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Twelve short comedy films by Alice Lowe and Jacqueline Wright

When 2010 came to an end, so did the brilliant series of twelve, once-a-month comedy shorts we were promised by Jackal Films last January. Jackal is the company set up by creative partners, director Jacqueline Wright and actor/writer Alice Lowe (Jaq/Al, geddit?). Alice is becoming a well-known face on British television from roles on Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, The Mighty Boosh, The IT Crowd, Little Britain, Angelo’s and in the cult film, Hot Fuzz. She also memorably portrayed David Bowie in Snuff Box. These short films are a marvelous showcase for what she (and Wright) can do.

The twelve Jackal shorts also feature some notable emerging UK comedic talent, including Simon Farnaby, James Bachman, Sharon Horgan, Robert Popper and Rich Fulcher and have TV level production values. I don’t think this was an easy—or quick—thing to pull off, twelve short films in one year, and that the quality was consistently very, very high is a testament to the talents of these two hard-working women. Obviously the reason to take on a workload like this is to be noticed professionally, and if there is any justice in the world, let’s hope the industrious Jackal partners are suitably rewarded with a BBC3 series commission in 2011 as well as an HBO or Showtime pilot over here.

You can see all twelve short films at the Jackal Films website (and at special theatrical screenings if you live in the right place). The final, December film, “This Christmastime” (Rock stars do their bit for a good cause with this festive single from 1983) has a rap in the middle of it by Rich Fulcher that saw me with tears rolling down my cheeks I was laughing so hard. Alice (as a Cyndi Lauper-type) delivers a befuddled plea about being a sister herself, that’s equally loopy.

Previousy on Dangerous Minds:
Alice Lowe: Kitty Porn

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My Old Baby: Rich Fulcher acts his age

In this latest brilliant comedy short from Jackal Films (director Jacqueline Wright and writer/performer Alice Lowe), Dangerous Minds pal, Rich Fulcher stars in the title role, of “My Old Baby” a “tragic true story of a baby afflicted with a rare degenerative condition, with horrific irreversible symptoms.” Clearly, this is a role Rich was born to play! (I just hope, you know, he doesn’t get typecast). Narrated by Sharon Horgan.

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The Comedy Genius of Sharon Horgan
12:08 pm

Pop Culture

Sharon Horgan
Dennis Kelly



Actress/writer Sharon Horgan (right) is amongst the first ranks of British comedic talent. Up there with Ricky Gervais, Steve Coogan and The League of Gentlemen. But I don’t mean to compare her solely to males, I’m merely comparing her to other writer-performers. Horgan’s so good that, like her closest contemporary Julia Davis, her work so thoroughly transcends the notion of “female comedy” or “comedy for women” that it would be ridiculous to insist upon it.

Still, Horgan does happen to be a female, and a very attractive one at that. The series she is best known for Pulling (the second series comes out today on DVD in America) follows the travails of three single women in dead-end jobs and even worse relationships. Her acting style is similar in many ways to Warren Beatty or Gary Shandling’s awkward hemming and hawing, half-finished sentence school of acting (ugh, there I go with male comparisons again). With creative partner, Dennis Kelly, she knows how to write for her strengths. Like Gervais and Larry David, Horgan is a master at finding uncomfortable truths in the in-between moments of life. It’s tempting to describe Pulling as Sex and The City meets Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Sadly, the suits at the BBC—for whatever DUMBASS reason—decided not to renew Pulling for a third series. They did commission a one-off ending to the series, so it was neatly tied-up, but boy did they drop the ball on this one… However, the BBC’s loss is America’s gain as Horgan has reportedly signed a deal with HBO (Great move, HBO!)

Here are two more scenes from Pulling, one where Horgan’s Donna meets an old friend on the street and a second clip featuring fan favorite Karen in a typically awkward encounter in the supermarket.

More Sharon Horgan brilliance: In this painfully observed scene from Horgan and Kelly’s ensemble comedy for Channel Five, Angelo’s, husband and wife police partners, Dave and Karen visit the fertility clinic.

The Awl’s Alex Balk likes Pulling, too

‘There’s no moral centre to Pulling because we don’t have one!’

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