Sunday, January 6, 2013

"Seems to me Wittgenstein has made rather a bad blunder here..."

While shuffling around on YouTube over the holidays I happily stumbled across this, a one-hour guided retrospective of what John Cleese considers to be the funniest films, skits, and actors, of his lifetime ("John Cleese's Comedy Heroes" it's called).  It lead me to consider and reconsider all sorts of stuff, but the show of note here is called "Beyond the Fringe."  It's a essence ('revue' says Wikipedia), that ran for a few years in the late 60s.  Its four stars have since gone on to be big names, but at the time Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore, and Jonathan Miller were just slightly insolent young Oxbridge grads.

"Beyond the Fringe" never existed beyond a stage show; as a result, their greatness is not that easily accessible.  Most of what they have to offer on YouTube is grainy and of poor quality (which makes sense--it's all bootleg videos from live theatrical performances in 1969).  The skit I post below is not their funniest, but it is the one that's stayed with me most since I saw it.  It reminds me, very fondly, of my brother.  I hope you all can bear with its difficult sound and video quality, and give it a go.

1 comment:

JMW said...

Finally got around to watching that. Loved it. The Brits are better than us.

Miller really reminded me of Stephen Fry, who I'm sure was hugely influenced by him. Here, for instance: