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Sure, this was the funniest show ever. Right up until 'Kids in the Hall,'
anyway, which gave NTNON about ten years reign. Do you realise NTNON was
first comedy troupe to make fun of ABBA? Respect is due. If you can
Mel Smith dressed like Agnetha, you get the idea... And if it comes easily
to your mind, I raise an eyebrow at you.
Just a young lad when this show was on-air, I was glued to the tv set like wet toilet paper.
Nowadays NTNON's humour seems fairly commonplace. But NTNON was the first to mock the MGM logo by zooming out on the roaring lion to show him mounting a female. Since this is done routinely in comedy now, the impact is lost. But at the time, it was mind-blowingly irreverent. And since this was the first time I had ever seen sex, it was also educational.
If there is one defining characteristic about British humour it is our ability to laugh at ourselves, not take anything too seriously, and therefore a good few 'sick' jokes abound. Name any major disaster of recent history (Townsend Thoresen, Exxon Valdez, Concorde) and dozens of 'sick' jokes spring to mind. Such is the case with NTNOCN, with their constant Chappaquiddick references and the 'Wallaby Airlines' skit. I was a big fan of NTNOCN, and loved the skits "Gay Christian" "American Express" and "Gerald the Gorilla" as well as their parodies of "That's Life" and "Game For A Laugh" ("Oh, I don't believe it! We love your show!") and dead-on impressions of celebs such as Janet Street-Porter and Sir Robert Mark. The songs were funny too, such as "Gob On You", "The Bouncing Song" and a great skewering of 80's music on "Nice Video, Shame About The Song". All in all a must for any aficionado of British humour.
The reason that NTNON isn't remembered as much as it could be is the sheer
topicality of many of the sketches. The company bosses acceding to the
increasingly outrageous demands of the Union bosses - "and his daughter to
be phased in at a later date" - are still funny, but were probably funnier
still at the time. Of course, there are plenty of other sketches that
require a full knowledge of Britain in the early Thatcher years to
appreciate, and if you ever get the chance, it's worth catching
And the songs are still brilliant. Altogether now - " I Like Trucking"
What a pity that the comment that is visible on the front page puts down one of the best sketch shows of the 1980s and completely misses the point. It reminds me of the time when someone wrote to 'Points of View' to complain about the racism in 'Goodness Gracious Me' after the 'Indian teenagers visit Britain' and 'Going for an English' sketches. As the writer of the comment was Scottish I wonder if he finds 'Chewin' the Fat' offensive to people with throat cancer! Not the Nine O' Clock News was equally capable of hilarious comedy and biting satire. I remember Rowan Atkinson's monologue as an alien with a faulty translator being the first thing that ever made me laugh uncontrollably, long after the sketch had ended; The series' songs were clever parodies of such pop stars of the time as Sheena Easton, Blondie, Kate Bush and Motorhead; and the 'Gerald the Gorilla' sketch was superb. There was also excellent satire as well, directed at police racism (the 'Constable Savage' sketch), religious outrage over 'Monty Python's Life of Brian' (the 'Life of Christ' sketch) and patronising Hollywood attitudes to issues in other countries (the 'Hollywood Salutes Lech Walesa' sketch). Perhaps our negative reviewer found the 'Coca Cola' sketch offensive to fat people instead of a comment on the fact that a so-called 'cool' drink is actually fattening and unhealthy. It's a pity that this series is only available on 2 'Best of' DVDs (why the hell do the BBC do that?) as it was the launchpad for the careers of Rowan Atkinson, Mel Smith and Griff Rhys-Jones, all of whom are still entertaining us (to a greater or lesser degree) today. And furthermore it shows us that Pamela Stephenson was a talented comedienne who need not have given up performing (though to her credit she has achieved a great deal in the years since her 'retirement'). A much-missed gem.
This show was so funny. I especially liked the toilet sketch involving the
assistant and the weird bloke trying to design a bathroom for the weird
bloke and all he ever puts in it is a toilet. that was the best sketch ever.
De niro 2001, you really need to lighten up, not all the sketches involved plane crashes. Only about 2 or 3 did. the rest of the sketches were just funny things about everyday life. The humour isn't in the plane crash, it's how they edited together two completely different news stories and made them look relevent. People weren't sitting at home saying "Hahahaha look at those people on that plane dying". The thing is, if they did have to acknowledge the fact those people died, they would have done it in a funny sketch anyway. like they did when they had complaints about a (stuffed) hedgehog being run over. for god sake it was stuffed. they didn't ask the local nature reserve for a fresh hedgehog to run over but anyway they then did an apology the following week involving them saying "We probably exibited less pain to hedgehogs per-say than whoever it is who goes around stuffing them". Anyway, sorry about all this writing but this show was just great and i'll love it forever. Overall 10 out of 10.
This show was practically compulsory viewing for teenagers and
students in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It introduced the
British public to Griff Rys-Jones, Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson
and Rowan Atkinson. Chris Langham was in the first season but
seemed to get replaced by G R-J after that.
It consisted of a series of sketches, some purely comedic, others with political overtones. The pizza parlour worker, played by Rowan Atkinson, sneezing on the pizza and declaring "Extra mozzarella" is the former, the close-up of a yobbish Griff R-J talking about him and his mates picking on some black blokes "because we 'ate 'em, right?" and the camera gradually pulling away during the monologue to show he's a uniformed policeman would be the latter.
Some great writing (Clive Anderson, Andy Hamilton, a pre-"Four Weddings and a Funeral" Richard Curtis), go-for-it acting and sketches that hit frequently enough to forgive the ones that didn't. The sketch with the trendy lefty social worker declaring the only way to deal with young men who misbehaved was to "cut their goolies off" is still a classic, as is Gerald the talking gorilla.
When I went to school in Denmark the greatest joy was to recite the surreal dialog from the team behind Not the Nine o'clock News with my mates. Granted, some of the more malicious jokes must have appealed more to the younger audience than grown-ups with true knowledge of famine and war - but on the whole - it was the greatest introduction to British society and language usage next to Monty Python. Some of the gags were so classical - I've never forgotten them: The court sketch with the judge and the lawyers arguing over how to prenounce "alibi" or the smash-hit-music-video "Good video - shame about the song - oh oh" with the title repeated again and again while all effort was put into making a state of the art video worthy of MTV. I do hope that the DVD will be released in Denmark too - it's classic fun from the eighties! :0D
Ten years after 'Monty Python', another sketch show revolutionised
British comedy. 'Not The Nine O'Clock News' was 'T.W.3' with a harder
edge. It didn't merely offend, but horrified. What became known later
on as 'alternative comedy' started here. Public figures such as Reagan,
Thatcher and The Queen found themselves on the receiving end of some
quite vicious ( but funny ) satirical jibes.
Typical 'Not' gag: "Peters and Lee ( a popular '70's singing duo ) split up today. Afterwards, he walked into a lamp post.". Singer Lennie Peters happened to be blind.
They showed no compassion, except when John Lennon died - the end credits of the next episode featured a Lennon song played over a black screen. Even the then-new medium of 'pop videos' got it in the neck from a witty song entitled 'Nice Video, Shame About The Song'. The cast were brilliant, Rowan Atkinson in particular, while Pamela Stephenson came as a shock to those of us used to 'glamour stooges'.
After three excellent seasons, 'Not' ran out of steam in its final year. The last episode, in particular, was absolutely dire and a sad note on which to end a great show.
Not the Nine O'Clock News is a brilliant combination of satire, visual and verbal humour, the topical and the downright silly. Although some of the more topical, particularly political, humour doesn't age too well most of it is timeless comedy gold. My personal favourite is the Government statement performed by the marvellously deadpan Rowan Atkinson on the current unemployment figures, a 30-second sketch of 'oh dear, oh dear oh dear oh dear'. For the people who lived through the 80s era of strikes and recession the biting humour will kindle some memories and put a happier face on what was doubtless a trying time. For non-Brits or those of us who were too young to remember, it's just really very funny. "And we would like to point out that we exhibited less cruelty to hedgehogs per se that whoever it is who goes around stuffing them".
Forget everything de_niro_2001 said about Not the Nine O'Clock News. This is absolutely brilliant comedy that relied heavily on the events of the period it was made in. This makes it sometimes a little bit out of date but if you know anything about the period it was made in, or remember that period, you can still laugh very hard. Too bad they don't offer the complete series for sale on DVD. I would certainly buy it. All members of the cast went on to have great careers. The young Rowan Atkinson is hilarious and Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith are very very funny. Pamela Stephenson, as the only woman of the cast, is great in doing impressions of news readers. She also often plays an interviewer providing the other cast members with the setting to deliver their material. Like in the interview with Mel Smith as the trainer of a talking gorilla (played by Rowan Atkinson). For now you can only buy 2 compilation DVD's. If you love sarcasm and irony, this is a series for you. If you loved Blackadder, this is a series for you. Just give it a chance, to watch it is to love it.
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