Politically Incorrect…But Still Funny

 
Firstly, apologies. I’ve been so busy with Big Brother and The X Factor that I haven’t had time to update my blog. However, you’ve all been perusing and leaving comments – so cheers for that. It’s nice to see.
 
So one night, there I was surfing (as you do), when I came across a surprising find: On The Buses, now on the Men & Motors channel. Imagine my shock when I found myself laughing. Cheap, vulgar and misogynistic  it may have been, with an over-reliance on saucy seaside postcard humour, but in these politically correct noughties days, it can boast making me laugh a couple of times. And that’s no mean feat. Unlike the classic Steptoe And Son ("’Arrrrold!" "You dir….ty old man!"), it has dated horribly. It was aging even as it was broadcast during its original run from 1969-1973 – and yet, I found it all oddly endearing. Double decker buses! Glass milk bottles! Half pence coins! Smoking! 
 
Besides, how could anyone dislike bus driver Stan Butler (played by the 50ish Reg Varney)? Stan is characterised by his horniness: desperate for the mini-skirted, busty, nubile women working in the depot (who always fancy him), it’s not unusual to find him clocking off and keeping the passengers waiting while he has a bit of ‘ow’s yer father’ with the chosen wench. The series made Reg Varney an unlikely sex symbol – only in this country could a man like Reg become an object of desire. Makes yer proud to be British, doesn’t it?
 
Stan’s best mate is his conductor, a right jack-the-lad called Jack with a hugely infectious laugh who says "Cor blimey" more times than Jodie Marsh has been Tangoed (has anyone ever seen her natural skin colour?). Our horny bus driver lives with his bingo-obsessed mum who loves him to death. In the same house resides plain sister Olive and her layabout, sponging husband Ar’fur. One character who must be mentioned is long-suffering bus Inspector ‘Blakey’ Blake; Stan and Jack delighted in making his life a misery, prompting weekly lip-quivering exclamations of "I’ll get you Butler!" and "I ‘ate you, Butler!"
 
I think the very absurdity of On The Buses is what tickled me the most: two middle-aged skirt-chasers (one with teeth Austin Powers would envy). Poor Olive, frequently slated by bitter, lazy husband Ar’fur. Mum, who feeds her son more stodge than yer average foie gras farmer gets into a goose (she wants her son married, but thinks nobody’s good enough for him). The female conquests – who are either blind, or newly-released from prison. And finally, Blakey. Poor Blakey. Was there ever a more pathetic authority figure? 
 
To put this daft programme into even starker perspective, it’s as well to remember that it was around at the very same time as Monty Python’s Flying Circus. And just a couple of years after the bus roared into the depot for the last time, John Cleese would go on to Fawlty Towers. But still, it got me chuckling which is more than I can say for the likes of ‘Orrible, My Family, Dinner Ladies, Grown Ups, My Hero, Two Pints Of Lager And A Packet Of Crisps etc 
 
Today I am mostly lovin’ – BBC Four for repeating Spike Lee’s searing documentary When The Levees Broke. Quality, quality television.
 
Today I am mostly hatin’ – Everybody Hates Chris. Not the show – but that bloody Footloose promo! Flippin’ ‘eck Tucker! Hasn’t the Paramount Comedy Channel got any staff these days? Change the bloody promo! 
 
MSN Editor Coops
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40 Responses to Politically Incorrect…But Still Funny

  1. mark A.J says:

    just saying its not chris tucker who\’s in everybody hate chris …its chris rock..
    and just saying the fact the BBC and for that matter ITV haven\’t produced a decent sitcom in the last 8 years
    and channel 4 are hit and miss at best doesn\’t really count as news
    i only wish that\’d commission stuff thats a bit more taxing then hyperdrive or the IT crowd
    bring back the dwarf or more bremner bird and fourtune
    just for the love of god …no more green green grass

  2. Coops - says:

     Mark mate, thanks for the correction – not needed though. The reference to \’Tucker\’ did not refer to either of the blokes named Chris. You are obviously too young to realise that "Flippin\’ \’eck Tucker!" is a very famous catchphrase from the glory years of Grange Hill. It was directed at one Peter Jenkins played by Todd Carty, who\’d go on to fame again as Mark Fowler in EastEnders. It was as close to swearing as the kids at Grange Hill could get in those days. I still use it to this day…And yes, the dearth of decent British sitcoms is extremely worrying. 

  3. Keith says:

    You mean to say that you actually WATCH big brother?????  You must lead an awfully boring and pointless life. 

  4. Derek says:

    You think that On the buses is politically incorrect how about Love Thy Neighbour

  5. Ben says:

    the last time there I watched a UK sitcom, and enjoyed it, must have been Spaced. 

  6. Sophie says:

    coupling is a brilliant british sit com, and that ones fairly recent!

  7. Helen says:

    I know sit-coms are mainly dire, mindless sludge these days, but so are the kiddies programs! Whatever happened to the kids shows that are utterly obscene when watched as an adult? The closest we\’ve got these days is actually on Wake Up to Wogan with the Janet and John stories!
     
    In fact, I think he was involved with one of the worst childrens show – Stopit and Tidyup. Obsessed with gherkins, eh?

  8. Coops - says:

    Joe, funnily enough, I was going to mention Love Thy Neighbour…but I\’ll leave that to another day. I recently watched an episode as part of the BBC\’s Television On Trial series. Did it make me laugh? Once maybe. It serves a \’the way we were\’ kind of purpose, but it fails on just about every other level. Ben, I\’m right there with you regarding Spaced – genius. Just genius.

  9. Gregor says:

    No good british sit-coms? Yer aff yer nut – Still Game is up there wi\’ the best of them, there\’s been at least 5 series of consistently funny episodes and Naveed\’s character is comedy genius. Now "Back aff, ya spooky b*tch!" 

  10. sarah says:

     you are so right about that advert
     
    everytime i see it now i have to put the tv on mute or it\’ll annoy the hell out me
     
    cos of how many times i have seen it and i don\’t even watch paramount comedy that much

  11. Don says:

     have you seen \’OUTNUMBERED\’ with Hugh Dennis BBC1 10:30pm……………… funniest sit-com in YEARS

  12. peter says:

    i also have watched all the episodes of on the buses in fact i even recorded some of them,but the reason for this is i couldn\’t believe that a comedy show like this could have got away with what it did, you have a fifty year old short ugly man (stan) a bus driver who tries to chat up and sometimes does fantastic dolly birds in mini skirts and more to the point they go out with him, and are willing to let him have his wicked way with them untill they are rudely interrupted by usually a member of his family walking in on them just before anything exciting happens, then you have his conductor pal who\’s teeth would put jaws to shame doing the same thing, but at the end of the day it\’s a wonderful bit of nostalga that brings back how simpler life was in the seventies

  13. Anna -Chinawhite- says:

    Sorry to say this but no British TV sitcom has ever made me laugh.  Ive always found it uber predictable.  US is where its at – cant beat Family Guy 

  14. Coops - says:

    It started with On The Buses and UK sitcoms in general, and it\’s expanded into US versus UK – a subject I skirted with in a previous blog entry. When both countries get it right, it truly is the best of both worlds and I wouldn\’t have it any other way. However, I think I\’ll try and watch as many Brit sitcoms as I can in the next couple of weeks, starting with \’no name\’s\’ recommendation of \’Outnumbered\’. I usually miss it because I\’m watching the Sex & The City repeats on Paramount Comedy. Helen – you\’re so right about kids TV, a subject I plan to tackle in more detail later. Sarah – the Footloose promo for Everybody Hates Chris is gone! Hurrah! Let\’s see how long they drag out the new one with Grandmaster Flash\’s classic \’The Message\’. Peter, nostalgia is definitely a pull when it comes to certain TV shows. I still sit down and watch \’To The Manor Born\’, whenever it\’s repeated. Everything about Audrey Forbes-Hamilton gets up my nose and yet…I can\’t resist.

  15. Lorna says:

    i think british sitcoms are the best. has no one seen Spaced, The Office, Peep Show?
    although the first to aren\’t on anymore… ive never seen anything that comes close to how good they were. 

  16. colin says:

    We need anarchy….   bring back the violent comedy like Bottom, The Young Ones and the fantastic Father Ted which is the best religious p***take ever!!!   dumps on Vicar of Dibley from a mega-height!!!!   oH, AND WHILE WERE AT IT…….  Dare i say an up-tp-date version of THE NEW STATESMAN….  Imagine that in the polictical carnage of todays  Britain, with a power hungary older Alan trying to bump-off Cameron to become tog-dog, whilst trying to scheme and plot his way  to getting rid of Labour….  it has to work, doesn`t it??? 

  17. Hannahmarie says:

    Sorry, but I have to object about My Hero. It was funny (in my opinion, I\’m guessing not in yours) and it had an original plot premise (unlike the likes of My Family, which have been done to death, and was just embarrassing). Although, admittedly, the last series wasn\’t as good when Ardal O\’Hanlon left. 

  18. Rebecca says:

    I just wanted to say that Two Pints of Lager has its moments.
     
    Also I agree that they should brinng back The New Statesmen, although according to the recent theatre tour Alan B\’stard is a Labourite now.  Imagine the havoc that would cause, definately more humour in the trying to bump off Gordan Brown.

  19. brian says:

     TWO PINTS OF LAGER HAD ITS MOMENTS??!!?? HOW MANY PINTS HAVE YOU HAD????

  20. Unknown says:

    Comedy programs must be the hardest programs to write. 90% of them are absolute rubbish but when they get it right they can be the best thing on tv. Unfortunately we always have to wait several years between the good ones. We seem to be in a dry spell right now, I can\’t think of a single one that is close to being funny. One of the problems is that the best ones are so good ( Fawlty Towers, The Young Ones, Red Dwarf series 1-3, Father Ted)  most writers don\’t even bother to compete (Barbara, Two pints of lager etc.) Mind you it could be just me, I never liked Only Fools and Horses and from what I can gather it was compulsory to like that particular one.

  21. michael says:

    best comedy ever  the detectives   side spitting comedy 

  22. Rebecca says:

    Yes Two Pints of Lager has it\’s moments.
     
    So do most comedies.  Humour is relative, different people laugh at different things.  After all if no-one was watching it it wouldn\’t have been recommissioned.  No viewing figures = no second series. 
     
    I like most older sitcoms and must admit I would prefer to watch those, but you have to work with what the \’wonderful\’ people at televison centres throw at you. 
     
    Also I don\’t think Craig Charles could do Red Dwarf now… he sold out to Corrie
     

  23. Francesca says:

    In no particular order but, To the manor born, The Good life, The Liver birds, Bread, Father Ted,Red Dwarf, Monty python,The Likely lads,Spaced, The young ones. The new statesman, Only fools and horses, I could go on but I\’m tired and my brain hurts, but really,no good British sit-coms…? ARE YOU \’AVING A LARF ???????!!!!!!! 

  24. Francesca says:

    …Fawlty Towers,coupling,Vicar of Dibley, dinnerladies (I may be getting my second wind here) My hero, Open all hours, Some mothers do \’ave em, keeping up appearances, Til death us do part (now THAT was non PC!!) Dad\’s army, one foot in the grave, and of course Eastenders, well I did say I was tired :)) 

  25. jane says:

    you think on the buses got away a lot then you must never have watched ove thy neighbour. comedy gold if ever there was any. 

  26. Coops - says:

    I am a huge fan of Till Death Us Do Part. This is such a brilliantly written show about all kinds of prejudices and it should certainly be aired more often. A good deal of people mistakenly think it falls on the wrong side of political correctness these day. Poppycock. Sure, in some ways the language is antiquated, but Alf Garnett\’s views are often held up for ridicule by his nearest and dearest. And it\’s as funny as hell.

  27. STAN WHETSTONE says:

    Has everyone forgot SOAP. This was on eof the funniest sitcoms ever and very politically incorrect 

  28. Unknown says:

    Nah, for old comedy that makes you laugh against your own better judgement, it has to be Open All Hours. Cracking and surprisingly filthy. 

  29. K says:

    At the end of the day, you can\’t beat Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers and Vicar of Dibley for British comedy; nothing better than them at all. But the likes of M*A*S*H, Cheers and Frasier can easily compete with them. Those who discount American comedy are just the type of narrow minded people who go on holiday abroad and insist on finding a fish and chip shop! "British is best!" Unfortunately, not always!

  30. Unknown says:

    I REALLY DONT THINK YOU CAN BEAT THE BRITISH SITCOMS OF YESTERYEAR,I COULD EASILY SPENDA WHOLE WEEKEND WATCHING ON THE BUSES,FAWLTY TOWERS(flowery tw**s),ONLY FOOLS AND HORSES AND CARRY ON FILMS..
    EVEN THOUGH I ROLL AROUND IN LAUGHTER AT THESE OLD SHOWS MY YOUNG DAGHTER (9)THINKS THAT THEY ARE TERRIBLE AND EVEN A HER AGE SITS THERE CONSTANTLY SAYIN "THEY CANT SAY THAT"OR "THAT IS REALLY UNCALLED FOR",SHE LOOKS AT US HER PARENTS,WHO ARE NORMALLY VERY PC AND ALWAYS TRY TO INSTILL THIS IN OUR KIDS,AS IF WE ARE VERY VERY HIPOCRITICALL AND AS IF WE ARE A LITTLE CRAZY!!! I DONT THINK MANY OF THE NEW SITCOMS WILL WATCHED AND LAUGHED AT IN 30-40 YEARS AS ANY OF THESE CLASSICS.

  31. wizzy100 says:

    I\’m glad I\’m not alone in my Father Ted appreciation. 🙂
     
    I feel v.sorry for \’Chinawhite\’ who claims that "no British sitcom has ever made her laugh"! Darlin\’, you must be watching the wrong ones… American humour, although it has its moments (i.e. Curb Your Enthusiasm, Family Guy) is altogether completely staged and predictable. I don\’t want to get into a war here – but I seriously doubt the sense of humour of anyone who finds US comedy funnier than our own home grown…

  32. Rhonda says:

    I grew up in the states,and moved to the UK 14 years ago-given a choice between the US and the UK comedies,I\’d say the UK comedies win hands down! We used to watch British comedies such as Monty Python,Benny Hill,Fawlty Towers,Butterflies,etc.. on a channel called PBS as a kid-and loved them. Since living here,I\’ve come across comedy programs that have had me laughing out loud-Father Ted never failed to have me clutching my sides,roaring with laughter! American sitcoms tend to follow a \’tried and tested\’ method-and then of course there\’s the annoying canned laughter. Though shows such as Scrubs,Frasier and My Name is Earl are brilliant American imports in my book!  

  33. sandra says:

    Got to say I like both British and American Soaps – Remeber Niles with the ironing board (Frazier) and Cat as Dwayne Dibley in Red Dwarf, Del Boy and the open bar flap and as Batman – But one show in particular used to make me howl, Dad\’s Army, a real gem. 

  34. Julie says:

    Good one, Stan.  SOAP!  I LOVED it, and could never find anyone else who watched it, except my husband.  Perhaps that\’s why we got married…  And, yes, The Detectives.  Hilarious!  What about \’A Very Peculiar Practice\’ on BBC2?   We couldn\’t wait for that to come on every week.  Not a sitcom, per say, but so, so funny.  Wonderful characters.

  35. Christopher F. says:

     liked On The Buses. The Office was crap. My Hero and My Family were ok. Fawlty Towers was genius. What about Hi-De-Hi then? I wish MSN would get rid of this stupid wide-screen crap. Some of us can\’t afford to rush out and buy new monitors which won\’t handle multiple modes anyway.

  36. Trevor says:

    Best TV comedy ever – Dad\’s Army.  Still funny today, and really hasn\’t dated at all.

  37. bigguskeefus says:

    aw man.. what about Mr Bean or Blackadder…. i love dads army as much today as i did as a kid its still brilliant, fawlty towers is still hilarious i used to love all the lettering mix ups on the sign at the start of the episodes like \’watery fowls\’ just great stuff, how about \’ripping yarns\’ python or rutland weekend television.u.s. sitcoms i love and still love are obviously friends but i loved cheers, and m.a.s.h. soap, frasier all great,.

  38. jim says:

    No body mentioned "It ain\’t arf hot" Now that was funny and definitely not pc.

  39. karen says:

    its funny isnt it how the non pc ones are the programmes that so many people find the funniest lol its no supprise is it as when in the late 80s and early 90s when this political wheel started to tell us what was correct and not it also eliminated the best part of tv, most of todays so called humor is safe, and boring and in no way funny however a golden exapmple of what is funny is shameless and that is a truley un pc programme if ever there was one lol. itsa pity programme makers got off their hugh horses and realised what we the licence payers want …..
     
    entertainment, not more cooking, decorating, antiques or bloody horse buying progrmmes.
     
    bring back true british comedy like we had in days gone by

  40. Coops - says:

    I loved It Ain\’t Half Hot Mum – and I was watching it when I was much younger. My favourite was effeminate drag artist Gunner \’Gloria\’ Beaumont (hilariously played by Melvyn Hayes). I do wonder what Asians made of Bearer Rangi Ram (a blacked-up Michael Bates) back then…and I wonder what they\’d make of him now. On the subject of blacked-up actors, Alf Garnett writer Johnny Speight wrote another sitcom that was very short-lived: Curry and Chips. It  starred Spike Milligan as an Asian man named Kevin O\’Grady. He claimed this was as a result of having an Irish father, which led to loads of very un-PC jokes about Asians and the Irish. Very much of its time (it aired in 1969), it\’s unlikely to see the light of day again (unlike Love Thy Neighbour, which is being updated if you believe the latest TV gossip).

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