Comedy programmes on Irish television have a long and shameful past. There have been many, many of them, each one, mesmerically, even more unfunny than the one before. From Upwardly Mobile, the Big Bow Wow – which I think was a comedy… — right up to the current, execrable Republic Of Telly.
Paths to Freedom was a rare and lonely beacon of light — you can see Rats and his brother in Belfast here. But even they stumbled when trying to deal with the middle classes instead of sticking to Rats and his drinking class buddies.
So it’s something of a culture shock, to say the least, to see a programme on RTE that’s genuinely funny. I was trying to think of a simile. But it’s actually a simile in its own right. When next confronted with something that’s grotesque and unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented, you’ll be able to say that whatever it is is rather like finding a comedy on RTE that’s actually funny.
Irish Pictorial Weekly is made by Blinder Films and written and performed by, amongst others, Barry Murphy, Gary Cooke, Eleanor Tiernan, John Colleary, Paul Howard, Alan Shortt, Colum McDonnell, and Tara Flynn. It manages to foreground sharp political satire against a succession of wonderfully surreal backdrops in a mixture of doctored clips and sketches. The results are both reliably consistent and brilliantly funny. And as such, it’s something of a revelation.
Poor Swift can at last stop spinning in that grave of his. We can it seems produce satire aimed at viewers with a triple digit IQ. Our talents do stretch beyond The Phoenix after all.
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