Recently, my mother told me about a New year’s Eve tradition in which my German relatives partake. At some point during the evening, they watch a sketch called Dinner For One (also known as The 90th Birthday) and laugh their collective asses off. It seems that they are not the only ones enjoying this brilliantly done bit of British physical comedy. This sketch is known as a New Year’s Eve tradition in many countries other than Germany including, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and South Africa to name but a few. Ironically, it never really took off in Britain. Sadly, it has yet to take off in North America, but I hope to remedy that, in some small way, by showing it here. Dinner For One was originally written for the theatre in the 1920’s and first filmed for television in 1963 as a one shot/take 18 minute sketch. That it was done in one take without an edit just serves to make it that much more brilliant. So, without further ado, may I present, Freddie Frinton and May Warden in the original black and white version of Dinner For One in English with introduction by Heinz Piper in German (the sketch begins at the 2 minute 23 second mark).
The sketch was so popular that there have been many versions performed along with several parodies, most notably (and recently) one in which the heads of Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy are superimposed upon those of the original actors’ and the dialogue deals with the Euro zone Debt Crisis. In 1999 German television station, NDR colorized it, presumable to bring it more up to date.
I hope you enjoyed this bit of proof that, yes Germans do have a sense of humour after all.
Here’s wishing you and yours a prosperous New Year with a picture from last year’s New Year’s blog.
HAPPY CANADA DAY! I am concluding Canada week with a salute to Canadian comedians through the years.
The cast of SCTV
When I was little, there was a Canadian comedy duo that helped shape my sense of humour as it is today. These men called themselves Wayne and Shuster. Here is one of my favourite, and one of their most famous sketches.
In my teens, the Canadians who made me laugh were a group of comics from Toronto’s Second City troop who did a show called SCTV. Starring many comics who are still enjoying illustrious careers like Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara and Harold Ramis, SCTV was a great showcase for Canadian talent. SCTV is also responsible for launching the career of the late, great John Candy. Below are a few of my favourite characters in action.
In my 20’s I was watching and laughing with, The Kids In The Hall. With a nod to Monty Python, the sketch comedy of the Kids in the Hall was often ridiculous in premise, but was always funny. Here are some of my favourite moments from the show.
Stand up comedy has also given us some fantastic Canadian talent. I would be remiss if I didn’t include some of my favourites.
Then there are the comedic actors from Canada… and there are many. Enjoy these clips of some of the best.
Here’s hoping you are all smiling this Canada Day.
I’m past the age where I go to see movies in the theater. Instead I wait for them to come out On Demand (if I’m really looking forward to seeing it) or on cable. When the movie Bridesmaids first came out, the chatter about this movie was overwhelmingly positive. It touted an all female ensemble cast, which is rare for a comedy. It was written by two female writers, which, to my feminist sensibilities, was encouraging. I admit to being unfamiliar with Kristen Wiig… I stopped watching Saturday Night Live long before they began calling it SNL… still, all in all,I had relatively high hopes for this movie.
What a complete waste of 125 minutes of my life. This movie was a slap in the face to me as a woman and a complete insult to my intelligence. I will say this movie would have been palatable if the actresses were still in their early twenties. A younger age would have somewhat excused the behavior of the characters. Women in their mid to late thirties acting like jealous teenagers is, not only unseemly, but UNFUNNY.
Take the lead character of Annie, granted her life is a mess, but wouldn’t you think she could step back and allow her best friend’s wedding to be about… oh, I don’t know… HER BEST FRIEND? Instead she whines and moans and engages in a jealous feud with her friend’s other friend like a child would. I understand that women nearing 40 want people to think they are younger than their age, but there’s absolutely no need to surrender your last scrap of dignity and act like a 2 year old with a case of the ‘mines’. If I were the bride, it would not have taken me more than 5 minutes to cut this woman from my bridal party. Melissa McCarthy’s character was cute, and I generally like her as an actress, but this part was not worthy of an Oscar nomination.
It’s bad enough when movies show women in a jealous feud over a man, but over a friend? Most people by the time they reach their late 30’s have grown past this kind of behavior. I guess that’s why it’s supposed to be ‘funny’. Unfortunately, the very behavior they are lampooning in this movie is the kind of behavior that girls in their teens will think it is normal to exhibit when they hit 35 because of movies like this.
I would think that two female writers who wanted to make a movie about women could come up with something a little more aspirational and a little less insulting. Or maybe I am being naive to think that such a movie would get the funding in the first place.
I’m a geek for The Big Bang Theory. I’ve seen every episode multiple times. Usually when a sit-com adds a new character, especially a new love interest, the show’s quality plummets. When Mayim Bialik joined the cast of The Big Bang Theory as Amy Farrah Fowler, the show got so much funnier. The chemistry between her and Jim Parsons is unparalleled. To illustrate, I thought I would share my five favourite “Shamy” moments from the past season in the order they aired.
Sheldon and Amy Cuddle
Sheldon asks Amy to be his girlfriend
Sheldon gives Amy a gift (or THE TIARA)
Fun With Flags (or, as I like to call it, HANSEL AND PRETZEL)
It may be the oddest relationship on television, but it works. I can’t wait to see what Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady have up their, oh so creative, sleeves for next season.
Lately I’ve been thinking about comedy. Specifically, comedians who come from different belief systems. I have listed three comics from three different religions and one non- religion in a side by side, by side, by side comparison (that’s four sides), and will be asking for your opinion at the bottom of the post. Enjoy.
I purposefully kept each clip under the 3 and a half minute mark. I didn’t include the most famous comics in each category. I didn’t include clips where the comedians talked specifically about their faith (or lack thereof). Now here is where I ask your opinion.
Or favourite, as we spell it in the Great White North.
On twitter I spend most of my time giving out gold stars to my favourite tweets. I’d like to share some of them here. In order to get one of these coveted stars, for me, a tweet must fall into one of several categories…