Tuesday, 6 September 2005

Three 'comedy' words or phrases I wouldn't care if I never heard again.

-based and -related.
To make a mock pompous formulation, as in: 'A wotsit, or other cheese-based snack!' or 'I was sorry for the old man and his footwear-related woes'. Yes, that was funny for the first six or seven years. Stop it now.

Marrying your sister.
Apparently the inevitable fate of all residents of Norfolk, Wales, the West Country, the North Country, Scotland, the American South, or indeed anywhere where you can see trees. As in Graham Norton yesterday: 'So, you shouldn't go to Cornwall. No, you really shouldn't go to Cornwall, because you'll end up marrying your sister!' Apart from the fact someone was well paid to photocopy that joke into the script, I'd also like to point out that if you're going to Cornwall, presumably your sister doesn't live there; so rather than marrying your sister for lack of other alternatives, as the Cornish all famously do, you'll have to persuade your sister to move down to Cornwall from London or Sheffield or Moscow for the express purpose of marrying you. And I'm not sure she'll be game for that. And if she is, then frankly the incestuous tendency is clearly latent in the pair of you, and I don't think you can really blame it on Cornwall.

Restraining orders.
As in '...and that's why I don't see her any more.' 'Yeah... that and the restraining order!'. Especially annoying in sitcoms, where we're supposed to believe the lovably hapless character was so stupidly in love, his ex had to put a hilarious restraining order on him!!! Yes, and then he was humorously sectioned under the comedy mental health act.


John Finnemore said...

Oh, and incidentally, I'm well aware that I have certainly used -based/-related myself (although not, I don't think, the other two) and there will not be a prize for the first person to point out where and when.

But anyone got any to add to the list?

Unknown said...

There are many times I find myself thinking a piece of comedy is lazy work, and there are almost certainly particular phrases or approaches that make me grind my teeth, but I don't recall them, and I guess I don't want to either!

James Lark said...

I'm fed up of sitcoms where one character says something vaguely weird and you get a minute of all the other characters frowning and looking away into the middle distance as if to highlight the hilarious absurdity of what has just been said. Essentially it's a way of trying to wring some humour from a line that wasn't funny to begin with. It also never happens in real life.

You only get it on sitcoms without a laughter track, otherwise a minute of complete laughter-free silence would be rather ostentatious.

James Lark said...

...the American laghter-track sitcom version of the same is similar, but with a shorter montage of the frowning/middle distance faces, and followed by the character who has just made the vaguely weird comment saying something along the lines of "or is that just me?" (cue huge artificial laugh)

The essential difference is that the character acknowledges their own stupidity, which is ironic because that's not really the American way.

People DO do this one in real life; however, usually they are people who have watched far too many episodes of "Friends".

Joe said...

"Whatever we do, we mustn't panic..."

RangyManatee said...


Overused comedy animal.

Eddie Izzard and Ross Noble should fight over the patent.


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Anonymous said...

Phrases like "There's no way in the world you'll get me to..." or similar, because we all know what's coming next.

Scene 1:
Man: "There's no way in the world you'll get me to stand on the window ledge dressed in a penguin costume."

Cut to:

Scene 2.
Man on window ledge, dressed as a penguin.

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