Vic Berger Interview: Musicality, Editing and Social Media

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Vic Berger, available here.

In a relatively short time, Vic Berger has made a very distinctive name for himself. His editing work for Super Deluxe, while inherently hilarious, has struck a chord with our times. It magnifies the subtle, showing us behind the curtain of celebrity, or presidential, facade. He has a talent for noticing the absurd moments that fly past, which he exaggerates to the point of truth. Often, this is the underlying appeal of his videos.

Their ability to make you laugh is merely a first reaction; a surface tension that quickly reveals a stark and confrontational depth.…   [continue reading]

Tim Heidecker & Neil Hamburger: Live at Gorilla, Manchester [REPORT]

On a neglected side-street of Manchester’s city centre, Gorilla sits quietly in the surrounding sprawl. To its right, past a tunnel perfectly sculpted for a stealthy, drunken evening piss, lies Dog Bowl; a bar teetering on the edge of achingly hipster, offering ten-pin bowling as a cacophonous aperitif to overpriced culinary dirge. Given that even the local trams feature caricatures with Monopoly Man moustaches, it seems an inescapable aesthetic. While the stereotype can cause an itch when you’re handing over double for a Jameson and Coke, it’s a welcoming and, eventually, comfortable world to sparsely visit. Within Gorilla, where that sub-culture seems defined, Tim Heidecker and Neil Hamburger proved, in more ways than one, that assumption is all too often erroneous.…   [continue reading]

Dan Renton Skinner on Anarchic Comedy (SCP Mini)

For our latest SCP Mini (compressed editions of our regular podcasts), we’ve used our interview with Dan Renton Skinner as a source. As someone with a wealth of experience within British comedy, he had much to say on the subject. I took particular interest, when speaking to him, in the anarchic nature of certain comedies of the early 90’s. Thanks to his widespread work with Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, it’s something he clearly understands. In more modern times, some of the punk has disappeared from our national humorists. As Skinner himself notes, they simply don’t allow that aesthetic on syndicated television anymore.…   [continue reading]

Two SCP Minis: David Liebe Hart and Professor Elemental

This week saw the release of two more SCP Minis; compressed editions of our podcasts curated by Benjamin. In these, we’ve drawn from interviews we conducted with David Liebe Hart and Professor Elemental. In certain ways, these act as short-form signposts to the original conversations. That said, we try wherever we can to make sure they stand on their own. Because our guests are often so insightful on a variety of topics, much of their commentary is comfortable in its own context. However, sometimes a guest can be so enigmatic, as a whole, that grander threads appear in their dialogue:

David Liebe Hart on Aliens

When I spoke to Liebe Hart for our podcast, his appearance was so surreal and unique that it birthed a 3,000 word article on the nature of his personality.…   [continue reading]

Dan Skinner Interview: Angelos Epithemiou, Comedy and Media

On the British comedy scene, Dan Renton Skinner can be found in just about every nook and cranny. While he first came to national prominence through his appearances on Shooting Stars, he had a deeply rooted background in entertainment before that. Best known for his character of Angelos Epithemiou, who he portrayed on Shooting Stars, it’s actually a turn he’d been performing for seven years previous. That may help to explain why the persona seemed so well-formed by the time Skinner brought him to the screen.

Aside from his work with Epithemiou, and across the 00’s, he gained considerable experience on shows like My FamilyThe Armstrong & Miller Show and Coupling.…   [continue reading]

The Great Developmental Professor Elemental

This article ties in to a podcast I recorded with Paul Alborough (Professor Elemental), available here.

In our last podcast, we spoke to David Liebe Hart. In that particular case, we had a personality on our hands who’s very difficult to detach from his character. The flip-side of that is a creative whose use of a character is acutely deliberate. That’s precisely the bill that Paul Alborough, best known for his popular Professor Elemental alter-ego, fits in spades. However, Alborough is a vast talent regardless of such construction. He calls to mind an important truth; something we’re all guilty of in an age of information.…   [continue reading]

The Last Joke of the Scene: Sitcoms and Sincerity

Television imitates life. The fact that it’s only an imitation is clearer in a sitcom than any other genre. If you distil TV down to its most basic elements — and then simplify each element further — you’re left with the sitcom.

Many sitcoms break the formula, but the most popular (and sometimes older) shows don’t. The Big Bang Theory, Full House, That 70s Show. Even newer releases like The Ranch. They are in the usual form of television but predigested and tidied up to the point where any mystery, crisis, tension or deeper meaning is diffused almost instantaneously, whether that’s at the end of the episode, or at the end of a scene.…   [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]

Entertainment (2015)

Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!

When Entertainment premiered at 2015’s Sundance Film Festival, the response it garnered was somewhat predictable.  Numerous walkouts peppered its first showing, indicative of its uncomfortable confrontation.  Certainly a test of patience, it’s a work that demands significant effort on the part of the audience.  However, this is a recurring feature of the creatives involved: director and writer Rick Alverson, star and writer Gregg Turkington and writer Tim Heidecker.  It’s easy to take against their approach, labelling it as pretentious and lazy.  The sad truth is, that would be all too often accurate of others.  …   [continue reading]