Saturday, 13 February 2010

Schooling The Young 'Uns

As if turning 30 didn't make me feel old enough, I found myself in the tremendously depressing situation last night of discovering one of my newer colleagues is too young to have experienced what I would have considered a formative part of my teenage years: the comedy stylings of Stewart Lee and Richard Herring.

In fairness, they've both been off the radar for a long time now, televisually speaking, until recently at least. Herring has moved into writing whimsical comedy drama in-between starring in shows on the Poker Channel, and Stewart Lee's last TV foray was Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle, which was periodically brilliant and sometimes genuinely new, though not often at the same time (for the record, when you've spent as long as Lee has crafting superior stand-up material to be played to audiences of a few dozen at a time, I've got no problem with the idea of recycling it when you have an opportunity to deliver it to potentially millions of people).

From 1995 to 1999, though, they were twin comedy colossi, casting their satirical, Rory Bremner eyes across the country. I re-watched the first series of Fist Of Fun recently (there were two series, followed in 1998 and 1999 by two series of This Morning With Richard Not Judy AKA Tumwurunjuh AKA TMWRN Judy), and it's genuinely amazing (to say nothing of depressing) how much what I consider humorous follows on directly from their routines (in fairness, since their routine consists of a scathing intellectual snob and a fat, sex-starved blunderer, I can appropriate their material and play both parts).

Since those halcyon days they've mostly been (separately) touring stand up shows, that are frequently very funny indeed. Of the two, I'd have to say Lee is the better (though it may simply be that now time has passed and he's gotten fat too, it's tipped the balance over which of the two I have the greatest chance of emulating in some pathetic, clearly unsatisfactory way), but Herring quite often does the business ("Oh Fuck! I'm Forty" was particularly good.) Thus, for the benefit of my younger readers, here are a few samples of what you've been missing all this time.

Warning: do not watch the clip below if you're still grieving over Princess Di. Or, for that matter, if you'd consider it offensive to hear a British man doggedly referring to 9/11 as "The ninth of November".

So much for the arch, smug half. Onto the childish idiocy.

And one last clip, which is a bit scattershot, but I can't find any clips from "Oh Fuck...", so this will have to do.

And lastly, the two of them together, reliving Tumwurunjuh by shamelessly recycling old material. Because they can.

What, you want new jokes? You want the Moon on a stick!!!


Tomsk said...

Oh no, I remember them too! Periodically brilliant is how I'd describe their old stuff as well - the banter was always great but the sketches a bit too bizarre for my taste. I think that's why I found Tumwrunjuh a disappointment after Fist of Fun.

Chemie said...

Considering we are contemporary it shouldn't be a surprise that I remember it too. Didn't think much of it mind you. I was kind of relieved when my it ended and my Dad stopped watching it.