Utterly original, compelling, and most of all, messed up.
'Monkey Dust' contains the most ****ed up humour you will ever see broadcast on terrestrial television. It's one of those rare moments where you wonder if the grey-faced executives who OK'd the show's production knew quite what they were letting themselves in for. At least South Park was barefacedly crude.
Monkey Dust could have easily been great art, although luckily for us audiences, the creators have used their undeniable artistic flair and creative verve to sacrifice the art and wring the carcass until comedy comes splitting out the sides. This is comedy so messed up, so deeply deeply wrong, that most of the laughs come without the need for punchlines. It's very rare for a show to create situations which are just inherently funny. Monkey Dust has them like pearls on a string.
The show, half an hour long, comprises a series of interlinked sketches, with returning characters competing with one-off spectaculars. I like shows like this; they have an ongoing sense of when the comedy has been fully developed. The animation is done in a kind of new-wave, post - computer graphics style, a good blend of hand drawn and computer animation. Different studios worked on different sketches, and so there's a lot of variety in the half hour.
And now for the content. Monkey Dust has been described as Little Britain's older, edgier, criminally insane brother, and that's not such a bad way of summarising it. Both shows deal with everyday situations going on around the British Isles, and however mental the comedy may be, we're really laughing at the fact that what's being shown is not so very different from reality. Three flagship characters include a nameless elderly paedophile and his attempts to groom young girls on internet chat rooms; Steve the First-Time Cottager, whose attempts to lead a flamboyant homosexual lifestyle are hopelessly at odds with his modesty and shyness (the first time we see him he is reading a self-help book called Yes! I Can Gobble Off A Complete Stranger;) and my personal favourite, Ivan Dobsky the Meat Safe Murderer. Ivan was an friendly, innocent Liverpool lad before he was locked up 27 years ago for a crime he did not commit. Campaigning celebs have finally got him acquitted, unaware that police and prison brutality have turned him into an utter, utter psychopath. "Hullo I'm Ivan Dobsky the meat safe murderer, only I never done it, I only said I done it so the police men would take the rat out of me anus." Monkey Dust works so well because not only have they found comedy in the most unlikely of places, but because they even went looking for it in the first place. Occasionally the humour hits hard when a sketch begins with picturesque domestic bliss, because you know that in about thirty seconds time the rug is going to be pulled - hard. It also runs the risk of alienation when it makes fun of characters who closely resemble you and your friends. But the show never goes for a cheap gag, and that's admirable in a post- 'Friends' world.
If you're after some dark comedy which is going to stay with you for a unconsensually long time, then Monkey Dust might just be the gimp suit that fits.
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