. Actually, I’ll like you even if you hate these clips. Dear God I’m so lonely.

This isn’t as funny as it should be but I love the part where he drunkenly shouts out, “sweet potato pie” in the most effeminate, Charles Nelson Reilliest way possible.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What's the Armenian Word for D'oh?

Please don't be scared by these foreign takes on The Simpsons. (Sorry if both of these clips are old news).

I'd Buy That For a Dollar (Sorry...)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Big Bird is a Racist

Pretty self-explanatory. Watch and laugh.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mulligan and O'hare

When it comes to surreal, almost frightening comedy, nobody beats Reeves and Mortimer (although Tim and Eric do come pretty close). Here’s a clip of one of their more popular characters, folk duo Mulligan and O’Hare.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mash & Peas

Long before the success of Little Britain turned them into lazy, one trick hacks, Matt Lucas and David Walliams were, believe or not, actually funny. As proof, here’s a complete episode from their first sketch comedy series Mash and Peas.

The Old Hoit a Hoit

This sketch from the Australian sketch comedy series Fast Forward raises a lot of questions. First of all, what the hell is this? Is it a parody of The Cosby Show or a parody of a parody of The Cosby Show? Was the black face really necessary? Why is Claire Huxtable speaking like Hattie McDaniel? Why the Klansman? Why is the audience reaction so psychotically jubilant? Why does fake Cliff call fat Theo a “virgin boy?” And most importantly, why do Australians hate black people?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Everything's Bow-Wowy!

Here’s Charles Nelson Reilly at his Charles Nelson Reilliest. If you don’t enjoy this then I hope your stomach enjoys being punched. I’m sorry I didn’t mean that.

Attack of the Giant Ladybug

Parodies of atomic age monster movies tend to be obvious or filled with gratuitously nerdy in-jokes (which is why I loathe Larry Blamire’s smug epics) but this sketch from Exit 57 seems to be the exception to the rule. It’s absurd in a subtle way and doesn’t include any cameos from Conrad Brooks or Beverly Garland or some other walking goddamned corpse. As a side note, whatever happened to Jodi Lennon (she plays Stephen Colbert’s daughter in this)? Everybody else from Exit 57 went on to successful or relatively successful careers. Lennon didn’t even put in a cameo appearance on Strangers With Candy. Is she still alive? Please let me know. I’m very worried.

That Kooky Black Death and Bubonic Plague

Kevin Meaney is considered a hack amongst comedy nerds but I really like this glib Sinatra-esque tribute to London he performed on the long-forgotten Comedy Central series London Underground. Although the bit at the end with the old lady nearly ruins it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sick Jokes From The Future

Contrary to Matty Simmons’ opinion, late period National Lampoon was not boring. In fact, that short-lived period of the magazine was really underrated. Take for example this piece written by Robert Leighton that ran in the December issue of 1991. It’s weird, conceptual and feels like a bit you would see during the early years of Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

Sick Jokes From the Future

(Don’t ask us how we came by these – that’s our business. But if you really want to stay ahead of the pack, here are three sick jokes you will hear, and presumably understand, ten years from now.)

Did you hear Ralph Lauren’s defense strategy?

He’s arguing that the problem stems from his genes!

What’s the difference between Dennis L. Ruttinger and a fireplace attendant?

One stokes chimneys the other chokes Stimneys!

What’s the name of Shari Lewis’s new puppet?


Saturday, September 12, 2009

On the Television

As clich├ęd as it may sound, I’m still surprised by what you can find on Youtube and one of the most surprising things I ever found was this huge cache of clips from the long forgotten sketch comedy series On the Television.

Notable for being Nick at Nite’s first attempt at an original series, On the Television essentially played like a very limp parody of Siskel and Ebert’s At the Movies. Every week two critics (played by Tim Conway Jr. and George McGrath who’s better known as one of the token Americans on the British version of Whose Line is it Anyway) would “review” fake television shows with Cracked magazine-ish titles like Thirty Dumbthing, Wheel of Misfortune and Googie Chowder D.D.S. (Christ, that’s bad).

On paper the idea was interesting but in practice it was excruciating. The framing device with the critics was unnecessary and, being that McGrath and Conway Jr.’s characters were such personality challenged non-entities, it only managed to slow things down to an unfunny crawl. As for the sketches, well, even as a stupid, TV obsessed child I could sense that something was off about the sketches.

Case in point:

The sketches were inevitably one-note and excruciatingly long such as their spoofs (spooves?) of Super Password (duh-hah! The password is always the same!), Macgyver (What if we called him Mcrhymer and he only spoke in rhyme?) and Mikhail’s Navy (what if Mikhail Baryshnikov starred in fucking McHale’s Navy for some fucking fucked up reason. Fuck). As a side note, a pre-SNL Julia Sweeney pops up as Betty Off-White in Super Bassword.

Here’s the kind of hacky concept that could only exist in the early ‘90s. In some ways it’s similar to that tired thing impressionists would do when they would take someone like Christopher Walken and put him in a mundane situation. The only exception is that this is more limiting and less funny.

Surprisingly, the show lasted for 40 episodes (that’s ten more than Mr. Show) and is responsible for giving the world Lisa Kudrow, Kathy Griffin and several more celebrities that can be seen in this really weird, in-memorium-esque video below.

Still I will give them credit for this accurate parody of the late, lamented Dr. Gene Scott. But then, making fun of Gene Scott is like shooting a fish in barrel. Actually, that’s not true because shooting a fish in a barrel requires a little bit of skill. This is more like tipping over a barrel; waiting for the fish to die on the sidewalk and with your gun trained an inch away from its head, finally shooting it.

And to further muddy my point here’s an amusing Davey and Goliath pastiche…

…as well as a pretty savage skewering of Designing Women (and yes that is Tress MacNeille as Dixie Carter)

According to Wikipedia, after the show was cancelled “the production company declared bankruptcy after having spent the residuals developing pilots that didn't fly. Nick-At-Nite’s parent company, Viacom, became owner of the show, but had to pay those back residuals before it could air the series again. Supposedly this is why the series has never gone into syndication. Apparently the cost involved with repaying the writers, actors, and others involved the re-airing of the series cost-prohibitive”. So don’t expect a DVD box set any time soon.

Oh, and here’s one more shitty sketch!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Johnny Ding-Dong

In spite of the fact that Jon Glaser seems to be starring in one of Adult Swim’s funnier and critically beloved live action programs, footage of him is surprisingly difficult to find on the internet. Nonetheless, here’s a rare clip of him as the worst insult comedian the world has ever known.

Sorry, second worst.

Mr. Benn-y Hill

I'm still in the mood for Benny Hill parodies so here's a mash-up of The Benny Hill Show and the British children's program Mr. Benn.

And for all of you non-British people out there, here’s an original episode of Mr. Benn (you don’t have to watch all of it).

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What Hath Pallies Wrought?

I wanted to think that this was a blatant rip-off of Mr. Show’s classic Pallies sketch but I have no idea when it was actually made.

Besides, it seems that the idea behind Pallies isn’t exactly new. Here’s yet another sketch (from Hale and Pace) with the exact same premise and this one is from the mid ‘80s.

Benny Elton

Benny Hill parodies have become surprisingly prevalent in the last couple of years but here is one of the better ones. For those who don’t follow British comedy, Ben Elton was something of a “PC comic” (at least during the time when this sketch was written) who, from time to time, would appear on talk shows and whine incessantly about the sexist elements found in The Benny Hill Show (he’s also best remembered for co-writing The Young Ones and Blackadder). It’s surprising that he agreed to appear in this parody being that he’s portrayed as such a joyless, incoherent scold.

Oh, and as an added bonus, here’s Benny Five-O from The Paul Hogan Show. It’s not so much of a parody as much as it is a tribute/rip-off.

Inspector Force is on the Case

I’m not too familiar with comedians Armstrong and Miller or their short-lived sketch comedy series but this parody of the popular British detective program Inspector Morse has almost made me an instant fan. They not only nail the tone and atmosphere of the show (and all British detective shows for that matter) but the characters are so interesting and well-rounded that it’s the only reoccurring sketch I’ve ever seen that could easily be spun off into it’s own series. Oh, and please ignore the repetitive openings. That’s only thing I find annoying about these clips.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Random Closing Credits Sequences from Sentai Programs

Lately my self-loathing has become nearly overwhelming so I’ve been drowning most of my self-inflicted sorrows by watching the closing credits sequences of various Japanese Sentai programs (like most depressed people, I’m sure).

So, if you hate yourself but love bright colors might I interest you in watching the trio of videos below?

Ninja Captor

Zyu Rangers (aka. The original version of The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers)

Sun Vulcan

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Chicken Park

I’m fascinated by terrible comedy. And when I say terrible comedy, I’m not referring to the likes of Jamie Kennedy, Dane Cook or Carlos Mencia because those are merely just middle-the-road hacks and as much as I dislike what they do there is still people out there that find them hilarious. With terrible comedy there is no subjectivity because everybody finds it unfunny. Case in point: Jerry Cala’s Chicken Park is a comedy so excruciatingly terrible that it only furthers my theory that Italian film executives are required by law to greenlight any and every pitch they hear. It’s not that the jokes in Chicken Park are bad it’s just that they’re bad, nonsensical and completely ill-advised (and that includes the jokes they stole from other movies).

For further proof please watch the clip below and keep in mind this was supposed to make people laugh even though it closely resembles a deleted scene from one of those goddamned Saw movies.

And for all of you Pedro Almodovar fans out there: yes, that is Rossy DePalma being fingerbanged by Thing from The Addams Family.