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July 19, 2024, 09:30:03 AM

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Don't think there was a separate thread on this, and doesn't quite seem right jamming it into one of the Seinfeld threads, but this is released on 6th June so fairly soon. There is an audiobook version narrated by Richards which I will be on like a bag of chips, currently available for pre-order at a discount, no idea if it will come to Audible for a credit, it's not mentioned there yet.

There's a blurb on Amazon, can't comment on the content of the book but he seems to be able to write:

"The hair, so essential, symbolizes the irrational that was and is and always will be the underlying feature not only of Kramer but of comedy itself. This seemingly senseless spirit has been coursing through me since childhood. I've been under its almighty influence since the day I came into this world. I felt it all within myself, especially the physical comedy, the body movements, so freakish and undignified, where I bumped into things, knocked stuff down, messed up situations, and often ended up on my ass.

"This book is a hymn to the irrational, the senseless spirit that breaks the whole into pieces, a reflection on the seemingly absurd difficulties that intrude upon us all. It's Harpo Marx turning us about, shaking up my plans, throwing me for a loop. Upset and turmoil is with us all the time. It's at the basis of comedy. It's the pratfall we all take. It's the unavoidable mistake we didn't expect. It's everywhere I go. It's in the way that I am, both light and dark, good and not-so-good. It's my life."

One of the many treasures uploaded this week by Bill Matthews on his amazing YT channel is Michael Palin's Comic Roots from 1983 including him listening to The Goon Show with Spike Milligan in a recreation of his childhood front room and then being a joyous fanboy.

There's so much sound left over from NOBA:
And that's not even all.

But wouldn't you know it, there's three, four sketches from S1E5 that exist as mute film: Something about a commercial/job offer, catching the bus, canvassing Dracula... Dudley in the shower...
But no audio tracks to be found!

Or am I wrong?

Not sure I've ever seen this before, looks cracking:

He also has this fascinating video:

QuoteI'm not quite sure how I got hold of this.... A very hard to find recording of the 1977 Cambridge Footlights Revue called Tag!, which was televised on BBC2. It stars a beardless Rory McGrath, future Cold Feet star Robert Bathurst, future Artisitc Director of the National Theatre (now Sir) Nicholas Hytner, future Hat-Trick MD Jimmy Mulville, future Hollywood producer Martin Bergman, plus Paul Hudson and Carrie Simcocks (not sure what happened to them). The show was directed by Griff Rhys Jones, who was one of the writers, along with Bergman, McGrath, Mulville and Hytner. The music was by my future boss at Talkback, Peter Fincham.

This might be an odd thread for me to start, as I generally dislike late-night talk shows and never watched any of Conan's, just a bunch of his pre-recorded skits, and occasional interviews or segments.

Of those, the clear standouts were his videos with show producer Jordan Schlansky; a pretentious, deadpan individual who obviously plays a heightened version of his real persona on camera, ala Karl Pilkington.

This in turn led me to Conan's current podcast, Conan O'Brien Needs A Friend, which really highlights Conan's ability to improvise extended bits that sound fully formed.

To be honest, I've always had a bit of a fascination with Conan, purely because of the reverential way Simpson's writers/producers talked about his time on that show. He wrote "New Kid on the Block", "Marge vs. the Monorail", and "Homer Goes to College". And apparently, he'd machine gun jokes at the writer's room, while acting out bits and climbing over furniture.

You can see that same energy, that same need to perform, in his podcast too. The man has a compulsive need to make people laugh.

Anyway, I thought with The Simpsons, the talk show and the podcast, there might be a thread in Conan. Any thoughts?


He's strong to the finish cos he eats his spinach.

So, CaB. What's up with Popeye? Let's talk about the comedy of Popeye.

He's a sailor man. You know... for kids.

As a kid, I was fond enough of Popeye but I never really understood it. Thinking about it now, I still don't. Popeye was just... on. My dad seemed to like it.

Apparently, he started out as a newspaper comic strip. Which makes sense. He doesn't look like anything designed for kids really.

But he was on TV a lot and it seemed (to me) to be for kids. I could tell he was extremely popular before I was born. Watching Popeye cartoons felt like joining in with older people, or a lesson in history or something.

Is Popeye funny? I am not against Popeye. He was far from my favourite cartoon character but I didn't dislike him. Popeye was alright. He eats his spinach.

And when he eats spinach he becomes supernaturally strong, usually in order to "saves" his love interest, Olive Oyl, from the would-be kidnapper-rapist Bluto.

Why is Bluto in a humorous kids' show? He's horrible.

Why is Olive Oyl like that? All gawky and silly? Is the joke that she's not the typical damsel in distress or something?

What is Wimpy? "I'll gladly pay your Tuesday for a hamburger today." Okay, no sweat Wimpy, you got it. Wait, is this a joke in some way?

My dad really liked Wimpy, as seemingly did most of his generation and his parents' generation. They fondly nicknamed a plane after him in the war. He seems charming but is he a comedy character? What's funny about borrowing money for food? What's the deal with Wimpy?

Is it funny that the baby is called Sweet Pea? Is he Popeye's baby or what? From a previous relationship? Is Popeye a shagger? Does spinach put wowser in your trouser?

I remember "the Goon" from an '80s spinoff cartoon called Olive and Goon, apparently a segment from something called The All New Popeye Hour though I don't remember anything else about that. Olive and Goon are in the military for some reason and aren't very good at it. It had M*A*S*H vibes. Goon is also called Alice sometimes and speaks in a nonsense "what-nip-nip-what" language that we can't understand but Olive can, like Han and Chewie. Actually, I liked Goon. Goon was entertaining to me as a kid.

Please share your Popeye memories, understandings, analyses and theories.



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New on Apple TV at the end of the month, I am pumped for this:

There was a bit of a Peter Cook night on BBC4 at the weekend and the shows are on iPlayer

Parkinson: The Interviews - Peter Cook (1995) will be up for "over a year"

Talking Comedy - Pete & Dud (2015) on until the end of March

I hadn't seen the latter before and there are some real rarities there like an interview with them on the set of Hound of the Baskervilles.

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