'A masterclass in making screwball comedy' | Jake Yapp picks his Perfect Playlist

'A masterclass in making screwball comedy'

Jake Yapp picks his Perfect Playlist

What’s Up, Doc?

What’s Up, Doc? is, I think, an almost perfect film. The attention to detail is fantastic. The plotting is wildly complex, Madeline Kahn is incomparable, the set pieces are terrific…

But I love that every character in the film, however incidental, has been fully fleshed out:

It’s a masterclass in making screwball comedy. And I reckon you can always tell when people are enjoying making something...

Princess

Matt Stone and Trey Parker were asked to make a new animated series for a company rash enough to give them complete creative control. The result was Princess, a show so utterly disgusting and un-PC, it was cancelled after two episodes. The show wasn’t really about Princess, the dog, it was about humans doing disgusting things, but always, in the corner of the room, there was Princess, watching with her inscrutably gormless face.

The titles, though, are the best thing. They betray nothing of the revolting scatology to come:

Dillie Keane

Dillie Keane is a genius. And I hate using that word. She’s a natural clown and a brilliant pianist, who writes very funny, very rude songs, and can also break your heart. I’ve loved her work with Fascinating Aida since I was about 11, and too young to have a clue what she was singing about:

Go and plough through her back catalogue. An innuendo I venture to say she would enjoy.

The Big Bus

Several years before Airplane came out, there was The Big Bus, a spoof disaster movie about a nuclear-powered bus. Airplane is probably heavier on the gag-count, but the characters in the Big Bus, for me, make it a much more satisfying watch.

Stealing the show is Murphy Dunne, the pianist from The Blues Brothers, who plays Tommy Joyce, the resident pianist in the onboard bar:

The Goon Show

Too often dismissed as being silly and surreal, The Goon Show is a stunning body of work, combining inventive brilliance with scathing political and cultural satire. The fact that they aren’t all completely solid gold is testament to just how hard it must have been for Spike Milligan churning out a half-hour comedy show, pretty much single-handedly, for weeks on end, for years:

Spike Jones

Spike Jones was an American bandleader in the forties and fifties, who mercilessly satirised the music of his day. Think of him as a funny version of Weird Al Yankovic, done in jazz.

His philosophy was that before you could be a funny musician, you had to be a good one. His band (including Sir Frederick Gas on banjo) were all lunatic virtuosos. Spike was a drummer, who branched out and played chickens, guns, bulb horns, and had two octaves of cowbells in B♭.

Jake Yapp is One in a Million is at Underbelly George Square at 18:50.

Published: 16 Aug 2016

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