Saturday Smiles 2

When I posted some comedy clips a couple of weeks ago I did it on a whim, while watching a few on YouTube to brighten up my afternoon. The response was very positive, and it seemed as though I had the beginnings of another occasional series on my hands. So here are some more. Two of these are classic British comedy sketches which are very familiar here, but are always good to see again. I’m not so sure if they are as well known elsewhere, though. A third British contribution gives you two of the stories that get told on chat shows, and they are both corkers. To finish things off, I’m sharing one of the funniest scenes I think I’ve ever seen in a sitcom – this is an American one, which enjoyed a smallish but loyal following when it was shown over here.

The first is a classic piece of Monty Python. In this clip, you get, in effect, two for the price of one, as it was one of the occasions when they moved from one sketch to another:

That one was, I think, from the first series of the tv programme, though it has also appeared in the compilation movie And Now For Something Completely Different. If you were ever looking for euphemisms to avoid using the word ‘dead’ you’ve come to the right place! The tv shows ran for four series, but the Pythons have gone on to massive world-wide fame with subsequent movies, plus many solo projects – Michael Palin, the lumberjack here, is probably more widely known now for his travel programmes.

Purely by coincidence, this next one is also set in a shop:

That was from the long-running tv series The Two Ronnies, which for those who don’t know was fronted by Ronnie Corbett (the shopkeeper) and Ronnie Barker. The series ran for sixteen years through the Seventies and Eighties and this sketch, in common with many, was written by Barker under his pseudonym of Gerald Wiley. The Wikipedia entry for the show can be found here, and tells you much more about it. Barker was a master of clever wordplay, and this is but one of many sketches that displayed his skill at this. Hopefully the UK meanings of some of these words won’t be confusing if you aren’t from here!

I mentioned that two of today’s smiles come from a chat show. My favourite of these is the Graham Norton Show, which I know is broadcast in the US (with bleeps for their more sensitive ears!). He has a talent for leading and prodding his guests into their funny stories, which are usually enhanced by the mix of guests on his couch. There are many of these on YouTube, and this is one of my favourites, both for the story and the reaction it gets from a bunch of Hollywood A-listers:

Having shared that one I couldn’t resist adding another from the same episode:

At the outset I promised you an American clip, and I’m as good as my word:

That was from a show called Soap, a sitcom that parodied soap operas, which were just as popular in the Seventies as they still appear to be now. This ran for four series from 1977 to 1981, and was the launchpad for Billy Crystal’s career. I’ve watched this clip many times and am still not sure if he ad-libbed that last line: from the reaction of Cathryn Damon, who played Mary, I think he did. If the show passed you by, you can find out more here. It was a must-watch for us. The acting in that was typical of the show: Katherine Helmond, who played Jessica, was brilliant at keeping a straight face while portraying wide-eyed naivety, and it looks to me as if Billy Crystal was doing his best not to laugh – I wonder what the blooper reel was like?

That’s all for this time. I hope you’ve enjoyed a laugh or several at these. I’ve watched them all again a few times while putting this piece together, and have laughed a lot: I’m having a lot of fun with this and I think it will return as a regular occasional feature here.

See you again soon 😊