The start of a new year can mean only one thing – time for writers to take a vague stab at what people will enjoy over the coming 12 months. I could have mentioned all sorts in here and I may well put together a part 2 – exciting. But, for the moment, here’s a few things that if you didn’t love already, you definitely will come December.
Always a tricky thing to judge – often getting by on one strong gag or wacky quirk, for a long time the art of character comedy has been about as popular and fashionable as Boy George. However, call it the Angelos Epithemiou effect (or just plain boredom with Al Murray’s Pub Landlord) but currently there’s a glut of fantastic character comics ready to reignite people’s love for the oddball. At the head of this pack is Adam Riches and his various Rogue Males, who won a host of plaudits at last years Edinburgh festival. His characters are bursting with charm and eccentricity and Riches is a talented performer plus, like Murray to some extent, he’s a careful and confident improviser and crowd handler. There’s also newcomer Darren Ruddell and ‘Kev’, an act that defies every comic expectation you might have and currently makes him one of stand-ups most inspired creations. And that’s before we get onto the likes of Pippa Evans, Colin Hoult or the more sketch-based characters created by Cardinal Burns. Without wanting to herald the arrival of a ‘scene’ it’s promising to see original and creative performers beginning to get the attention they deserve.
Flight of the Conchords
OK, so they’re already massive. We know this. We also know that we won’t be getting anymore TV shows, but what next? A film, new characters, solo work? Their global success means Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement could do whatever they wanted but how about that final great rock n roll cliché – the farewell tour? A little speculative? Well, they’ve done the professional music videos, they’ve put out the albums and they’ve played US music festivals before, why not a tour? Plus given it’s been years since their last UK shows and this is where, arguably, they cut their teeth, would some goodbye shows really be out of the question?
After the rumours and mystery the new Chris Morris project edges closer to our screens. So what’s it about? Jihadists. Ah. With a topic that sensitive, the unjustly low viewing figures for Nathan Barley and the ever-lingering Brass Eye hangover would anyone go near this? Well, yes. Warp Films have taken up the task and slowly but surely more details have eked out. Co-written with Sam Bain, Jesse Armstrong and Simon Blackwell (Peep Show, The Thick Of It) Morris has described it as ‘doing for Islamic terrorism what Dad’s Army did for the Nazis…showing them as scary but also ridiculous’. We’ve also got a cast including Kayvan Novak (a.k.a. the Fonejacker), Riz Ahmed (Dead Set), Alex Macqueen (The Thick Of It), Julia Davis (Nighty Night) and Kevin Eldon. Few can top Morris for satirical sharpness so it’ll be very interesting to see how this controversial project fares.