DAN MERSH'S PICKS
Bob Odenkirk and David Cross created this late 90s sketch show for HBO and it is rare example of a truly brilliant US sketch show. As with all sketch shows it has hits and misses but the hits are so very very good. The show itself has a beautiful flow to it as each sketch segues into the next creating a feeling of one continuous stream of thought.
There are so many highlghts it's hard to pick a favourite, one show has a stroke-of-genius callback involving a banana which we won't spoil for you here, but a good example of what they do is this audition sketch which is just a beautiful piece of writing
Louis CK is a brilliant stand up and this sitcom, now in its third season is really about as good as they come. Like a subtler Curb Your Enthusiasm, it follows Louis through his life working as a stand up and bringing up two kids on his own all written, edited and directed by CK himself.
He is now using Woody Allen's editor on the latest season and you see the fit, these often feel like mini Woody films. They are wonderfully unpredictable, you can almost never see where he's going which is rare in sitcoms, often poignant and extremely funny. Here's a scene from season one where Louie and his friends discuss the nature of the word 'faggot'...
PAUL LITCHFIELD’S PICKS
Sid Field Golfing Sketch
Sid Field's golfing sketch, as performed in the film London Town in 1946. His straight-man is Jerry Desmonde, who would go on to be straight-man to Norman Wisdom in the 50s.
The routine treads a slightly laboured route of constant misunderstandings, yet Sid manages to deploy a Cockney barrow boy swagger with a mixture of camp forlorn charm and the sudden jarring physicality of Vic and Bob. It warrants repeat viewings.
Tim and Eric Great Show Awesome Job!
This is a clip taken from Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! The show is a high octane slalom dunk through public access cable TV, but feels to me like being thrown all confused, dazed and naked into some drunk addled dream. Additional material comes from the likes of David Cross and Bob Odenkirk of the aforementioned Mr Show.
So far we can only get Season 1 and 2 on DVD in the UK, and I insist that you buy it and then get me seasons 3-5 on wax cylinder or something.
JEREMY LIMB'S PICK
The Goodies: Movies (1975)
The best part of episodes of the Goodies was usually the final third where the tenuous plot would escalate into an excuse for a montage of fast-paced visual gags; this is one of the most inventive of them all. Some of the gags are so quick and so amazingly well done you can't quite register what you've seen; the effects brilliant even by today's standards. The closest you can get to a live action cartoon.
A Show Called Fred (1956)
Over ten years before Python, Spike Milligan had three series on ITV where it seems he was allowed to do anything, undiluted. It's unbelievable for the time in which it was made - one can only imagine what 1950s Britain made of it. This was Milligan at his creative peak. And it had Peter Sellers in it. And this is the only episode that survives.