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Playing cards in comedy

Started by Fambo Number Mive, November 22, 2021, 01:45:41 PM

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Fambo Number Mive

Most of us will remember the Only Fools and Horses episode A Royal Flush and I'm currently watching a clip from "Home James" (which is the latest show being discussed on the Hit or Shit Com podcast, so I thought I'd check it out before listening) where a group of chauffers are playing cards and I don't have a clue what they are talking about.

I was wondering, are there any other examples of the game of cards being used as humour, and would it be fair to say that humour around the game of cards is less common in comedy these days?

Outside of Patience and Snap, I don't really know any card games.

Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

"One Card Slam it is. OH! Twelve quid!"

DrGreggles


Petey Pate

The Go Johnny Go Go Go Go! sketch from League of Gentlemen immediately comes to mind.


Bad Ambassador

There's an SNL sketch about a high school TV station, which runs a commercial for the school magic circle.

Two "teenagers" in magic robes, one unfurls a deck of cards, the other takes one.

"I'm sure you'll agree that we are... [holds up four of diamonds] the King of Clubs!"

Petey Pate

Quote from: Fambo Number Mive on November 22, 2021, 01:45:41 PMI was wondering, are there any other examples of the game of cards being used as humour, and would it be fair to say that humour around the game of cards is less common in comedy these days?

The latest series of On Cinema begs to differ.


Captain Z

Yeah, I can't see anything being better than that LOG sketch.

A whole episode of The Friends is based around Chandler inventing the card game "Cups" in order to give Joey money without making him feel like he's being pitied. Of course, Joey then loses the money playing Ross at the same game. It's actually quite funny.

ajsmith2

Quote from: Fambo Number Mive on November 22, 2021, 01:45:41 PMI was wondering, are there any other examples of the game of cards being used as humour, and would it be fair to say that humour around the game of cards is less common in comedy these days?


The funniest comedy scene involving playing cards I've ever seen aired just last week!

https://www.cookdandbombd.co.uk/forums/index.php?topic=30097.2580


Petey Pate

This clip from a Bugs Bunny cartoon has a number of textbook card jokes, I recall the 'cut the cards' gag being used in a live-action silent comedy, though it works better here cause animation allows it to be timed much sharper and be less belaboured.


Ignatius_S

Quote from: Petey Pate on November 22, 2021, 02:38:53 PMThis clip from a Bugs Bunny cartoon has a number of textbook card jokes, I recall the 'cut the cards' gag being used in a live-action silent comedy, though it works better here cause animation allows it to be timed much sharper and be less belaboured.

It's features in Horse Feathers - Harpo is watching two card players in a speakeasy; one says cut the cards and before the other can responds, Harpo pulls out a hatchet and does just that. Very neatly timed, but probably what makes it work so well is him being a spectator who suddenly makes an intervention.

Petey Pate

Quote from: Ignatius_S on November 22, 2021, 02:48:43 PMIt's features in Horse Feathers - Harpo is watching two card players in a speakeasy; one says cut the cards and before the other can responds, Harpo pulls out a hatchet and does just that. Very neatly timed, but probably what makes it work so well is him being a spectator who suddenly makes an intervention.

Ah thanks, I must have conflated it with a silent comedy because it was a Harpo scene. Not the first and only example of Bugs Bunny borrowing from the Marx Brothers, the line 'of course, you know this means war' is a direct steal from Groucho. On the other hand, plenty of routines and jokes that the Marx Brothers used probably originate from long-forgotten vaudeville acts. 

Speaking of the Marx Brothers, there's another playing card joke with Groucho in Duck Soup - 'You can keep it. I got fifty one left!'. 


Ignatius_S

Quote from: Fambo Number Mive on November 22, 2021, 01:45:41 PMMost of us will remember the Only Fools and Horses episode A Royal Flush...

I was wondering, are there any other examples of the game of cards being used as humour, and would it be fair to say that humour around the game of cards is less common in comedy these days?...

A Losing Streak is possibly a stronger example from OFAH? In that episode, a lot of the humour is derived from Del's hubris, which is typical of how card games are used in sitcoms - it's a good situation to place the characters in and humour will be derived from, rather than the situation being inherently humorous.

The Full House episode of Steptoe and Son - like A Losing Streak, a character won't listen to wider heads but, at the end, the (card) table has turned.

The Phil Silvers Show referenced cards a lot for comedy reasons and there, the humour was from what it said about Bilko's character and what we knew about it. In The Con Men episode, a crooked poker game was used a main element but the comedy came from Bilko pretending to act dumb and outplaying the cheaters (thanks to the Bilko shuffle). With all of those examples, no actual knowledge of the game in question is needed.

The Witches of East Arlen from King of the Hill utilises an interesting card game set-up. Bobby its encouraged by Hank to get into cards, which could be 'his thing' but rather than getting a pack of playing cards, buys a tarot deck.

icehaven

Quote from: Captain Z on November 22, 2021, 02:02:22 PMYeah, I can't see anything being better than that LOG sketch.

A whole episode of The Friends is based around Chandler inventing the card game "Cups" in order to give Joey money without making him feel like he's being pitied. Of course, Joey then loses the money playing Ross at the same game. It's actually quite funny.

There's also the earlier poker episode where the girls lose against the boys, then they get Monica's aunt to teach them, and Ross ends up letting Rachel win when she doesn't get a job she wanted.

Fambo Number Mive

Sorry, I got my episode titles confused, was thinking of the Del Boy and Boycie poker game but got the titles muddled up - you are correct, A Losing Streak is the best example.


Ignatius_S

Quote from: Petey Pate on November 22, 2021, 02:59:43 PMAh thanks, I must have conflated it with a silent comedy because it was a Harpo scene. Not the first and only example of Bugs Bunny borrowing from the Marx Brothers, the line 'of course, you know this means war' is a direct steal from Groucho. On the other hand, plenty of routines and jokes that the Marx Brothers used probably originate from long-forgotten vaudeville acts. 

Speaking of the Marx Brothers, there's another playing card joke with Groucho in Duck Soup - 'You can keep it. I got fifty one left!'. 

It's practically silent!

There must be quite a few playing card jokes in the Marx Brothers - there's a game of bridge in Animal Crackers and in another (Horse Feathers, possibly when Groucho is giving a lecture) is conflates a dental bridge with the card game... all in the telling!

Ignatius_S

Quote from: Fambo Number Mive on November 22, 2021, 03:25:30 PMSorry, I got my episode titles confused, was thinking of the Del Boy and Boycie poker game but got the titles muddled up - you are correct, A Losing Streak is the best example.

As I say, it's a quite a while since I saw A Royal Flush - I couldn't remember cards featuring, but wouldn't have sworn to it and didn't want to assume you had misremembered.... particularly, as it might have been me to have done that!

The Crumb

Loads of times in the Simpsons, especially poker. The mobsters playing poker and the 'Six Queens... Not so fast-seven Queens' springs immediately to mind.

There's also the poker scene in Peep Show, with Mark being risk averse and Jeremy blithely winning by accident.

Perhaps more card trick than game centred, but Ricky Jay was excellent at card magic with a comedic angle. There's a really fun special of his on YouTube l.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: The Crumb on November 22, 2021, 03:35:18 PMLoads of times in the Simpsons, especially poker. The mobsters playing poker and the 'Six Queens... Not so fast-seven Queens' springs immediately to mind...

Yeah, I was about to say that in The Simpsons, in Secrets of a Successful Marriage and the episode with Marge becoming a cop, Homer's poker game is a plot device.


Tony Yeboah

Curb Your Enthusiasm where another guy plays a bad move, costs Larry money and Larry calls him a c***.

Petey Pate

There were a couple of Malcolm in the Middle episodes with plots revolving around Hal playing poker with Abe and his buddies.

studpuppet

Police Squad! - the guy in the yellow jacket makes this scene, and also the bit where they start arguing about which hand beats which and no one's really sure. This is me in literally every card game I've played in.


Poirots BigGarlickyCorpse

Black Books has an episode where Bernard develops a gambling habit that starts with racing and ends with him being threatened by a loan shark after losing all his money at poker. Fran is a card sharp and she and Manny go to the same game, clean everyone out, and use the money to repay Bernard's debts.

Pink Gregory

Lovely touch (by arthur mathews) of her casually mentioning that her grandma taught her how to play, before she shot a man in Reno.

Blue Jam

The poker night in Peep Show of course: "When the going gets tough, it's time to roll out the big potatoes"

Not sure if it counts but there's also an episode of This Country where Kerry and Kurtan are playing Happy Families with Big Mandy and Mandy deals herself extra cards "because I'm the oldest- I didn't make the rules, those are the rules".

The Netflix Mr. Show reboot w/Bob and David also has a sketch where everyone's discussing their New Year's Resolutions over a card game. The one where developing a smartphone which outsells the iPhone and becoming the first Jewish pope are considered more achievable than giving up red meat.

Funland also has a plot driven by one character racking up a load of debt from playing poker but while that's a dark comedy that bit isn't really played for laughs.

Steven88

Mildred from One Foot in the Grave hung herself during a game of Happy Families.

Gurke and Hare

There's a poker episode of Friends, with the surprising title The One With All the Poker, where someone's aunt (I'm thinking Phoebe but I can't be sure) teaches the girls to play poker so they can beat the boys.

Also a reference in a Blackadder the Third episode, in which Prince George plays an exciting new game called "cards", the object of which is to give all your money away.

BeardFaceMan

I remember there being a poker scene in Dream On, I think it was Channel 4 who used to show it. The main reason I remember it is because it turned into strip poker, was the first time I could remember seeing breasts in a sitcom like that. God bless Channel 4 in the 90s.

icehaven

There's an episode of Roseanne where Roseanne's boss comes out at a boys' poker night. I just vaguely remember all the other blokes sitting in stunned silence until one of them says he has a gay relative or friend in Canada and asks if he knows him.