Disappointingly to a stand-up, there is nothing funnier than You’ve Been Framed...

Alex Horne's comedy favourites

Ardal O'Hanlon Live From Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre, 1997

I don’t remember buying this album (just the audio recording) but I do remember listening to it endlessly on the tape recorder in my little room at university. In fact, I remember the actual performance almost verbatim. I’m not sure where it was recorded but it starts with Ardal berating the crowd for applauding so much: ‘It’s not Gladiators, you know’, and ends with, ‘If you expect a kick in the balls and you get a slap in the face, that’s a victory’. I did my first stand-up gig about a year after it came out and did the whole thing with a bewildered persona and a slight but noticeable Irish lilt (something I’m both ashamed and confused about as I now can’t actually do any accents, especially Irish). I loved Ardal. I liked Father Ted, but I loved Ardal. It took about two years for me to stop pretending to be Ardal. I met Ardal for the first time last year and involuntarily adopted his persona and voice once more. It’s all very embarrassing.

The Comedy Store, c August 2000, featuring Harry Hill and Dave Johns (I think).

By the time I dragged my friends to this show I knew I wanted to be a comedian. I’d been to the Store a few times by myself and couldn’t believe the whole world wasn’t going on about it. It was like Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven Is A Place On Earth. My own gigs were occasionally generating a smile or even a chuckle, but at the Store you got soaked in laughter. This was what live comedy was about. The night I took my friend Mike along culminated in the comedians forming a spontaneous band and thrashing out a couple of songs in a breathless, hilarious fashion. I wish I could remember who was on but I know Harry Hill was singing and I think Dave Johns was on guitar. It was the best thing I’d ever witnessed and I’m pretty sure I nicked the idea of comedians mucking about with musicians and turned it into the Horne Section a decade later. My first date with my wife was at the Comedy Store to see the players. I can’t wait to take my kids there too.

Armando Iannucci: Facts and Fancies

I’m getting worse and worse at reading books. Right now I’ve been reading the same crime novel for about six months and I honestly don’t know what it’s called or who it’s by. I know what colour it is. I think there’s a horse on the cover. But I pretty much hate it. I dread it. I’m so tired when I open it in bed that it takes me five minutes to work out what’s going on at all. I end up going back a few pages to re-join the story. Then I fall asleep after two paragraphs. Soon I’ll be back at the beginning. I’m determined to finish it somehow but I fear it’s a Sisyphean task. Luckily Armando Iannucci’s book is a masterpiece featuring only short stories. They’re beautifully constructed, like the best, funniest adverts you remember as a kid - but without the shame of being adverts. I’ve read this book several times - in fact I think it’s the only book I’ve read more than once. Also, it looks like he made the cover himself while drunk on Photoshop.

Alex Horne (and Tim Key): Everybody Talks, 2004.

Now this was a show. I did as a double act with Tim (although he never featured in the title because I had an excellent agent) and I think this was our best one. I really liked it. I don’t think that many people in the audience did but I thought it was very funny. Every night I chuckled away. That might have been part of the problem. The subtitle to the show was ‘The 2004 International Body Language Seminar’ and it was, I think, the first time I fully embraced PowerPoint. I’ll never forget that initial connection, the electricity between us. My life has not been the same since. Tim and I may have stopped performing together (well, kind of. If you discount We Need Answers and a lot of other stuff. In fact we are actually doing our first two-man for 7 years on August 14 of this year - it’s regrettably called Horne And Key And... but I think it’s sold out because Tim is a ‘hotshot’ now so not worth wasting too many precious words on) but I’ve never left PowerPoint’s side (although I should say that I now use Mac’s Keynote programme which is far superior).

Man On The Moon, 1999

This is a Jim Carrey film. But it’s not a ‘Jim Carrey film’. It’s a biopic about Andy Kaufman, a comedian I know nothing about, save for this film, but whom I admire absolutely. I don’t really want to know any more about Andy Kaufman because the film has distilled his life into a perfectly digestible snapshot and I’m happy with that much knowledge. I don’t want to know the truth. I should also say that I am the world’s worst film critic. I’ve never seen a film I don’t like. They’re all amazing. I mean, look at them! Look at the amount of people in the credits! It’s just me behind my shows. Hundreds of people worked on The Full Monty. All films are brilliant. And ideally, my own (exceptionally humdrum) career will be turned into a feature in 50 years time and will star Hollywood’s gurniest actor, breathing new and polished life into my otherwise pedestrian existence.

You've Been Framed - either 1990-1997 or 2004-Present.

Perhaps disappointingly to a stand-up comic, there is nothing funnier than You’ve Been Framed. The performances are so natural, the plotting inspired, the music so januty. We should be far more proud of this national treasure than we are. You’ve Been Framed is something we all share, like Christmas, and it makes us all smile, unlike Christmas. ‘I wish I’d filmed that, I’d have a got a tenner from You’ve Been Framed’, we say when granny falls over. ‘This is gonna be good’ we said, when Beadle introduced a sleepy animal medley. And now, with Harry Hill in charge of the voiceover, any weak links have been eliminated. This is perfect comedy, not dated like the Dead Parrot sketch or knowing like The Office. It’s not overly scripted, it’s not weird for the sake of being weird, it’s just funny. If Jim could fix anything for me it’d be to get in the audience for a You've Been Framed recording, if they do still record it in front of an audience. If not, to get into an edit suite. Or, ultimately, to have access to the vault that features in the intro sequence. That really would be heaven.

Published: 31 Jul 2012

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.