Monday, 28 December 2009

Funny For Your Ear - On The Record

I was toying with the idea of going with a selection of "end of decade review" style blogs over the coming days in the lead up to the winding down of the year but, quite frankly, there are enough of those kind of lists floating about the interweb at the moment so let's just go with the usual random selection of blogging type stuff, shall we? Good, good.

So, over the Christmas period*, I listened to a two part radio documentary on Monty Python's comedy albums and it started me realising how much I adored the comedy album. Which means you are going to get a list after all but hopefully it's one which hasn't been repeated ad nauseum elsewhere in the last few days... Let's start with the ones which kicked off the train of thought.

Monty Python - Various albums
I was about 10 when I first started getting into Monty Python. A friend of my parents was round to visit and was a massive fan. He played a selection of the albums and I absolutely loved them - so much so that he ran me off copies on cassette of all of them. And boy, where those albums worn thin. I think what I really liked about was that not only did they often contain a lot of new material that you only could only get on the albums but they also reworked some of the old material in new ways (everything was re-recorded for the albums). This along with the Goon Show started a lifelong love of audio comedy.

Bill Hicks - Rant In E-Minor
Stand-up naturally lends itself to the audio medium (depending on the performer, of course - someone like Lee Evans might not translate) and, having died at a tragically young age with relatively few recordings of his work, Bill Hicks' audio recordings are that much more key to his body of work. Of the ones released, my favourite is Rant In E-Minor. Difficult to pinpoint exactly why but there's something about it that seems to that much more on the money than some of his other shows.

Derek And Clive Live
You can't really talk about comedy albums without mentioning this one. A bootleg recording of two comedians venting comedy spleen during a long run of a live show that found it's way into the public domain, it's a fascinating album. At times very funny, at other times filthy just for the sake of it and sometimes not particularly funny at all, I find it interesting because it's an insight into how two comedians work and begin to develop ideas into sketches.

The Secret Policeman's Ball
Now, this was a live show which was released theatrically and the album is effectively just the comedy sketches from the show but, it's such a great selection of sketches, that I'm going to include it in with the comedy albums. Any album that has Monty Python, Peter Cook, Billy Connolly and Rowan Atkinson all at the top of their game has to be worth a listen.

This is, of course, just a small selection - I could tediously drone on all day but let's come to a pause right about there. Comedy albums are only part of the wonder that is audio comedy so, next time, I shall take you through some of the radio programmes what are also great.

* I also toyed with giving you a Christmas themed blog but pretty much writing "ate too much, drank too much, got fab prezzies, played trivia based games til the wee small hours" nicely sums up the festive period in a lovely daze of food, booze and trivia, really.


Irish Gumbo said...

Isn't food, booze and trivia really what life is all about, though?

Speaking of comedy albums, I loved my dad's Cheech & Chong recordings from when I was a younger Gumbo. And I am still mourning the loss of a vinyl copy of a performance by Brother Dave Gardner, it slipped my grasp many years ago. Bizarre stuff, not sure I could explain it, but it always made me laugh like hell.

cerebus660 said...

The Pythons and The Goons are obviously comedy gods, but can be taken for granted, so it's good to read your heartfelt tribute. And as for Bill Hicks: absolute genius and sadly missed.

That Baldy Fella said...

IG - It certainly is! I never really listened to/watched any Cheech and Chong but have always liked Cheech Marin whenever he turns up in something so maybe I should check them out. Brother Dave Gardner, you say? Will have to see if I can track him down.

cerebus660 - Yeah, definitely, they've become part of the comedy furniture and do get a bit taken fro granted these days.