Smart Comics

There is not much I miss about England any more, mostly because my memories are fading and I’ve forgotten what I am supposed to be missing but it’s partly because a lot of the things I used to miss are now available over here. I can get twiglets and marmite and bounty and decent beer and I can watch ManU any time I like.

But every now and again, I find myself missing English-style comedy – by which I mean the cuttingly observant, slightly absurd but extremely smart comedy in the style of Monty Python, Pete and Dud and Not the Nine O’ Clock News and Spitting Image.

There is a little bit of it over here with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert but, especially when I left England in the early 90s there was a huge resurgence in brilliantly smart comics like Fry and Laurie and Jack Dee and Newman and Baddiel and Paul Merton and Frank Skinner – they were everywhere.

It’s a little bit weird that when English comedy does cross the Atlantic, it’s the crap mainstream obvious stuff like Are You Being Served or Benny Hill and hardly ever the good stuff. And when a good one makes it, it’s usually the weaker half of a duo – Dudley Moore came, Peter Cook stayed; Tracey Ullman came (OK third of a trio), Lenny Henry stayed – or he does something crap like Mr Bean. Did you know that most Americans think that Rowan Atkinson is Mr Bean!

A few years ago, I got my fix with Eddie Izzard and have since watched all of his shows. Up next is Bill Bailey.

Why wasn’t I informed before?

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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