Saturday, 18 October 2008
The Fast Show
One of my earliest comedy memories is watching The Fast Show with my brothers. When I was that young, most of the jokes went over my head, but even then I loved it. Favourites back then were Johnny Nice Painter – so strange and slightly scary, Rowley Birkin Q.C. – hilarious to absolutely anyone, The Thirteenth Duke of Wymbourne and Jazz Club. It can’t be said that it was good clean family humour, but it certainly brought something that could be enjoyed by anybody.
Now I’m older I look back on The Fast Show with nostalgia, such wonderful creations, Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse really did work very hard on the show, and it payed off. Most of the ideas were fairly simple, but they were played with a style only they could manage. In my opinion The Fast Show is a collection of their greatest work even now.
They say too many cooks spoil the broth, this was certainly not the case with The Fast Show. A wealth of great writers worked on the sketches on the show. Most notably among the bunch are Dave Gorman, who now presents his own incredibly unique style of comedy, and of course Graham Linehan, the great creator of Father Ted, Black Books and The I.T Crowd.
I think the most significant creation to come from the Fast Show, are Ted and Ralph. Though the Suit You sketches are undoubtedly most famous, Ted and Ralph were the quintessential backbone of The Fast Show. Linehan originally wrote the idea. The creation process on the show was quite unique. All the actors and writers would meet each week with Charlie and Paul as sort of chairmen, they would discuss any ideas they had, and from this they came up with the sketches they would shoot.
Ted and Ralph may have lost some of it’s original humour, but is none-the-less a magnificent creation, an incredibly original idea, with some stunningly good writing, even now it threatens to bring a tear to my eye. If you discount the comedy aspect of Ted and Ralph you could never be quite sure whether it is a Romance or Tragedy because the end is what would ultimately determine that.
If you’ve never seen The Fast Show before then I hope this high-praise will urge you to go and try it. It presents a wonderful, typical, British humour, which never fails to make you smile a laugh. It is the inspiration for all the modern sketch shows, which, I might add, all pale in comparison to The Fast Show.