'One of the smartest dumb films ever' | Mary O’Connell picks her Perfect Playlist of comedy favourites

'One of the smartest dumb films ever'

Mary O’Connell picks her Perfect Playlist of comedy favourites

Mary O’Connell brings her debut show Money Princess to London’s Soho Theatre later this month talking pop culture, trying to be a good person and all things money – which is particularly pertinent since she won a sizeable sum winning  a talent hunt organises by OnlyFans. Here she picks her Perfect Playlist of comedy favourites…

Eddie Pepitone: In Ruins 

Eddie Pepitone is such a brilliant performer, he’s got so much rage. I love anger. He’s gritty, he’s intellectual, he’s vulnerable, he’s vulgar. The way he cuts from essentially screaming to this quiet, measured commentary is beautiful.

His act-out of the world getting to such a dark place that we need stand-up tragedy clubs instead of stand-up comedy clubs is so absurd and real at the same time. Him making the audience laugh at the most heinous scenarios is a thing of beauty. 

He’s so good at satirising the world we’re living in with an almost too self-aware awareness. He makes fun of us and himself for causing this end of days because instead of unionising we were too busy scrolling on Facebook and eating grilled cheese.

I love the duality of pointing out the problem while also being part of the problem, because that’s all of us really.

Mel Brooks: Blazing Saddles 

There’s something so distinctive about a Mel Brooks movie, it’s fun, it’s silly, it’s transgressive for the time but it also harkens back to classicHollywood. He’s a song and dance man and he’ll go the extra mile for a visual gag.

The edit of the scene where a bunch of cowboys are about to attack Sheriff Bart and Jim Waco (the fastest hands in the West) is so stupidly funny and silly. 

I always admired Mel Brooks' boldness. This movie came out in 1974, it’s been a decade since the Civil Rights Movement and already Mel wants to brazenly satirise race relations in America by doing a postmodern, anachronistic period piece about a Black man being appointed sheriff in the most hillbilly hick town in the South in 1874.

But also in this same film there’s a visual gag of a man punching a horse in the face with a resounding THWACK to go along with the hit. In showing such a dumb story the film becomes elevated because it shows the absurdity of racism. It’s one of the smartest dumb films ever. 

Katt Williams: The Pimp Chronicles Pt. 1

Katt Williams is a pure entertainer. There are so many specials of his that I love (special shout out to the opening of his American Hustle special which I truly think is clowning at it’s finest) but the classic Pimp Chronicles Pt 1 is my pick for this playlist.

I used to get home from school and watch the special in parts on YouTube back in the day. There aren’t that many comedians who can do political comedy in a big theatre, or an arena and make it feel like church. One of his shows feels like an event, people get dressed up to go see him.

He talks about politics and social issues in a genuinely insightful way but it’s always accessible. Katt is eccentric and super original, he’s flamboyant, and his entrances to the stage always feel more like a rapper’s then a 5ft nothing comedian.

There’s so much showmanship, he’ll come on stage wearing a big fur coat and then put it on a chair that’s bigger than him. Obviously growing up I saw so much British comedy where humbleness and cynicism is a vibe but Katt is really powerful, he owns the stage and his persona blends the ego of a rapper with the sadness of a clown.

He’ll use the entire stage, he’s a really physical comedian who’ll do a whole pratfall in a special. There’s a special rhythm to him, his nasally voice fires out jokes like they’re bars in a song.

Bottom Live: Hooligan’s Island 

I remember coming home from a night out and watching the Bottom Live shows on Dave. I love the bloopers the best because even when they break they’re still sort of their characters who have a toxic codependent relationship and are trapped with each other.

Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson were so confident as a pair that they could sabotage each other, one of them would forget a line and the other wouldn’t help, but they knew how to make this struggle to get back to the plot so funny.

The plot was never that important, you just want to see them have fun on stage. I love the way they hurled insults at each other and how angry they would get at the audience for laughing at the stupid gags that they wrote.

Little Miss Jocelyn 

I remember at school we’d all be re-enacting the funniest lines from Little Miss Jocelyn sketches from watching them the night before. It was the time when British sketch comedy was really hot.

She’s so versatile is the range of awful people she’s able to play. They were almost always antagonistic but nothing could make me see them as the bad guys because they were so funny. Even though the characters were extreme they always came from a place that you could recognise and had probably seen in real life.

The show is so over-the-top and unapologetic. To have a sketch show led by a Black British woman that is clearly created for a Black audience was revolutionary. It’s wild to me that its creation was almost 20 years ago and there hasn’t been one since.

Eddie Murphy: Delirious 

I love a comedian who pays attention to their look and no one could forget Eddie Murphy’s iconic purple leather number.

Him swinging the mic around pretending it was a dick is the most innovative mic technique I’ve ever seen. He’s such a good storyteller and actor – how expressive his face and voice get really flavour that. He’d commit to an impression for longer than I thought was possible but because he threw himself into the person he was making fun of, it makes the show even better.

The way he could dissect American pop culture with this blunt realness of someone who’s been on the outside and inside of it is brilliant.

Mary O’Connell: Money Princess is at Soho Theatre, London from March 27 to 30. Tickets here.

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Published: 11 Mar 2024

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