An appetite for comedy... | George Egg chooses his food-based Perfect Playlist

An appetite for comedy...

George Egg chooses his food-based Perfect Playlist

Being into comestibles as much as I am into comedy, I’ve chosen clips that in some way relate to food or drink.

Victoria Wood: Mens Sana in Thingummy Doodah

Victoria Wood suffers from having her rather one-dimensional Let’s Do It song dragged out whenever there’s a clip required to illustrate what she does, but she’s so much more than that. This series of six comedy plays, broadcast in 1989 like the best of Alan Bennett have depth and empathy, but then unlike Bennett they veer off into the surreal.

Here’s a clip from Val de Ree of Victoria Wood and Celia Imrie arguing about some chocolate. And I love how they corpse at the end but they’ve left it in.


Mike Leigh: Nuts in May

By far and away my favourite thing that Mike Leigh has made. Two middle-class somewhat holier-than-thou vegetarian campers on holiday. That’s all. Like the best of Alan Partridge, Basil Fawlty, Larry David or David Brent, while you’re cringing at Keith (Roger Sloman) you’re simultaneously sympathising and to a degree empathising with his plight while desperately wishing he could deal with it in a different way.

The whole film is online, but here’s a clip of when Candice Marie (Alison Steadman) questions Keith’s rule that food should be chewed 72 times. I love how long they draw out his internal counting before he answers.


Lord Buckley: God’s Own Drunk

A real treasure. Utterly bizarre and a comforting assurance that in any era you’ll find performers being absurd and innovative. Lord Buckley creates a hipster slang patois monologue, quite unlike anything I’ve ever heard before or since and what comes out is the a rap-like, preacher-like majestic poetry peppered with perfectly pitched phrases and metaphors.

When I was introduced to him it was on C90 cassette tape and wasn’t until some years later that I saw his picture and was surprised to see that he was white, having created a Louis Armstrong-like image in my head based on his voice.

Here he is telling a story called God’s Own Drunk


Ivor Cutler: Gruts for Tea

Another schoolmate C90 cassette lend introduced me to this softly-spoken Scotsman and I was immediately hooked. I’m particularly attracted to comedy that speaks to everyone and my children have enjoyed his songs, poetry and musings just as much as I have.

There’s been a resurgence of this sort of cross-genre performance in the comedy world over the last half decade or so and his influence is clear in the work of Tim Key, David O’Doherty and numerous others. (Incidentally, I wanted to put Tim Key in this Perfect Playlist too, because he’s brilliant, but I didn’t have enough spaces)


Napoleon Dynamite

A surreal but completely accessible story about being an underdog and winning. This is one of the only films I’ve ever rewatched while listening to the DVD commentary and it’s well worth it. It’s a true ensemble piece, made by friends with a long history and their constant interjections like ‘that’s a real place’ and ‘that actually happened’ make the film itself so much more enjoyable.

I think the humour is a real testament to creating something from what YOU find funny, rather than what you think other people will enjoy. There’s always someone out there who’ll be on your wavelength.

Food features heavily in this film; steak; cheese; cakes; milk; corndogs; orange juice. So much so that we’ve even played family games of 20 questions where the answer has to be 'food from Napoleon Dynamite'. Here’s a clip where our hero is trying to surreptitiously eat some ‘tots’ during class.


Gennaro Contaldo

A natural clown. It’s often said that some acts have ‘funny bones’. The chef Gennaro Contaldo has them.

Not a comedian, but as funny and entertaining as the cream of the circuit. His pidgin-English spoken with a mixture of Italian and Cockney accents is charming and I love how he refers to all the ingredients as ‘him’ and how everything goes ‘inside’ the pot. He’s warm, enthusiastic, chaotic, endearing and I could watch him forever.


Rod Hull and Emu

An extraordinary performer and a proper anarchist. So violent whilst at the same time so apologetic for Emu’s appalling behaviour. I love how once the attacks begin any attempts to convincingly puppeteer are abandoned and Emu’s head becomes nothing more than a glove to hit and grab with.

Many stand-ups have cited how Rod might have been lucky passing away before operation Yewtree started their unearthing, but I don’t imagine they’d find anything untoward in his (or Emu’s) past. While other 70s presenters were secretly interfering with people behind the scenes any appetite for groping that Rod might have had was openly sated in front of the cameras, as this clip from Breakfast TV of a particularly vicious attack shows.

And to maintain the ‘food’ theme that I’ve tried to adhere to, here’s another clip of the two of them attempting some cooking. With eggs. Of course.

 George Egg: Anarchist Cook is on at the Gilded Balloon at 14:45

Published: 11 Aug 2015

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