It looks like this summer’s Comedy Arms Race is hotting up as Channel 4 respond to Sky’s creation of Monday Night Comedy by announcing their own ‘Funny Fortnight’, which will see it air 10 new comedy shows in August. The new shows are a mix of old and new comedy talent, with names such as Vic & Bob, Frankie Boyle, Andy Hamilton, Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong all attached to the various projects.
From the co-writer of Father Ted, Arthur Mathews, and the IT Crowd’s Matt Berry comes Toast of London; a sitcom about an actor auditioning for a detective drama, after his previous gig in a West End stage production proved so controversial that he is attacked by members of the public.
The Boyle Variety Show is the controversial comedian’s take on a royal variety show, and Vic & Bob return to the panel format – although apparently they will be âripping up the rule bookâ? – with Lucky Sexy Winners. Outnumbered co-creators Andy Hamilton and Guy Jenkin are back with dystopian family sitcom Just Around the Corner set in a future Britain where the country has lost it’s coastline and banks.
Channel 4 comedy stalwarts (whose credits include Peep Show and BBC’s The Thick Of It) Sam Bain and Jesse Armstrong join forces with Olivia Colman, Julia Davis and Dead Boss’ Sharon Horgan in Bad Sugar, a comedic take on family dynasty dramas. Fonejacker Kayvan Novak has a âjackerâ? spin off with Very Terry, a Terry Tibbs chat show.
Novak also features in Them from That Thing, a two-part sketch show, where he’ll be joined by Morgana Robertson (The Morgana Show) and Blake Harrison (Neil from the Inbetweeners). With writing credits featuring Charlie Brooker, Them From That Thing will poke fun at the seriousness of TV drama.
Pub Comedy The Function Room, written by Harry Hill’s TV Burp scribe Dan Maier is a studio sitcom set in the function room of a pub. With regulars including Reese Shearsmith (League of Gentleman) and James Fleet (Vicar of Dibley), the first episode starts with the titular room being used for a ‘Meet the Police’ event, where the question on everybody’s lips is âWho is the Shit Egg Killer?â?
The Harry Hill theme continues with Harry Hill: The Reunion a one off which will see the large-collared comedian seeking out cast members and asking Justin Lee Collins’ favourite question âwhere are they now?â?
Last but not least, Channel 4 will be taking a risk with I’m Spazticus. First appearing on our screens as a pilot for Channel 4’s Comedy Lab, it’s now being produced into a five part series. Already attracting controversy, in April the police were called by members during filming of a prank whereby a blind man âgropedâ? a nude model. Whilst the model was in on the act, students of an art class at South End Community centre where not, and phoned the Police to report a molestation. A mix of mocumentary and hidden camera pranking, I’m Spazticus seems likely to be reported to Ofcom by someone. Check out the clip below..
To top all this off, Channel 4 is also showing 30 Greatest Comedy Shows, a selection of âBest Episodes everâ? chosen by the writers of comedy such as Peep Show, Brass Eye, The IT Crowd, and Spaced. With some rummaging around the archives comes Lost Gems, which includes Peter Cook’s appearance on the Clive Anderson Show. Finally, there’s some repeats of past Comedy Lab productions, with Karl Pilkington: Satisfied Fool and Peter Kay â The Services being rebroadcast.
Alongside Sky Atlantic’s comedy efforts, Channel 4’s Comedy Fortnight looks to provide a veritable smorgasbord of humour. With it’s August kick off, it should provide welcome relief from the Olympic frenzy.