'I love how all the dialogue is insincere, flippant and ridiculous' | David McIver picks his comedy favourites

'I love how all the dialogue is insincere, flippant and ridiculous'

David McIver picks his comedy favourites

Joe Wengert: Girardi’s Frozen Yoghurt

In this sublime piece of character comedy, Joe Wengert plays the manager of a frozen yoghurt stand, who is holding a meeting of his high school-age employees, because they’ve been desecrating the work corkboard.

There’s so much I love about this bit. Wengert’s character has no self-awareness whatsoever, and it’s beautiful to watch him describe the ways in which his employees have been mocking him, without ever getting the joke.

I’m also kind of obsessed with useless authority figures, and I find them really funny. It’s got something to do with watching timid or unassertive people in a position of power.

Cowards

I think this is the funniest sketch show that’s ever been made and I cannot believe they only got to make three episodes. Like everything Tim Key does, it is an absolute masterclass in subtle, understated and deadpan comedy, where huge laughs come from slight intonations and word choices.

I love the first sketch on episode three. I think about this sketch pretty much every time I sit down to write a sketch. Like all good sketches the premise is incredibly simple: what if you dropped your coins and people were actually angry with you?

But there’s something great about the way it externalises the embarrassment we feel when we make the tiniest mistakes.

Mistaken for Strangers

A documentary about The National, filmed by the frontman Matt Berninger’s brother Tom, as he follows them on tour, working as roadie.

The film becomes more than a music documentary though, as Tom is accidentally a brilliant comedy character, and pisses off all of the band and crew by just wanting to get drunk and have fun all the time, rather than do his job.

It’s a really sweet and moving portrait of a relationship between two brothers that is, at times, tense and fraught, but ultimately warm and loving and mutually supportive. And it’s really not important to have any interest in The National in order to love it.

Year Friends

This was a great web series that came out in 2016 from Sheeps, Jamie and Tash Demetriou and Ellie White. It’s a flatshare mini-sitcom that is kind of like an absurdist version of Friends.

I think what I’ve hated about a lot of British sitcoms that have come out over the last five or ten years is how contrived and unnatural a lot of the dialogue is, but in Year Friends that’s the entire point. I absolutely love how all of the dialogue is totally insincere, flippant and ridiculous.

There’s a constant flicker of joy behind the eyes of all of the performers, as if they’re enjoying a joke that only they know about, and it’s so fun to watch.

David McIver Is A Nice Little Man is on at Opium at 2.30pm.

Published: 16 Aug 2018

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