Archives for May 2011

Gaming: The future of comedy?

Post categories:

Steve Saul | 11:24 UK time, Tuesday, 31 May 2011

So games like LA Noire have taken gaming to the next level of video game realism have they? They're convincing. No question about that...

... but we'll bet that you can't tell the difference between pixels and people in these cut scenes from this new video game Nemesis of Doom.

View the full blog post to access video content. In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

We asked writer Heather Tyrrell from Six to Start for the story behind the sketch...

More people than ever love computer games these days - worldwide, we spend three billion hours a week playing online - but that doesn't mean we can't laugh about them. Our comedy sketch Nemesis Of Doom is set in an online role-playing game that we've created in real life, with performers from London's cabaret and burlesque scene. It's a work-in-progress, made by game-lovers, to explore what's funny about the gaming world. We want this to be the first of a series of sketches, with a companion game, so you can play Nemesis Of Doom yourself too.

Comedy in games is nothing new – from Pac-Man (yellow ball eats pills while fleeing technicolour ghosts) through Earthworm Jim (worm in robotic suit battles evil), and Hogs of War (pun-based porcine tactical combat), to controversial anti-hero send-up Duke Nukem.

Charlie Brooker in his one-off special on the games industry, Gameswipe, claims Infocom's Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, written by Douglas Adams, is possibly the funniest game ever made, and its noble tongue-in-cheek tradition continues. Global giant role-playing game World of Warcraft (known affectionately as WoW) send up their own game with cod metal band, the Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftans.

When it comes to comedy about games, the passion players invest in a game doesn't stop them joking about ridiculous in-game mechanics, or the foibles of fellow gamers. A host of WoW parodies have been lovingly created with the in-game machinima 3D animation engine.

And gaming community comedy isn't limited to WoW players. Spoof videos explore what would happen if real life were like a game, so you can blast opponents on the go-kart track, rocket jump enemies, or mess with a portal gun in the office, according to US gaming champion and filmmaker Freddie Wong.

Gaming has changed status in the years since it first started to laugh at itself. World of Warcraft has over twelve million players - that's more than the population of Greece. Everybody knows about games now: even if you never played Prince of Persia, you couldn't miss the posters from the movie spin-off. A bunch of off-duty computer game characters even have their own show on children's TV: CBBC's Pixelface.

The conventions of gaming are now familiar to so many that with Nemesis Of Doom we can come full circle, and evoke the foibles of computer games in live-action, knowing there are enough people out there to share the joke with us. We hope you like it - let us know, and tell us what you'd like to see in future missions of Nemesis of Doom.

What do you think?

Game over for movies? Is gaming the future of sketch comedy?

Tell us on Facebook, via Twitter or leave a comment below.

This week on BBC Comedy...

Steve Saul | 12:15 UK time, Friday, 27 May 2011

Welcome to our weekly round of the week that was on BBC Comedy...

Web exclusive vids wot we made

Biebershop Quartet

The Rapture may not have happened... but here's four signs of the forthcoming apocalypse in one all-singing, all-dancing sketch.

New Comedy Award 2011

If the Glasgow heat teaches us anything, it's that the future of UK comedy is going to be really rather hirsute. So much facial hair.

Global Warming Warning

Turn off those taps, turn off those lights, turn down those sheets. If we're not careful, this is the shape of things to come. And oh boy, what a shape....


Getting On

Jo Brand and the staff of King Edward VIIIth hospital are back for a third series of the Getting On, the Bafta-winning bedpan-com.

Angry Boys

Chris "Summer Heights High" Lilley is back with new series Angry Boys. We were kind of hoping it would involve throwing boys at structures created by spherical green pigs, but apparently we were mistaken.

Off the telly

It's the frickin' summer already. How did that happen? Anyway, to celebrate, here's a seasonal Family Guy Christmas song.

A clutch (yes, a clutch) of Two Pints outtakes to gently guide you into the weekend... "clutch."

How exactly did filmdirectorlegendman John Landis end up in Psychoville?

Other funny stuff on t' web

Ideal Series 7

Post categories:

Jaine Sykes Jaine Sykes | 15:17 UK time, Thursday, 26 May 2011

View the full blog post to access video content. In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

Ideal returns to BBC Three tonight for a seventh series at 10.30pm. Writer Graham Duff explains the art of finding a special guest...

In tonight's opening episode of the new series of IDEAL, Moz (Johnny Vegas) will not only be rubbing shoulders with his usual circle of reprobates - Psycho Paul, Cartoon Head and so on - but also Strictly Come Dancing winner Kara Tointon and, perhaps even more surprisingly, the Modfather himself: Paul Weller. Both of whom bring their own unique brand of magic to the show.

And I'm proud to say they are in very good company. Over the years IDEAL has amassed a pretty impressive role call of special guests, including Sean Lock, Janeane Garofalo, Julia Davis, Jason Manford, Alan Yentob, Graham Fellows, Mark Radcliffe and my personal favorite: Mark E. Smith of The Fall playing Jesus H. Christ.

People frequently ask me how we manage to get such amazing guest stars on the show. The short answer is, if you don't ask, you don't get. Admittedly there's been a handful of occasions when we've approached a guest and they've turned us down. But often it's been due to availability rather than a lack of interest. Of course it helps if the person in question is already a fan of the show. Or better yet, if you have incriminating photos of them.

But even when they say "yes" there's still an element of risk involved. Whereas with seasoned comedians or actors like Sean Lock or Kara Tointon you know you're assured of a solid performance, with non-actors you can never be certain of what you're going to get. When I told people Mr. Weller was going to be filming a scene for the show, the general assumption was that he would probably turn up, behave like a sulky diva and deliver a performance as wooden as his guitar. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. He was friendly, down to earth and turned in a cameo which I hope you'll agree is subtle, naturalistic and very funny. In fact, I've almost begun to wonder if he might be interested in his own potential spin off series...

More from Ideal:

Ideal is on every Thursday at 10.30pm on BBC Three.

Getting On Series 3

Post categories:

Steve Saul | 16:08 UK time, Monday, 23 May 2011


Yet more good news for  fans of Getting On following last night's Bafta win...

Getting On, the award-winning, critically-acclaimed BBC Four comedy series has been recommissioned for a third series.

Last night, Jo Brand (who co-writes and stars in the sitcom) won the Bafta award for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Role.

The series is produced by Vera Productions and directed by Peter Capaldi.

Getting On offers a bittersweet look inside a female medical ward at King Edward VIIIth hospital, a backwater within a backwater, of the health service.

Producer Geoff Atkinson says "it’s great to see Getting On getting the recognition it deserves. BBC FOUR provides a unique home for shows like this and hopefully the hat trick of awards (Writers Guild, RTS and BAFTA) repay some of the debt we owe them".

Cheryl Taylor (Controller of Comedy Commissioning at the BBC) said: "We are thrilled that both the superb comedy performances and wonderful writing of Getting On have recently been recognised by both Bafta and the RTS. Fans will be delighted to hear that the show has been recommissioned for BBC Four."

The series follows on from other hugely successful BBC Four comedies including The Thick of It and Lead Balloon. BBC Four won four Baftas last night, including The Killing (International), The Road To Coronation Street (single drama), Zimbabwe's Forgotten Children (current affairs).

If you can't wait until the new series, check out our Getting On clip collection.

Warm Up Man

Post categories:

Jon Aird | 16:58 UK time, Tuesday, 17 May 2011

He is known to stars and producers alike. He has featured in loads of hit TV shows. He doesn’t win awards, go to celebrity parties or feature in Heat Magazine. He has to make people laugh who want to see someone else.

He is the warm up man.

View the full blog post to access video content. In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions

The Comedy Genius of John Sullivan

Post categories:

Jon Aird | 17:37 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

Only Fools and Horses cast

Producer of Only Fools and Horses, and long time collaborator of John Sullivan, Gareth Gwenlan writes:

At 1.15 yesterday I was in the company of many distinguished Actors including Sir David Jason and Nick Lyndhurst, writers, musicians, directors, TV executives, and scores of behind the camera programme making talent . We were all there to join the friends and family of John Sullivan and to celebrate the life and incredible talent of John, whose sudden and tragic death has left the world of television and millions of his loyal viewers impoverished.

Paul Nicholas and Jan Francis


There were many moving tributes to him as the warm caring family man who held his wife, children and grandchildren at the core of his life.

There were also glowing tributes to his distinguished professional career.

Those of us who had had the privilege and joy of working with him will always have our memories of John’s amazing writing talent.

One of John’s literary heroes was Charles Dickens and we all have the opportunity of reading his works but we are more fortunate living in the age of television where we will all be able to enjoy the fruits of John’s writing for many years to come.

Robert Lindsay


Watch The Comedy Genius of John Sullivan Tonight, BBC One 8:30pm. And here is just a small selection of classic moments from the many different shows John created - The John Sullivan Collection.

If you would like to share your memories of John's shows, some of the memorable characters he created, or just what his work meant to you then please feel free to comment below.

HIGNFY Caption Competition

Post categories:

Jon Aird | 16:42 UK time, Friday, 13 May 2011

Here's a caption competition from the Have I Got News For You team, just for fun. Tweet your suggestions using the hashtag #captioncomp, or comment below!

John Torode and Greg Wallace

Family Wanted!

Post categories:

Jon Aird | 17:20 UK time, Thursday, 12 May 2011

Do you think you’re a good judge of comedy? If so this might be for you...

The BBC are recording a pilot for a TV version of Radio 4’s popular comedy show ‘Act Your Age’, which pits comic generations against each other to find out which is the funniest. We are looking for judges to be on the show helping our host to decide which is the funniest team of comedians!

This is your chance to get involved and be part of a TV recording alongside some top comedians. We are looking for a family of four to come and take part in the recording on Thursday 2nd June at BBC Television Centre in London.

Are you, your Mum, Dad, Granddad, son or daughter, or even Aunty, niece, nephew fans of comedy and want to take part? Or maybe you know another family who would fit the bill?

To be eligible for consideration you need to have a team of four family members who span three generations and you must all be over the age of 18 as this is a post watershed comedy show. You all need to be available on Thursday 2nd June to be at BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane in London between 4pm and 10pm. This is a non-broadcast television recording for a pilot.

Interested in taking part?

Please contact the team in the Act Your Age production office by emailing, telling us something about yourself and your family team members, including their ages and relationship to you, and why you would like to be part of the show.

The closing date for entries is 17th May 2011.  Applications received after this date unfortunately cannot be considered.

Laughs In The Park 2011

Post categories:

Steve Saul | 23:00 UK time, Wednesday, 4 May 2011


We're proud to announce that BBC Comedy will be bringing you highlights and exclusive online content from our live stage at this year’s Laughs In The Park.

Now in its second year, the three day comedy extravaganza, devised by comedy great Eddie Izzard will kick off on July 22nd in Verulamium Park, St Albans and play host to an exciting array of our brightest stars and exciting new comedians.

Izzard will be joined on the main stage over the course of the weekend by the brilliant Ross Noble and Tommy Tiernan, performing to more than twenty thousand people.

Keep an eye on this blog for the full line up of who's performing. We'll keep you posted as soon as we get the details.

Jack Cheshire, Executive Producer, said "We're delighted to be able to offer such truly multi-platform coverage of this event. It’s a unique synergy of everything BBC Comedy does best - on TV, Radio, Online and Live - and a brilliant opportunity us to get involved with a high-profile event, promoting both new and established talent ."

"Laughs In The Park presents a real opportunity to take the TV coverage of stand up comedy to the next level."

Laughs In The Park will be broadcast on BBC Two and BBC Radio 1 this summer and we'll be bringing you extended highlights here at BBC Comedy Online.

More from this blog...


These are some of the popular topics this blog covers.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.