Irish Pictorial Weekly, Shock Horror, an Irish Comedy that’s Actually Funny.

Irish Pictorial Weekly.

Irish Pic­to­r­i­al Weekly.

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 alms 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.

What they were up against.

What they were up against.

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.

It’s on RTE1 on Thurs­days at 22:15. Here are a cou­ple of clips. A Ger­ry Adams clip here. An Eamon Gilmore clip here. A Pat Rab­bitte clip here.

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