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July 15, 2024, 12:54:41 AM

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Channel 4 have scheduled a 90 min long Dispatches special with no announced subject yet for Saturday night. Rumour mill's been turning a bit about this over the past day or so.

Could be related to a "big story" that the Sunday Times are also supposedly dropping, could be an apparent exposé of many prominent late 80s/90s/00s comedy types for Me Too-adjacent sleaze and other wrongness.

Or it could just be an overdue final death knell for Dan Wootton by the mainstream. Who knows?

A digital event hosted by World Ethical Data Forum

"Staying smart In A Smart World: How Do We Think About This Computerised World We Live In?"

From October of 2022

Jesus Christ, it's really fucking brilliant, isn't it?

It just struck me a few weeks ago how insanely good it was, and I had an urge to watch it again now. Lots of stuff I'd never fully appreciated before or which just flew past me like "may contain wine", "Beyonce is my spirit animal", a bobblehead of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

"Latte foam art... tiny pumpkins... fuzzy, comfy socks"

It's just so on the nose, I adore it.


Spoiler alert
I'm just here to sort of fill in at the start of the day to pad the day out, because there's not much going on. Steve Barclay seems to have sorted out the crisis in general practice by deciding that you can't have a crisis in general practice if general practice doesn't exist.

He also seems to realise that you can tell patients anything because he's not going to be here in 18 months to carry the can. In fact, Wes Streeting is going to have to do that. He's going to have to answer to the service, which will at that time be carried out by Superdrug and children with stethoscopes.

Katie phoned me up and she said, 'Hello, I'm Katie Bramall-Stainer [UK LMCs Conference chair], and I think that Matt Hancock should have his eyes pulled out through Andrew Lansley's arse'. She said, 'I'm chairing the LMC conference and you will be saying a few words at the start.'

And I said, 'Okay, but really, what can I usefully say to a room full of doctors? I don't know anything that they don't know. I can't do that. I'm like a Harley Street GP, I'm not properly qualified.'

She said to say something about being a patient from a patient's point of view. And I said, 'Well, okay, I still consider myself quite lucky because I hardly ever go to the doctor. I don't really feel like a patient.' Which was true at the start of the call.

Three hours later, I had ruptured eardrums. A nosebleed. I felt dizzy. I felt faint. I had stabbing chest pains. Breathlessness. It was very much like the time I phoned Babylon and they diagnosed trigger thumb.

Actually, I should say I'm worse than under-qualified to speak to you, because both of my parents were GPs. So my idea of your job is that all you have to do is say, 'Leave it alone, and it'll get better.'

I grew up in a rural practice in the early 1960s. The surgery was in the house, the practice phone rang in the kitchen. It was 24/7 care. At that point, it was a stressful life. My parents' standing orders – what they were paying out – was greater than their combined income, and across the country practices were dropping like flies. It was before The Family Doctor Charter of 1965. Of course, I understood very little about the stress of general practice at that stage, I was two. So one day, on a Sunday, everyone in church got some idea, because when the communion bell rang, I shouted out, 'Bloody phone!'.

So why am I

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Sorry if this has already been posted but I couldn't see it.

Paul Garner interview from two months ago:

He talks about writing for CM and the airport Tannoy pranks, etc.

(Ginger Beard Mark does a nice interview, actually. He's done other favourites like Stewart Lee, Kunt and the Gang, Paul Putner et al)

I was wondering what were the big comedies in the USA just now and whether any have made it to British TV. In the past the UK has seen a lot of big American shows from the 80s and 90s such as Friends, Cheers, Roseanne, and Frasier. More recently, Big Bang Theory is inescapable on E4 and Modern Family was a hit on Sky and is now on some part of the C4 network. Other shows like The Office, and Everybody Loves Raymond are at least known here, even if they've not had the same Channel 4, 9 pm, Friday Night prominence.

But what are Americans watching now? I found a Variety most-watched broadcast TV comedy list from earlier this year:

1 Young Sheldon (CBS)
2 Ghosts (CBS)
3 The Neighborhood (CBS)
4 Bob Hearts Abishola (CBS)
5 United States of Al (CBS)
6 B Positive (CBS)
7 Young Sheldon - repeats (CBS)
8 The Conners (ABC)
9 Abbott Elementary (ABC)
10 The Neighborhood - repeats (CBS)


I've a soft spot for Young Sheldon which is on E4 in the UK; it's not hilarious but it's well-made, inventive, sometimes touching, sometimes pleasantly off-beat.

You may know Ghosts (the remake) and The Conners (Roseanne Without The Racist). I've never seen The Neighbourhood, a fish-out-of-water sitcom where Max "New Girl" Greenfield and Beth "2 Broke Girls" Behrs move next door to Cedric the Entertainer; it's apparently on E4 too. Bob Hearts Abishola is a Chuck "every comedy you hate" Lorre show about a businessman who falls in love with a Nigerian immigrant nurse. United States of Al is about an Afghan immigrant. B Positive is another Chuck Lorre show and apparently has something to do with a kidney transplant but the Wikipedia synopsis makes no sense.

I notice a lot of these shows are about race, which is interesting. And Chuck Lorre (still only a youthful 70) is still king.

So. What is the current state of American network TV comedy? Are any of these shows worth watching? What do they tell us about America? Is all American comedy fishes-out-of-water? Is Chuck Lorre a misunderstood genius?

I was off last week and had a week on the sofa catching up on films and series' I'd fallen behind on.

Decided to see what was new in UK comedy via iPlayer, All4 etc. And really struggled to find anything to catch my interest.

Last really good series I watched was "Ladhood" on iPlayer. Is there anything else out there I'm missing out on? Just want new stuff as I can't keep doing rewatches of Peep Show, The Thick of It and League of Gentlemen forever!

A few people chatting in the Boosh thread got me thinking about where certain shows or comedy "things" fall in our respective "journeys" (for lack of a less pompous term) to becoming probably-more-than-usual fans of comedy. I'm sure the majority of us ended up here because at some point or other we got really into Chris Morris or Cook/Moore, but I'm curious to see how that happened - especially with the diversity of age groups among us.

I'll start by breaking down what I consider to be my most "formative" comedy things I got into at various ages (being in my 30s now):

Age 7-10: Fawlty Towers, Alan Partridge, Blackadder, Father Ted, South Park, Coffee Friends (aye)
Age 11-14: Ali G, Monty Python, The Office/Extras, Peep Show, Lee Evans
Age 15-17: The Mighty Boosh, Stewart Lee
Age 17-20: Chris Morris, Jerry Sadowitz, George Carlin, Doug Stanhope

Of course I've found plenty of other things since then that I would consider important or formative (I didn't get into The League of Gentlemen until I was in my mid-20s!), but I joined CaB when I was around 19 so I think it's fair to say I was already a bit of an obsessive by then.

Let me see yours, please.

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