The Enduring Mystery of David Liebe Hart

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with David Liebe Hart, available here.

If you’ve ever spent any time with a toe dipped into Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!then you’re probably aware of David Liebe Hart. His first appearance came in the episode Salame, which heavily featured his music, puppets and thoughts on extra-terrestrial mythology. From there, he’s seen himself cast in numerous editions of that show, as well as various spin-offs, promotional materials and live tours. He’s become an integral part of their universe, whether Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim approve of it or not.…   [continue reading]

Is Netflix the New TV? Not Really

In 1997, Netflix wasn’t formed to disrupt our TV habits, it was formed to support them.

It launched with a library of 925 DVDs. The main thing that separated it from something like Blockbuster (and what eventually ended up allowing Netflix to trump them) is the monthly subscription. All-you-can-eat content, with a much wider selection than traditional TV or cinema.

Netflix Logos

By 2000, Netflix had already declined an acquisition offer of $50 million from a terrified Blockbuster, and then went on to make DVD rentals obsolete with a revolutionary on-demand platform and a discovery algorithm within the space of 6 years.

Using similar tactics to YouTube, and emerging within the same year, Netflix represents the YouTube-ization of television.…   [continue reading]

David Kear Interview: Charlie Chuck, Musical Origins and Montreal Comedy Festival

David Kear is a remarkably unique voice in British comedy. His principle character of Charlie Chuck is an unpredictable powder-keg of visceral joy. Often putting a dark twirl on commonplace Northern activities, his unhinged persona found laughs from discomfort years before better-known contemporaries. In the early 90’s, Kear began to accrue more mainstream fame through television. He first appeared to a wider audience, as Chuck, on Sky Star Search (in 1990), an odd little show fronted by James Whale.

Just three years later, Kear became one of the few recurring characters on The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer. Performing alongside two of the UK’s most exciting and influential comedians of the time, he seemed a fated match.…   [continue reading]

Returning to Royston Vasey: Hype for League of Gentlemen’s Reunion

When The League of Gentlemen first ran on BBC Two, it was alienating to a lot of my fellow nine-year-olds. It was through pure virtue of my father’s high regard that its quotes sneakily entered my vocabulary. At that age, the horror mixed into the show by its creators was a lot more salient. It wasn’t an easy watch, but that’s exactly why its nightmarish characters made their way so carefully into my consciousness. However, its humour gave its terror a release valve. Oddly, even at that formative age, the accuracy of their characters to the England I knew was greater than that of anything else on television.…   [continue reading]

Super Deluxe: Editing as Part of the Art

It was only recently that I wrote about how damaging editing can be to comedy. Often chaining or dulling the creative process, there’s a lot of evidence for its oppressive implications. On the other hand, it’s only fair to discuss how liberating it can be for expression. In fact, creators like Super Deluxe have shown how effective it is when used constructively. There have been hints of it for years. Even Chris Morris, as shackled as he was, could reconstitute existing material into something new and interesting. To finally tie up connections to the previous article in this arc, here’s a prophetic example of Morris doing just that:

Examples go back far further too.…   [continue reading]

A Smark’s Guide to: WWE Fastlane 2017

WWE‘s fledgling Fastlane event is still, in many ways, just finding its feet.  It’s not a bad concept for a Pay-Per-View either, introducing last minute twists and turns to the Road to WrestleMania.  This year, the main point of contention was Kevin Owens‘ Universal Title defence against Goldberg.  With the victor going on to face Brock Lesnar at the imminent WrestleMania, it’s something that the WWE Universe had their eyes set keenly on.  Of course, the finish was always going to end up predictable.  We’ll discuss that in the end but, first, there’s quite an undercard to comb over.…   [continue reading]

Our Cinema/On Cinema Season 9 [REPORT]

Gregg Turkington‘s Our Cinema Oscar Special should have been a triumph.  Instead, Tim Heidecker found a way to derail proceedings regardless of his absence.  It could have been an evening of insightful movie expertise; as we’ve come to expect from its host.  What we ended up with was a travesty.  Of course, Heidecker has a history of live meltdowns.  I had deep hopes that his personal issues wouldn’t fringe on another Oscar Special.  Unfortunately, On Cinema has become nothing more than a kind of therapy for Heidecker.  That his chaos can extend to the cool waters of Turkington’s winning criticism should be a concern for us all.…   [continue reading]

The Best Kept Secrets of British Comedy

The world of British comedy is a rabbit hole you can lose yourself in for life.  Just following a list of long-gone essentials would keep you busy with viewing for some time.  That doesn’t even mention the constant stream of new arrivals who, though watered down, keep us restocked year after year.  There’s an even bigger wellspring of obscurity beyond the surface too, where the fourth wall is of no consequence.  Editspotters, as they call themselves, have made it their solemn duty to explore this abundant vein of intrigue.

Considered an important part in the fight against bullshit and political correctness, editspotting keeps a keen eye on the divine hand behind our much beloved national comedies.  …   [continue reading]

Samurai Jack Season 5 [TRAILER REACTIONS]

I was a mere eleven years of age when Samurai Jack first premiered on Cartoon Network.  Because of this, I can speak with first-hand clarity of its instant obvious quality.  Even at that tender age it smashed out from the screen, leaving its peers far behind with an unbelievable strength of vision.  That’s not even to denigrate the network’s surrounding programming, itself a rich buffet of well-crafted material.  It’s just that Samurai Jack is so singular.  In no way does it ever hand-hold its audience.  Instead, each frame shines with its own beauty, leading us through a slow and quietly crafted narrative.  …   [continue reading]

Louis Theroux [BRITISH NATIONAL TREASURES]

This feature has nothing to do with a blind, xenophobic patriotism.  My wish to highlight the best of my country comes not from a posturing of our superiority.  Such divisions have no place in an evolving world, despite current world leaders having no grasp of that.  Instead, I thought it healthy and helpful to magnify the finest examples of my geographical kin.  After all, it’s not my place to discuss cultures of which I have very little knowledge.  Every town, city, country and land boasts its own cultural pillars, but Louis Theroux is one of the first that comes to mind when it comes to British exports; at least for me.…   [continue reading]