Author Topic: Real people vs scripts  (Read 3853 times)

Real people vs scripts
« on: March 12, 2010, 07:45:52 AM »
Partly inspired by an only partial enjoyment of Bellamy's People I began to think of examples of hilarious documentaries where real people are far funnier than their scripted 'Mockumentary' equivalents. Bearing in mind these films have been through a knowing comedy filter in the form of the filmmaker's brain, and are often 'cut for comedy', I still think they are funnier in general.

One example - I just watched this trailer for a doc about clowns. The 'Legoland' comment at 4.44 killed me.  But its worth watching the whole thing.

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.
Other docs that I found hilarious include 'Grizzly Man'. Especially the moment when the park ranger says he thinks the bears didn't eat Timothy Treadwell sooner because they probably thought he was 'some kind of retarded fellow'- I nearly died laughing at this logic. (I know the film's sad but its fucking funny in places)

And one for the 'better than Spinal Tap' category is 'Hated' the film about naked, bloody, poo-eating punk G.G.Allin. There are so many funny bits in this I cannot believe it.

Can anyone put me onto any more?

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2010, 07:53:11 AM »
This seems like a great idea for a thread.  I LOOOOVE the fake documentary, particularly Bellamy's People and the Victoria Wood "Corrin Huntley" ones.  In fact I just started watching VW As Seen On TV this week, for the first time since broadcast, and was extremely amused by how pissed off the mother was in the first Huntley doc.  Seeing a camera crew being treated with such antipathy ('do THEY want porridge, too?') had more comedic resonance now, than it probably did then.  So, I'm a big fan of the old fake docco.

However, the first real clip that springs to mind is this little beauty:

Your business card is CRAP!

Maybe we could also have scenes from documentaries that inspired bits?

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2010, 10:18:10 AM »
Another Herzog one - "My Best Fiend" has some hilarious footage from Klaus Kinski on his "Jesus" tour, in which he toured German beerhalls arguing that he was the new messiah.

Kinski - Jesus

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2010, 10:42:19 AM »
The best example I can think of was BBC2's weird 'Wonderland' series, specifically the one about the guy who eats roadkill. I sat there spellbound, trying to work out if it was fake or not. I'm still not 100% sure either way, but officially, it was absolutely real.

I edited together the calls this guy got from pranksters here...

The Roadkill Callers

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2010, 11:41:17 AM »
American Movie is fucking hilarious and really worth checking out. The 2 main characters just seem like they'd make great sitcom characters.

Anvil was also pretty damn funny. And that recent documentary Tourettes: I Swear I Can't Help It about John Davidson, that was discussed here quite a bit, as well as being heartbreaking life-affirming stuff, had some of the funniest scenes I've seen for a while. "My dog's got tits!"

Does anyone remember On The Piste? I remember I watched that endlessly as a kid and was rolling on the floor laughing at the guy who couldn't get off the ski lift.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2010, 12:03:07 PM by lipsink »

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2010, 11:55:39 AM »
Wow, some of this stuff is fantastic. Roadkill man is pretty exceptional.

I'll check out 'American Movie'. I also heard 'King of Kong' is really funny, here's the trailer, it looks like the whole thing is on youtube so I'll watch it soon.

The King of Kong: Fistful of Quarters

Who's gonna wheel out Blue Tulip Rose Reid and Geoffrey Leonard then?

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2010, 01:00:48 PM »
Christian de la Mazière - Gallic Shrug Olympian

I've posted this before, but now I have video. This is Christian de la Mazière from the documentary movie The Sorrow and the Pity. Christian was a member of the 1st French Division of the SS, and is talking here about what he did and did not know about the Holocaust. Starting at 1.28, he builds to a record-breaking Gallic shrug (at 1.59), executed with perfection and under heavy pressure from interviewer Marcel Ophuls.

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2010, 01:53:07 PM »
I can't seem to find individual clips, but the roof thatching edition of BBC Two's 'Master Crafts' had professional thatchers who treated their job like it was a national military service. Of course once I had associated 'thatch' with 'vagina', I couldn't stop laughing.

"Yes, I know I'm pretty harsh on their work but at the end of the day I'm not here to make friends... I'm here to make thatches".

It should be on the iPlayer.

Friendly_Milk

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2010, 02:02:39 PM »
The C4 one about the disabled village community had some moments of beautiful comedy - I forget the title.   And it was without being sneery - just fondness because of the genuine humour of the residents.   

The icy extravaganza and shite pavements this January reminded me very much of Katie, the lady constantly afraid of slipping.   I was a bit Katie for a few days due to unsound footwear.   And her distinctive voice made it even funnier.

Also - inspiration - the George/Julia transexual documentary inspiring so much the League of Gents.

'not that it's nicked!'

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2010, 02:07:49 PM »
This was depressingly hilarious, if I remember correctly. I haven't seen it since it was originally shown, but I do remember the subject of the documentary, Figgy Fox, drawing and carefully pencil-shading a suspiciously penis-shaped tree and explaining to the camera that he called it 'The Tree of Frustration'. Someone seeking out a recording here says:

Quote
the show was a classic, a bit like a real life version of Spinal Tap or Bad News.

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2010, 02:14:02 PM »
I also heard 'King of Kong' is really funny, here's the trailer, it looks like the whole thing is on youtube so I'll watch it soon.

It's a good watch, but it's worth bearing in mind that it's pretty much all lies - there're loads of times when it's somewhat economical with the truth and other times when it's out and out deceiptful and manipulative beyond what you could reasonably expect a documentary to be. It's also based on a flawed premis about who holds the record for the DK high score.

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2010, 11:34:28 PM »
Holy shit, I found the 'Figgy Fox' stuff mentioned above by Jutl. Its all on youtube.

Here is the 'tree of frustration' and other drawings by Figgy, my favourite is 'Brewers Droop' in which a wilting penis drinks lager through a straw.

"its a shame, the guy obviously had talent" Alan Partridge.

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

Serge

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2010, 11:45:18 PM »
There was a great documentary a few years ago called (I think) 'Alien Big Cats' in which Danny Nineham, a self-styled expert on so-called Big Cats - i.e. mysterious panthers seen wandering around the moorlands of Britain and the like - was visited by a Canadian fur trapper, to see what he made of the traces left behind by these, er, supernatural creatures. During the course of the documentary it became clear that Nineham was absolutely unhinged on the subject, and willing to believe any sighting that came his way, including one about a young boy who'd allegedly been attacked by a panther and had bite marks on his arm to prove it.

Anyway, the fur trapper came over, and in every instance pointed out that the tracks and traces that Nineham believed were Big Cats were more than likely made by normal sized dogs. In one particularly delirious sequence, the trapper was walking through woodland pointing at the traces and saying, "Dog. Dog. Dog." He also pointed out that if a young boy had been attacked by a panther, he'd be likely to have sustained worse injuries than the boy in question had. Meanwhile, Nineham had to stand by fuming, getting more and more pissed off as the trapper demolished his lifes work. Sadly, at no point did he say, "I've wasted my life," and is still at it to this day.

A quick search on Youtube has failed to find any clips, but maybe you might have better luck searching it out.

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2010, 01:03:23 AM »
I'd recommend the Discovery channel series 'Solving History with Olly Steeds' which as the title suggests is ridiculous pish.

Every week Olly dashes around the planet like a pumped Alan Partridge searching for mythical artifacts and places such as the Ark of the Covenant or El Dorado trying to pass off the theories and idle gossip of yokels as hard evidence and somehow managing to annoy or offend practically everyone he meets (even though few of them speak the same language).

My favourite bit is at the end of the first episode when Olly meets a toothless old African bloke who claims to have the Ark of the Covenant in the shed behind him but for some reason he wont let Olly have a quick peek inside leaving him to do a piece to camera where he goes though the 'evidence' and rather sheepishly tries to suggest that just because he can't get in to see the Ark that doesn't necessarily mean it's not there.


I'd also recommend the Austin Stevens nature docs. He's the big blond South African twat who hunts down the worlds deadliest snakes and then fucks with them until they attack.
If you remember that old South Park episode where Cartman goes round playing 'Steve Irwin' by jumping on animals and sticking his thumb up their arse then it's pretty much that, but with snakes.

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2010, 02:25:24 AM »
There was a Dispatches documentary a while back about the Taliban in Afghanistan. They had an undercover cameraman reporting on all aspects of the insurgents' lives. Of course it wasn't wall-to-wall hilarity by a long chalk, but there a few moments that were so absurd that they verged on comical. For example, the fighters were preparing for battle; cleaning their guns etc., but also getting haircuts and trimming their beards. There was a tough Taliban fighter moaning at his barber to tie the sheet tight around his neck so the hairs didn't go down his back.

Later they planted a roadside bomb, which failed to detonate (about 35 minutes in). The Coalition troops drive past unarmed, after which the insurgents start passing the buck, and generally bickering like children - with one blaming the other for the detonator being faulty, the other blaming the first for the bomb being faulty. They squabble over which button to press on the detonator ("Are you saying I broke it?!"), and start fumbling around with it to see what's wrong, Wile E Coyote style. We hear the sound of a huge blast in the background. "Did it blow..?" one of them asks. It was like something out of Four Lions (or at least what I imagine Four Lions will be like).

The rest of the documentary is quite serious, naturally.

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2010, 02:46:13 AM »
I just watched the most recent episode of The Marriage Ref, produced by Seinfeld, partially out of morbid curiousity, but mostly due to the fact Larry David was one of the three panellists (the other two being Madonna and Ricky Gervais, who, oddly enough, came off quite well). The show consists of them being shown footage of a marriage and then voting with the presenter as to how to solve the problem. Larry David was exactly as he is in Curb - I've seen interviews with him where he's come off completely different and far more humble and reserved, but in this show - which, they all agreed at one point or another, was an utterly bizarre and stupid concept - Larry David was...Larry. Very funny for it though.

There's a few clips on youtube, but the main part that reveals Larry as 'Larry' I can't find, but near the end of this clip it starts to come through.
The Marriage Ref Episode 3 Part 1 - guests: Madonna, Ricky Gervais, Larry David - 03/11/10

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2010, 08:57:35 AM »
Why has no-one mentioned The Armstrongs yet? Because it's too obvious, or because it may actually have been scripted? I wish there were some better videos on YouTube:

The Armstrongs

The christmas party one was bleaker/better. I think the BBC wanted to make a third fly-on-the-wall documentary but they refused after seeing the reactions the first two got.

I was a big fan of Bad Lads' Army, in which a bunch of teenage car thieves/drug addicts/babyfathers were sent for a few weeks of 1950s-style national service. It was basically [noembed]the Captain Clyde Jackson bit[/noembed] from the Brass Eye 'Crime' episode, but for a whole hour, every week. Sgt. Rae was a legend, in this episode I was half expecting him to reveal The Brass Moustache:

Bad Lads Army - Sgt Rae (White Glove/ Dung Smuggler)

"Look at you now, you're a gentleman! When you came here you were a CHAV! What were you?"
"A chav, sir."

Maybe it was a bit scripted too but I've been told by ex-army types that Sgt-Majors are that funny in real life and the whole point is to make it difficult for the Privates as they try not to laugh. The one where a female member of staff checked the barracks to see if anyone had been wanking was great, she reported to Sgt. Rae with a used tissue and "I HAVE FOUND EVIDENCE OF MAN-JUICE, SIR", which led him to interrogate one of the Bad Lads with "What do you do when you get the urge?"

Bingo Fury

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2010, 11:10:55 AM »
The one I'd love to see again is a BBC documentary following Kenneth McKellar on a tour round the Highlands, by the end of which he was clearly regretting ever allowing a camera crew anywhere near such a catastrophe. One member of his troupe had a heart attack and had to be ambulanced off, another couple sneaked off the tour in the dead of night ... anything that could go wrong did go wrong, and McKellar was left trying to look like a man of authority and control while everything collapsed around him. The tone of the voice-over was the cherry on a cake of humiliation.

As far as I know, it was only shown once because McKellar managed to secure an injunction to prevent it ever being repeated. Can't find any reference to it on Google (not being able to remember the title doesn't help) and, unless I'm very much mistaken, even IMDB is pretending it didn't happen.

I did use to know someone who had a VHS copy he said he would dub off for me, but it never happened.

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2010, 11:21:43 AM »
The C4 one about the disabled village community had some moments of beautiful comedy - I forget the title.   And it was without being sneery - just fondness because of the genuine humour of the residents.   
That's The Strangest Villiage in Britain. It's truly bizarre and hilarious and completely absurd. It's one of my favourite documentaries of this type really.

"Often when you walk you lift one leg up like that, why do you do that?"
"Oh, stylishly to declare myself from all the rest. It's a new fashion, a new style and all that"

I adore the documentary a huge amount, I'd forgotten about it though and I'm glad you've made me remember it again.

The entire episode is available here - http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=1357766625

The Wonderland roadkill episode is also quite good, especially seeing him demonstrate the collection of roadkill collected in a freezer.

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2010, 12:34:54 PM »
i'm trying to remember what it was called so that i can find some clips to put up... did anyone else see the ITV docu following a young, Sterling-based heavy metal band as they prepared for the biggest gig of their lives? They were managed by the drummer's pushy father who would criticize their singing and bellow their awful teen lyrics into their faces in an operatic fashion and give them incomprehensible pep talks "You've just got to rock it... don't let your instruments be bigger than you". The singer's mother was overly supportive and printed off logos for the band in which she mis-spelled their name 'Hatred'. Other memorable scenes included auditions for a bassist, and the guitarist buying an FX peddle "is it definitely loud and rocking?". I taped it when it was repeated years ago, must find it and have it digitised, if it hasn't been already.

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2010, 02:18:36 PM »
i'm trying to remember what it was called so that i can find some clips to put up... did anyone else see the ITV docu following a young, Sterling-based heavy metal band as they prepared for the biggest gig of their lives? They were managed by the drummer's pushy father who would criticize their singing and bellow their awful teen lyrics into their faces in an operatic fashion and give them incomprehensible pep talks "You've just got to rock it... don't let your instruments be bigger than you". The singer's mother was overly supportive and printed off logos for the band in which she mis-spelled their name 'Hatred'. Other memorable scenes included auditions for a bassist, and the guitarist buying an FX peddle "is it definitely loud and rocking?". I taped it when it was repeated years ago, must find it and have it digitised, if it hasn't been already.

Hmm, not sure I remember that one, but it has reminded me of "In Bed With Chris Needham". Pure hilarity from beginning to end.

In Bed With Chris Needham (Part One)

"Look at this Graham! I'm parked beyond this point, I could get into trouble now!"
"I'm not Graham."


padougy

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2010, 03:53:57 PM »
Saw Jesus Camp on More4 a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it.

jesus camp trailer

It does make you squirm to see crying children being brainwashed so brazenly, but there are really, really funny bits too - like when the woman walks around the auditorium blessing equipment so they won't fail.

"In Jesus's name we will have working microphones!"

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2010, 05:51:03 PM »
One of my favourite bits from American Movie:

It's Alright! It's OK! Uhhhh....

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2010, 06:09:39 PM »
That's The Strangest Villiage in Britain. It's truly bizarre and hilarious and completely absurd. It's one of my favourite documentaries of this type really.

"Often when you walk you lift one leg up like that, why do you do that?"
"Oh, stylishly to declare myself from all the rest. It's a new fashion, a new style and all that"

I adore the documentary a huge amount, I'd forgotten about it though and I'm glad you've made me remember it again.

The entire episode is available here - http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=1357766625

Thank you so much for reminding me about this. I urge everyone to watch it, it's wonderful.

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2010, 06:14:36 PM »
Err, isn't this supposed to be comedy related? We're in danger of veering towards the 'best docs ever' thread in Picture Box here!

Why has no-one mentioned The Armstrongs yet? Because it's too obvious, or because it may actually have been scripted?

It's the first one I thought of, to be honest but didn't mention it, I don't know why. It was a fascinating collection of shows though, again it made me wonder whether it was actually real or whether the editors just had a knack for what works comedically. Some of did seem a bit forced, but that ridiculously prolonged metaphor in the video you posted was excellent.

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2010, 12:17:15 AM »
Hmm, not sure I remember that one, but it has reminded me of "In Bed With Chris Needham". Pure hilarity from beginning to end.

In Bed With Chris Needham (Part One)

"Look at this Graham! I'm parked beyond this point, I could get into trouble now!"
"I'm not Graham."
That is brilliant, had never heard of it before- I particularly like the footage of him together with his deadpan girlfriend, and his subsequent bout of 'depression'. It's depressing to look at his myspace page though.

You will definitely like this docu, it's the one I was meaning(not sure if the second half is up, and it appears the first has just been added): http://www.veoh.com/collection/documentariesonline/watch/v149037042GCQpnP9
It's fucking hilarious.

Blue Jam

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Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2010, 12:19:15 AM »
Skulls of Administration...

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #27 on: March 15, 2010, 01:13:54 AM »
Skulls of Administration...
hah! i'd never noticed that bit before. The whole thing only really takes off around the 8 minute mark, but that scene is just completely exquisite. Very Gervasian.

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #28 on: March 15, 2010, 01:28:49 AM »

Re: Real people vs scripts
« Reply #29 on: March 15, 2010, 11:48:26 AM »
This "Medinner" clips springs to mind...

Medinner s4 ep02- The Bear Suit

Medinner s4 ep02- The Bear Suit 2

but then again, most of "In Bed With Medinner" could apply for this.

I downloaded the GG Alin doc last year, but I haven't built up the courage to watch it yet...

maybe I will this afternoon?