Author Topic: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984  (Read 2011 times)

Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« on: May 14, 2019, 01:20:52 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5TsT52V5QY

I particularly enjoyed this masterpiece which I doubtless genuinely enjoyed when it was first broadcast on my 8th birthday.
Highlights include:
A song about the various sexual and racial characteristics of some beauty contest contestants. Russ plays a Tony Ferrino type.
Dustin Gee blacking up. A lot.
Les Dennis playing Neil Kinnock. As Les clearly can't do a Welsh accent, you have to wonder why he's playing him at all. Kinnock has literally nothing to do with the sketch. Perhaps Les thought his Kinnock was so good that he should seize the opportunity?

Glebe

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2019, 02:41:57 PM »
Haven't watched this yet but it could well usurp Sid & Eddie as forum darlings.

"Songs of joy and, tears of laughter... are all we need, to lift our, lift our hearts!"

Chriddof

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2019, 04:01:17 PM »
I'm embarrassed that I know this, but the "Songs Of Joy" theme was the one used in the BBC version from the late 80s onwards. The original ITV one is a number called "Livin' It Up Tonight" (I think).

I've skimmed through it and there's a performance of "Atmosphere" at the end. And I do like the uploader's custom VHS title card at the start.

Norton Canes

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2019, 04:04:37 PM »
Nice bit of early CGI on the LWT logo. Not a patch on the 'toothpaste' 70's version though.

Glebe

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2019, 04:12:45 PM »

Petey Pate

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2019, 04:26:26 PM »
Courtesy of the Downstairs Lounge blog, here's Russ Abbot's touching sung tribute to Martin Luther King. I had somehow remembered this as being a cover of Ebony and Ivory instead, but fortunately, the awfulness of that is nonexistent.

https://downstairslounge.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/russ-abbot-party-animal/

https://soundcloud.com/agnes-guano/happy-birthday-russ-abbot

the

Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2019, 04:54:01 PM »
And I do like the uploader's custom VHS title card at the start.

     

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2019, 05:25:48 PM »
Russ Abbott is one of those weird ones where you can sense exactly where the funny bits are meant to be.

Cuntbeaks

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2019, 05:42:12 PM »
https://youtu.be/WjYLnclp74c

Burnley is Babylon - King Wilf and The Rastaplasts

The best track on the Russ Abbot's Madhouse album.

Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2019, 08:18:13 PM »
Was the "Songs of Joy" theme a deliberate homage to Radio Gaga? That's what I always assumed when I was a kid, but listening again now it might just be coincidental.

Phoenix Lazarus

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2019, 08:27:51 PM »
Russ was most educational. I expanded my vocabulary because of him, when I asked my dad what he meant when he said Abbot's comedy was 'puerile.'

Glebe

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2019, 08:52:57 PM »
Fond of hitting the pipe, apparently.


Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2019, 10:14:53 PM »
Can't bring myself to dislike Russ but that was dire. The biggest laugh was the "Turkish" gag in the Oxo advert.

And the blackface. Why did that singer have to be black? Perhaps it was recorded quickly and they'd just done the Miss World sketch.

Sloop John B about throwing up on a booze cruise. Say what?

Alberon

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2019, 10:20:13 PM »
Haven't watched this yet but it could well usurp Sid & Eddie as forum darlings.



Glebe

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #14 on: May 15, 2019, 05:28:36 AM »

Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #15 on: May 15, 2019, 06:12:42 AM »
Can't bring myself to dislike Russ but that was dire. The biggest laugh was the "Turkish" gag in the Oxo advert.

And the blackface. Why did that singer have to be black? Perhaps it was recorded quickly and they'd just done the Miss World sketch.

Think those singers were a parody of a real act. There’s at least one other sketch with the quartet singing joke lyrics to ‘Little boxes,’ about how past it they are, and Dustin Gee gets to make allusions to his being blacked up.

Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #16 on: May 15, 2019, 08:30:26 AM »
The Four Bottoms:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y22HM9b4rI0

I'd like to say it's a brilliant portray of how race is only skin deep, but I think it's actually saying that a white guy could have been in the Four Tops, no problem, because they were just a cabaret act with "Alabama" (??) accents (the Four Tops are transplanted from Detroit to Alabama for the gag because, you know, who cares?)

For extra desolation, think about this going out during the Miner's Strike. Your last chance to laugh before your livelihood disappears.

Twed

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2019, 08:34:00 AM »
It's so artless. "I could do with a gin", that's just putting in anything that rhymes. No craft.

Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #18 on: May 15, 2019, 09:46:45 AM »
Think those singers were a parody of a real act. There’s at least one other sketch with the quartet singing joke lyrics to ‘Little boxes,’ about how past it they are, and Dustin Gee gets to make allusions to his being blacked up.

The Spinners.

Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #19 on: May 15, 2019, 12:48:59 PM »
The parodies seem to have absolutely no point to them. Certainly the Four Tops one was just "we're pretending to be the Four Tops, but with one of us turning white for a laugh"

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #20 on: May 15, 2019, 12:58:56 PM »
I think this is a parody done well https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1BIyYmyyXqE in this the gags are more specific to the target rather than just generic lyrics that could be about any group.

Shaky

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #21 on: May 16, 2019, 02:21:01 AM »
Abbot's shtick got a lot better, or at least much less shit, once some decent writers joined him (Barry Cryer et al). I remember being in hysterics reading his annual from the early 90's. Some properly crafted, silly gags in that.

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #22 on: May 16, 2019, 01:08:35 PM »
Why did decent writers want to be associated with Russ Abbot?

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #23 on: May 16, 2019, 01:10:21 PM »
Prime time writing credit and money.

Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2019, 01:52:53 PM »
To be fair, Abbot wasn't the worst.
And, let's not forget they were trying to entertain an 80s Saturday night ITV audience, not impress us, scrutinising it at our leisure, 35 years later.
That said: it's still not very good.
It's really not.

Shaky

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2019, 02:38:31 PM »
Why did decent writers want to be associated with Russ Abbot?

Probably to avoid having to write for Bobby Davro.

Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2019, 03:03:29 PM »
Didn't people mind Russ Abbot doing Cooperman - essentially Tommy Cooper - AFTER Cooper had died?
He'd only died eight months before. Gee and Dennis were there when he collapsed.
I'm surprised they didn't scrap the character?

Dr Rock

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2019, 04:31:18 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtFQvHRfSwA&t=381s

This popped up on YouTube because algorythms. It's Freddie Starr's Variety Madhouse so of course Russ is there, but check out the Village People 'parody' that opens the show. One commenter says 'I laughed my head off at the YMCA song..........god knows they couldn't do that now.'

What, poke fun at the Village People?

As well as the unbelievably lazy shitness of the reworking of the song, what's funny? There are two jokes possibly, one man doesn't like the gay man touching him, but then he does. Maybe it was enough to just reference something people knew. But how someone could watch that now and be in howls of laughter, fuck me.


Phoenix Lazarus

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #28 on: May 16, 2019, 04:55:38 PM »
To be fair, Abbot wasn't the worst.
And, let's not forget they were trying to entertain an 80s Saturday night ITV audience

And in its use of humour and parody, no matter how crude, it was arguably a more sophisticated and self-aware TV offering than the likes of Britain's Got Talent.

petrilTanaka

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Re: Russ Abbot's Christmas Special 1984
« Reply #29 on: May 16, 2019, 09:19:24 PM »
Nice bit of early CGI on the LWT logo. Not a patch on the 'toothpaste' 70's version though.

and you can sing "LON-DON WEE-KEND" over the end of it. or "it is! that! ellll! double-yew-tee" for the whole thing