John Walker's Electronic House

Rum Doings Episode 24

by on Apr.09, 2010, under Rum Doings, The Rest

This week, in episode 24, we don’t discuss: What with internet, the Facebook, Wiki and YouTubes, has information overload gotten the better of us?

Instead we discuss only two things: stand up comedy and politics. But hopefully with enough varied approaches that it’s not quite as dull as that description sounds. How could it be? We’re the best!

So we ask why are the most popular mainstream comics so popular, and what we wish they would do instead. We explore the difference between British and US stand up, and then via Stewart Lee we think about the BBC’s Top Gear. This then moves onto a discussion about UKIP, and why they’re trouble. Then more thoughts on the various parties in the forthcoming UK elections. And rum.

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22 Comments for this entry

  • Bobsy

    Ooof, that was painful to listen to. Nick was on particularly interrupty form, constantly shouting over John very loudly and unreasonably.

    On Eddie Izzard, I’ve for a long time felt that the reason he was such a massive success in the late 90s was that he managed to find a happy medium between observationalism and surrealism. He could switch between the two seemlessly, setting up a comfortable and recognisable situation before taking strange and unexpected turns with it. For instance in Glorious he does a perfectly straight impersonation of ‘Man in hot shower’ which segues to a man letting a mouse run over his hands in the bathroom for no reason.

    Michael McIntyre… Hoo boy. The thing that most annoys me about him is he’s on occasion really quite funny. He knows the art of preparing a piece of material back to front (I seem to recall that one or both of his parents were stand-ups). But his delivery, while technically sharp and well-timed, drives me mad. His tone of voice is that of someone on the verge of hysterics at his own gags. You get the idea that at any Michael McIntyre gig, the biggest Michael McIntyre fan in the room is Michael McIntyre.

    Female comedians… Lucy Porter’s quite good, as is Sarah Millican. I used to recommend Shappi Khorsandi quite often, but she isn’t all that good at going off-script, or doing new material.

  • John Walker

    Your mum is painful to listen to.

  • Bobsy

    I’m so telling on you.

  • James Campbell

    Not listened yet but all female comedians are terrible.

  • James Campbell

    I meant to present that link as evidence…

    Edit function please!

  • Pace

    I dunno about stand up comedians, but I absolutely love Top Gear. It’s easily my favorite show on TV now. A bit hit and miss at times, but Jeremy Clarkson is hilarious and perfect for that job. I think you should give it a more fair chance John.
    For example, you’d have to love this one:
    Or any other of a million youtube clips.

  • jsutcliffe

    The trouble with Zach Galifianakos’ stand-up is that his jokes just aren’t that funny. His demeanour and delivery slay me though, and Seth Galifianakos is an excellent character.

    I was a little surprised that Patton Oswalt didn’t get a mention, but you folks know comedy better than I do. I just laugh at dumb jokes.

  • jsutcliffe

    Galifianakis, with an I, dangit.

  • Strabo

    When discussing the digital economy bill, you say something along the lines of “If a company decides to send you three letters, they can cut you off the internet, and they can do this without any oversight from the courts or any other body.”

    This does not appear to be the case.

    The following quote comes from a summary of the bill I got from here:

    “ send notifications to those subscribers alleged by rights holders to be
    infringing copyright, and to record the number of notifications with which each
    subscriber is associated and make this data available to rights holders on an
    anonymised basis on request. This would allow the rights holder to apply for a court
    order to get access to the name and address of serious repeat infringers in order to
    prioritise legal action against them”

    I’ve also tried reading through the actual text of the bill, and have found nothing that sounds like anything you suggest. (I could easily have missed something, it’s nearly impeneterable legalese.)

    Although I dislike many things about this bill, the anger on the internet about it seems to be more like hysteria, especially since almost no-body read the actual bill.

  • James Campbell

    I’m afraid I have to agree with Bobsy’s verdict. Nick sounded extremely tired, bored, bitter, and grumpy this week.

    I stopped listening at 30:16. If I wanted to listen to this “type of thing” I’d watch the insufferable “Grumpy Old Men”.


  • John Walker

    I stopped listening to your mum at 30:16.

  • devlocke

    I dug it, though I think Nick’s opinions on style-over-substance are a bit silly, and I was sad that he disliked Eddie Izzard entirely. It’s possible I had more fun with it because I’m in the US, and your politics are mostly unfamiliar to me, so it was interesting. Sort of proving where I am on that style vs. substance thing, actually: even if you guys were grumpy old men and not entertaining, the interesting content tided me over, so I didn’t notice that it was lackluster. If it was.

    I don’t watch a lot of stand-up these days, because it mostly seems written for the Adult Swim generation (which I think might be me, but oh-well) and I find it grating more than funny. I was trying to think of my favorites, and I got Denis Leary (specifically ‘No Cure For Cancer’), Eddie Murphy (specifically ‘Raw’), Billy Connolly, and… err… Eddie Izzard. I’m not familiar with his more recent stuff but the three or four stand-up videos I’ve seen by him are amongst the most amusing and amusingly-clever things it’s ever been my pleasure to witness.

    Does that make me a thoroughly ignorant individual, lacking entirely in culture and taste?

  • radomaj

    Sarah Silverman is a good female stand-up.

    This might be interesting when talking about Seinfeld.

  • EthZee

    Your talk about Stewart Lee’s thing about Top Gear causing some guy to stop a guy watching it resonates with me; after listening to you two immolate The Now Show, I’ve stopped listening to it and actively avoid it if I can.
    I feel this is for the same reasons you described; some vain attempt to prevent being alienated. I want to be accepted by you. TEACH ME HOW TO BE ACCEPTABLE.

  • Ashish

    I really enjoyed this weeks show. The comedy discussion got to some really interesting points. John was not reluctant to defend comedians and Nick didn’t attack them in a way that implied that their audience was stupid. I don’t think this show was downbeat. In fact it was refreshing to hear an opinion on the General election which wasn’t defeatist or blindly optimistic. I look forward to the politics episode.

  • Gassalasca

    I had largely the same impression of Lee as Nick does, but he seems to be speaking largely in the same sort of accent in interviews as he does on stage:

  • Blackberries

    Do you mind terribly posting the name of that rum you had? I really couldn’t work out what I should be looking for based on it being read out.

    Going to a party tomorrow night and I’d like to bring something interesting. It sounds a little obscure but I’m sure somewhere in London will stock it.

  • James Campbell


    I think this is the rum:

    If not it’s something similar and I’d suggest sufficiently interesting!

    £32 though…

  • Blackberries

    Ah, thanks very much James!

    Probably a bit too dear for the party I’m going to. Though perhaps next time a special occasion rolls around.

  • install blinds b4 summer

    for me Seinfeld(the show) tickles the same funnybone as Eric Rohmer comedies – altho a more self regarding “Hollywoodized” version.
    Where Rhomer allows the convolutions of his characters to reveal themselves, Seinfeld(show) revels in filleting them out to feast on with the audience.
    tho I have to admit Jerry’s standup is dull…

  • bodnotbod

    Hello. You’ve forgotten to tag this one as a “rum doings”, so if you view your tag page this episode appears as missing.

  • Mike Arthur

    I was also confused by the missing tag.

    Just wanted to chip in about the Edinburgh Festival. It’s not nearly as good as it was 10 years ago but it’s still well worth a visit. The city is full of people doing interesting things for the month and, if you look a bit harder, there’s still a lot of good comedy. The big venues are the ones that tend to still have the acts you can see anywhere in the country but if you go to the smaller 10-20 people venues then you can see a lot of good up-and-coming acts.