Tuesday, February 16, 2010

While You Wait for Lost...

Before there was Monty Python, there was Beyond the Fringe. Made up of the incredibly talented and brilliant Dudley Moore, Peter Cook, Jonathan Miller, and Alan Bennett, they were the subversive sketch comedy troupe that spawned a generation of British humour. When I was a kid, my dad would play a Beyond the Fringe album for my brother and I all the time. There were a couple of tracks that appealed to us as kids, like the coal miner who would have been a judge (but he didn't have the lesson for the judgin'), who kept dropping the great lump of coal on his foot and going, "Oh-oh-oh." My brother and I were in hysterics.

One of the pieces that I always loved (and now as an adult I can hum the thing in my sleep) is Dudley Moore's absolutely magnificent parody of a pianist who runs through various types of music -- Classical, Baroque, Romantic -- before realizing he simply doesn't remember how to end the damn thing. Moore had given up a career as a pianist to become a comedian, but he found a way to show the world that he was a brilliant musician. Here's the video clip:

There are so many I'd love to post here, like the one-legged man who shows up for the audition, or one of THE funniest Shakespeare parodies I've ever seen ("So That's the Way You Like It"), but I think I'll play this one, which is the whole group (and it's just audio, not video, but it's the exact audio I listened to as a kid, so you'll know how I felt while I was listening to it). And... it's rather Lost appropriate, I think. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

UPDATE: I just heard that one of the clips that I filmed a while ago for Space (talking about Fringe) will be airing tonight at 11 EST, so if you're a Canuck, check it out! Apparently the Lost clips have run, and I somehow missed them!


Batcabbage said...

That was most funny. And I was quite surprised to hear Gollum show up halfway through (ha ha).

I've never heard any 'Beyond The Fringe' before, but I loved 'Derek and Clive'. I first heard it on a fishing trip, and thought 'Jesus, that's FILTHY!' Then I thought 'Oh no, I can't breathe for laughing'.

Marebabe said...

Nikki, that was so fun! I’ve always loved Dudley Moore on the piano. If ever anyone compiles all of his performances on a DVD, I will totally buy it! In return, here is one of my favorite bits of his, when he hosted The Muppet Show back in the 70’s. It’s only 26 seconds long, but it’s delightful. On YouTube, go to Dudley Moore at the Muppet Show. Getting back to the Sonata you shared this evening, I was reminded of Chico Marx saying, “I can’t think of the finish.” And Groucho says, “That’s funny, I can’t think of anything else.” Dudley Moore and Chico Marx and Victor Borge all have a special place in my heart.

I always thought Monty Python were the originators of screwball, silly British comedy. But clearly, I was wrong. I’m so glad to know about Beyond the Fringe! Thanks for sharing.

swac said...

Monty Python was essentially a combination of the anarchic zaniness of The Goon Show, and the more intellectual approach of Beyond the Fringe. Two halves adding up to a greater whole. I love the Fringe stuff though, so much of it is still spot on.

There's a UK DVD compiling most of what's left of Moore and Cook's show Not Only, But Also, and there's some brilliant stuff on there. I love their parody of Thunderbirds and other '60s Supermarionation shows like Stingray and so on, one of my favourite sketches ever.

Plain_Gillian said...

Super fun! Back in the days of VHS recorders my Mom and I used to watch a video of Not Only But Also and laugh until we peed (not really but close). Thank you Nikki for reminding me of that!