'The most violent sitcom ever made'

WTF: Weekly Trivia File

  • ‘I don’t consider myself an alternative comic... I just think there’s a self-congratulatory attitude there that I don’t embrace.’ Todd Barry

  • A finance manager who wanted to raise £3,000 for a charity trek to Machu Picchu in Peru reached his target overnight – because he shares his name with Richard Herring. The comic noticed the coincidence and tweeted it; causing donations to soar from zero to more than £2,700 in a matter of hours. The non-famous Herring said: ‘I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of the other Richard and his followers – I’ve had my fair share of jokes about living a double life as a famous stand-up comedian but never imagined sharing a name would help my fundraising.’

  • Rufus Hound almost chose Jiminy Cricket as his stage name.

  • Eddie Izzard’s new US series has been described as ‘the most violent sitcom ever made’ – by its own creator. Alan Spencer, who previously created the Eighties detective spoof Sledge Hammer said Bullet in the Face lives up to its name, as ‘people get shot in the face multiple times’. It also features beheadings and in one scene Izzard, who plays a mob boss, beats a man to death. In an unusual piece of scheduling, all six episodes of the show will be aired over two nights, starting yesterday, on US broadcaster IFC.

  • Jack Whitehall was asked to do Strictly Come Dancing – but turned it down even though his mum would love him to do it. ‘I got the email asking me to do it and I got it when I was on holiday with my mum and dad so I had to hide my computer, he said. ‘I knew if my mum saw the email she would reply “yes, he will do it” and force me into doing it.’

  • Robert Webb used to drive a 7.5-ton truck for a lighting events company – but wasn’t very good at it: ‘I spent a lot of time in traffic jams looking at an A-Z. It was quite stressful.’

  • Using real experiences in stand-up routines can have knock-on effects, as Carl Donnelly discovered at the Edinburgh Fringe. In his festival show he talks about his tearaway youth and at one point blamed a childhood friend – who he mentioned by his name, Louie – for being the bad influence that led to him becoming a shoplifter in his early teens. As Donnelly said his name, he heard a shocked voice from the crowd say ‘That's me?’ And it turned out to be the same friend who he hadn't had any contact with since the age of 16 sitting in the second row! He said: ‘The crowd clearly saw my reaction of total shock as clearly genuine so went crazy! Louie ran up onstage and we hugged during which the crowd cheered and I won't lie, I got quite emotional. We caught up afterwards over a beer and his story is basically a more extreme version of mine that I discuss in the show. Whereas I found comedy which gave me a reason to stop my drug-taking and criminality, Louie ended up in prison after which he turned his life around and is now settled down with his family and own business. No matter what happens this festival now, that moment will be the stand out memory for me and one I'll never forget.’

  • Sarah Solemani says she would 'donate an organ' to bring back Psychoville,

  • Tweets of the week
    Adam Hess (@adamhess1): My new career as an ornithologist is looking up.
    Nick Motown (@NickMotown): ‘Wanted. Dead Or Alive’ used to send a chilling message across the Wild West. Now it reads like a terrifying double bill at a pop concert.
    Cluedont (@cluedont): Jimmy Hill's wife was often referred to as a chinwag.

Published: 17 Aug 2012

Today's comedy-on demand picks


The Fawlty Towers legend has perfromed first streaming gig, with his stand-up show Why There is No Hope airing from the Cadogan Hall in London Speaking about the show, Cleese said: ‘I have recently been gathering my thoughts on the future of our planet and have reached the conclusion that the situation is completely hopeless, that there is nothing that can be done about it, but that it really doesn’t matter.'

Click for more suggestions
... including the Kelsey Grammar movie Breaking The Bank and vintage comedy with A Night In With ABC.

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