'Haunting and hypnotic' | George Ryegold creator Toby Williams shares his comedy favourites

'Haunting and hypnotic'

George Ryegold creator Toby Williams shares his comedy favourites

There is so much great comedy I could go on about here: Harold Lloyd, Porridge, Rising Damp, Doctor In Clover and Chorlton & The Wheelies to name but a very, very few – but here’s what’s really excited me over the last decade or so.

15 Storeys High

Sean Lock’s bleak masterpiece. I first stumbled upon an episode from the second series after midnight on the BBC many years ago. Lock’s somehow likeable misanthrope had woken up with a plough in his flat and was trying to return it.

Subsequent episodes were very difficult to find due to ludicrous and inconsistent scheduling so I bought both series on DVD the moment they came out. It’s difficult to describe how funny this is, especially when one of the stand-out moments simply concerns Lock looking after a man’s coat, but I cannot recommend this enough. I would say any fool could see there should have been at least one more series, but they obviously couldn’t.


The surrealist joy of Vic & Bob within the discipline of a strong narrative. With some of their most wonderful and, in places, darkest work, and with Matt Lucas versus Bob Mortimer in one of the best fight scenes ever: ‘How old are you?! How old are you?!’ – this is an absolute gem. Once again, difficult to understand why there were no further series.

Peep Show

Consistently funny and consistently strong – some of the best laughs coming from the beautiful use of language alone. It covers grown-up subject matter in an everyday way – ridiculous that this should be a reasonably rare thing in contemporary British TV comedy.

A testament to everyone involved that this is still going strong after eight series. So many great supporting characters – Johnson and Super Hans are personal favourites – and a myriad great moments, but Super Hans and Jeremy unable to remember ‘the bad thing’ is a highlight.

Limmy’s Show

Brian Limond is a unique talent and this great show is what you get when you give someone like this creative freedom. Inventive ideas from the daft and simple (one of my favourites being a toy Rottweiler on a child’s roundabout) to the haunting and hypnotic with an effect reminiscent of the superlative Jam.

It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia

I have fellow comic Tony Dunn to thank for showing me this a few years ago. The first episode I saw was from series 5, The Nightman Cometh, and I laughed my arse off. Unapologetically selfish and unsympathetic characters with fearless and, oftentimes, unhinged plots and disgusting motivations this has to be one of my favourite sitcoms of all time. I often wonder how this ever made it onto television, let alone for eight series, but am grateful that it exists.

The Life & Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit

This was my first Dickens and remains one of the funniest books I’ve ever read – especially the piercing characterisations of Seth Pecksniff. Plenty of darkness too, for those that find their comedy in such places.

• Toby Williams will be performing George Ryegold: Adulterated at Underbelly Bristo Square at 21:40

Published: 31 Jul 2013

What do you think?

Live comedy picks

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.