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‘Lizzie and Sarah’: The darkest, most twisted comedy of all time?
10:41 am


Julia Davis
Jessica Hynes
Lizzie and Sarah


When it was originally transmitted in 2010 on BBC2, the extremely dark and terrifically twisted sitcom pilot Lizzie and Sarah went out at 11:45 on a Saturday night, almost as if the network wanted to leave it on the doorstep quietly in the middle of the night.

Once you’ve watched it, it’s understandable why BBC2 controllers might have felt this way and why a full series was never produced. Lizzie and Sarah is excruciatingly inappropriate, but my god is it one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen in my life.

There is a particular type of bleaker than bleak comedic genius that runs through the work of co-creator Julia Davis (Nighty Night, Human Remains), a nightmarish and jaundiced appraisal of human relationships that is perhaps the darkest vision of ANYBODY working in comedy today. In collaboration with the equally brilliant Jessica Hynes (co-creator of Spaced) the pitch black brutality at the heart of Davis’s work has been egged on to an even more perverse place for their pathetic take on Thelma and Louise. They make a fantastic onscreen team and I can only imagine how much fun the writing sessions were.

Here’s how the Beeb described Lizzie and Sarah at the time:

Lizzie and Sarah are two fiftysomething suburban housewives, perpetually mistreated and ignored by unloving, selfish husbands. The highlight of their otherwise dull lives is their role in an amateur dramatic society, The Borking Players. In the aftermath of a tragic accident which causes the death of a popular local teenager, emotions run high, and following a dismal birthday lunch for Sarah, the two friends embark on a spur-of-the-moment shopping trip. As the day unfolds, they find a way to wreak their revenge

Although there is nothing untrue in the above synopsis, don’t think for a second that you know what this piece is about…

Lizzie and Sarah stretches the definition of what comedy can be further than anything since the debut of the League of Gentlemen or Davis’s career-defining 2004 role as monstrously selfish beautician Jill Tyrell in her Nighty Night series.

Since its original ignominious transmission, Lizzie and Sarah has steadily picked up a legion of fans via torrent trackers and friends foisting it upon unsuspecting friends, who are either appalled by what they see or become fans themselves. It’s rather impossible to feel lukewarm about Lizzie and Sarah. You’re either going to love it the way you first loved John Waters early films or else it’ll just depress the shit out of you and make you want to cry.

You have been warned.

Thank you, Matthew Quezada!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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One pill makes you larger: Siouxsie and the Banshees’ lysergic ‘Home’ movie, 1984

I saw Siouxsie & The Banshees’ Play At Home Channel 4 television special when it originally aired in 1984, and as a rather enthusiastic aficionado of LSD at the time, it was immediately apparent to me that this trippy trip down the rabbit hole was a program made for acidheads, by acidheads. No other drugs could explain this one! I’d have to say that this was probably in the top five of the very oddest things I’d ever seen on network television at that point. I can’t imagine what “normal” people must’ve made of it at the time.

The Play At Home series offered four musical acts—New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen, Virginia Astley and the Banshees, during the period that Robert Smith of The Cure was in the band—an hour of TV to do pretty much whatever they wanted. When they saw what the Banshees cooked up, I’m sure the execs were both thrilled and nervous (What happened to Channel 4 over the years???).

The Banshees’ Play At Home episode was finally released as a DVD extra on the reissue of the 1983 Nocturne concert film in 2006. Note inclusion of music from side-projects The Creatures and The Glove. Longtime Banshees producer Mike Hedges makes an appearance as the Queen of Hearts and Annie Hogan, once Marc Almond’s musical collaborator, can be seen as the Doormouse.


Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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RIP Don Cornelius of Soul Train

Don Cornelius, creator and star of Soul Tain, has been found dead at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. From TMZ:

Law enforcement sources tell us ... Cornelius died from a gunshot wound to the head and officials believe the wound was self-inflicted.

Sad news indeed - I had only posted on Soul Train here on DM a few weeks ago. Thanks for all the awesomeness, Don! In memory here’s the man himself introducing the legendary Soul Train line dancers to Earth Wind and Fire’s “Mighty Mighty” in 1974:

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Have Yourself A Soul Train Sunday

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
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‘The Muppet Show’ without The Muppets

These two delightful behind the scenes videos from The Muppet Show were generously posted by an ATV cameraman who worked on the program named John O’Brien.

In the first clip, we see what The Muppet Show would have been like had they used real-life actors—well, at least the crew members—instead of puppets. Not quite the same, is it?

A little bit of fun by the crew recorded at the end of the first series/season of The Muppet Show in 1976 (I joined ATV in 1977 during Season 2) ... I am not sure who was responsible for putting this together (I suspect Peter Harris had an input) but I’m sure someone will tell me.

The cast includes Peter Harris, Richard Holloway, Jim O’Donnell, Brian Grant, Steve Springford, Jerry Hoare, Phil Hawkes, Gerry Elms, John Rook, Martin Baker, Sue Boyers, Francis Essex, Dennis Bassinger, David Chandler, Bryan Holgate, Peter Milic, Claude Walters and the ladies from the Canteen.


And then there’s the second video, which is also pretty amazing:

A behind the scenes glimpse of the Muppet Show on it’s last day of recording at the Elstree Television Studios in 1980 on which I was privileged to work as a Cameraman.

Featured is Jim Henson and Frank Oz who were the main inspiration and creative forces behind the show. Narrated by Peter Harris, one of the two directors on the show … it mostly reveals crew and cast having a very silly day as everyone said their final farewells. Richard Holloway (now Executive Producer on “The X Factor”) had been the Senior Floor Manager for the duration and it was probably inevitable that he became the victim of the flan flingers … he took it in great spirits.

This last day in Studio D was the culmination of 5 years work, fun and laughter on what was arguably the most successful Children’s Programme in the world at the time, having been sold to some 110 countries … it was the end of an era for many and the Muppets have gone on to become truly iconic.


Via Nerdcore

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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Hilarious mashup of ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘The Goonies’
11:22 am


Game of Thrones
The Goonies

You’d have to be a fan of both HBO’s Game of Thrones AND The Goonies to understand why this is absolutely freakin’ hilarious!

So funny. So wrong.

No liquids while watching. You’ve been warned.

(via High Definite)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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John & Yoko: Discussing Art on David Frost’s show 1968

The Fab Two, John Lennon and Yoko Ono gave their first interview together on the David Frost show Frost on Saturday, August 24 1968. On it they discussed how they met, their personal and artistic philosophies, and explained some of the ideas behind their shared exhibition You Are Here:

Frost: Yes, you gave me one of these badges beforehand. Now, what, this is really the basis of what you’re talking about isn’t it, You Are Here.

Lennon: It’s that show, yeah.

Frost: Now what exactly does it mean, You Are Here?

Lennon: Well, er, You, are, here.

Ono: Usually people think in vicarious terms, they think ‘Somebody’s there,’ ‘John Lennon’s there,’ or somebody. But it’s not that. YOU are the one who’s here, and so in art, usually art gives something that’s an object and says ‘This is art,’ you know, but instead of that, art exists in people. It’s people’s art, and so we don’t believe in just making something and completing it and giving it to people, we like people to participate. All the pieces are unfinished and they have to be finished by people.

As part of the interview, two audience members tried out Yoko’s Hammer and Nail Piece, where they hammered nails into a block of wood. Both found the experience “satisfying” and “unbelievable”. When Lennon encouraged Frost to have a go, the “bubonic plagiarist” said he felt like “a man hammering in a nail”, to which Lennon countered, “I felt like one hammering it in on TV”.

The interview over-ran, and ends with Lennon conducting the audience to sing-a-long on “Hey Jude”, as the closing titles played out.

Previously on Dangerous Minds

John and Yoko: The Dentist Interview 1968


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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Handmade Stephen Colbert action figure

Good job, CautionLowSign! The only thing mini-Colbert seems to be missing are his wire frame glasses.
(via reddit)

Posted by Tara McGinley | Discussion
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Rock banned: X-Rated pop music

Broadcast on UK Channel 4 in 2001, Top Ten: X-Rated looks at the banning of rock and rap songs and videos on radio and TV. Hosted, appropriately, by a snarling John Lydon.

Ironically, the documentary itself was not banned despite been chock full of nasty bits - thanks to the progressive programming at Channel 4

Among the banned: Scott Walker,  2 Live Crew, The Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, Ian Dury & The Blockheads, The Sex Pistols, Ice T, N.W.A, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Kool Keith, Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin and The Pogues.

Part two after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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The Ramones on Manhattan public access TV 1978
10:21 pm


The Ramones
Efrom Allen
Underground TV

Joey and Dee Dee Ramone appear with their artistic director Arturo Vega and longtime buddy Michael Mckenzie on Efrom Allen’s Underground TV program in 1978.

This is classic Manhattan public access; chaotic, anarchic and fun. I used to call this cocaine TV because I was generally zooted to the gills when I was watching it. This show is particularly good. Instead of the usual assholes that would call in to insult the artists that were being interviewed, the callers on this night seem genuinely curious about The Ramones and the scene revolving around CBGB. This was a time when something very fresh and unpredictable was happening in the downtown clubs and the bands and their audiences were all discovering it together. Even the cynics were starting to pay attention.

Along with Robin Byrd and Al Goldstein, Efrom Allen was one of the pioneers of NYC cable TV talk shows. With its mix of porn stars, punk rockers and nightlife impresarios, Underground TV was always reliably weird entertainment on those nights when you just wanted to stay home and get fucked up.

Enjoy the roots of Youtube.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Discussion
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‘Sez Les’: What John Cleese did after ‘Monty Python’

If John Cleese hadn’t gone into Monty Python, then he would “have stuck to his original plan to graduate and become a chartered accountant, perhaps a barrister lawyer, and gotten a nice house in the suburbs, with a nice wife and kids, and gotten a country club membership, and then I would have killed myself.”

Ah well, the best laid plans of mice and men. Sensibly, Cleese opted for plan B, and all the success that entailed. It was therefore a surprise when Cleese quit Python in 1973, after its third TV series, and joined up as a supporting player to stand-up comic called Les Dawson, in his comedy sketch show, Sez Les.

Dawson and Cleese could not have been more dissimilar - Dawson short and plump, Cleese tall and skinny. Dawson was working class and self-educated, who had worked a long apprenticeship of stand-up in the working men’s clubs in the north of England, while maintaining his day-job as a Hoover salesman. Cleese was middle class, university educated and was upper-middle management, white collar material.

Dawson had originally wanted to be a writer, inspired by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, he had hitched the highway to Paris, where he found work as a pianist in a brothel. Unable to find a publisher for his poetry, Dawson returned homewards, and inspired by his experiences as a pianist, tried his hand as a comic. Though he made his name with mother-in-law jokes, Dawson was a clever and verbally dextrous comedian, who dismantled jokes, only to recreate them in a funnier form. Cleese described Dawson as “An autodidact, a very smart guy who was fascinated by words.”

After a winning run on the talent show Opportunity Knocks, Dawson earned his first TV series, Sez Les (1969-1976), and fast became one of Britain’s best loved comics. In 1974, Cleese joined Dawson on the series, and the pairing (like a hybrid Peter Cook and Dudley Moore) proved highly successful. Both men had great respect for each other, and more importantly had a genuine affection which came over in their performances together.

Cleese eventually left to make Fawlty Towers, but for 2 series of Sez Les in 1974, Dawson and Cleese were top drawer comedy entertainment.

More from Dawson and Cleese, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
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