You Gotta Laugh

Scene from the BBC comedy, Beautiful People
Scene from the BBC comedy, Beautiful People

“It could have come to blows”, I thought to myself as I watched two people I know have quite an animated conversation about an issue they both feel passionately about.

Well, that’s an exagerration I guess, as they’re both extremely polite people, and they both had the chance to state their case, without really wanting to get into a fight.

After all, we were there to celebrate a mutual friend and colleague’s birthday.

The issue which nearly brought us all into tears, though was our respective sense of humours.

I’d offered the opinion that an allegedly Australian comic genius was actually quite loathesome, and completely unfunny.

It’s not a popular opinion to express amongst a group of people in society who think he’s Australia’s answer to John Cleese. You know who I’m talking about don’t you?

I, on the other hand expressed the view that Tracey Ulmann’s new series was genuine comic genius, a view that went down like a tonne of bricks.

I had an allie, though, so I didn’t feel so bad as my sense of humour was universally condemned.

Anyway, this week I’ve also discovered “Beautiful People”, a reasonably new comedy series from the BBC about an English “window dresser” living in New York.

The first episode which I think is still available through the ABC’s Iview is about him growing up gay in a fairly suburban environment. There were lots of laughs, but also lots of touching moments. Highly recommended.

And I guess that’s what sums up my sense of humour. I like humour with humanity. I’m not much one for humour for comedy sake. I’ve never been one for slapstick or witty word-plays, though I can appreciate both. No, I like humour with a sadness tinged to it, and characters which show genuine humanity.

I guess that’s why so many of those Sunday night UK sitcoms currently getting a run on Foxtel are favourites of mine. Absolutely Fabulous. Yes Prime Minister. The Vicar of Dibley. Even “On The Buses”. All of the characters are actually quite believable.

And that’s why I don’t find the particular comedian we were talking about to be funny. It’s “clever humour”, not genuine humour in my view.

And don’t get me started about the impact he had on Seachange! I could barely watch it.

8 responses to “You Gotta Laugh”

  1. Actually maybe you’re both right – He might well be Australia’s answer to John Cleese, in that although in his Monty Python and Basil Fawltey days he was hilarious, he’s remarkably unfunny now, which is a shame.

    Anyway, I also discovered Beautiful People. Love it. Also the next two shows after that are worth trying too – can’t remember what they’re called – one about a nerdy guy and his loser flatmate which is quite amusing, and the next one which is a UK politics thing remarkably similar to The Hollowmen (not sure which came first!).

  2. There was a comedian? Ohhhh do you mean the Rob Jelly character?

    Hmmm moving on to Beautiful People. Loved it loved it loved it… and also liked Being Human.

    And Mad Men – though I find myself rising off the couch in umbridge at all the sexism and smoking.


  3. Like Cellobella, I was wondering who the comedian was in Sea Change. I thought the Rob Jelly performer was known as an actor rather than a comedian. (I know that fine comedians by definition are also fine actors.)

    There are a number of ‘successful’ comedians who leave me cold. For example, (American) Will Ferrell, I’m looking at you!

  4. I meant the bloke Laura almost married in the final series, before she realised life was meant to be with Max. OK, I mean Shaun Micallef.

  5. A late comment.

    I didn’t watch ‘Seachange’ carefully or often enough to realise you meant SM. I don’t think I was its target audience and couldn’t stand Sigrid. Of course, for all I know, she could be a lovely person, privately.

    I think SM is funny sometimes, sometimes not. He is handsome and has comic charisma but as a comedian I presume he is a creature in part of his scriptwriters. Remember someone is putting the money up and scripts are a protection (or so it is thought) to the risk-averse.

    When SM was most recently on SBS (was that last year?) I thought his material uneven. A lot of it was a difficulty in setting a consistent tone. This may also be script-related.

    I gather he’s now gone more mainstream, ie commercial. Who can blame him?

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