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Thursday 16 November 2023

Tell Us About...Laughter


Is This Mutton and other bloggers talk about LAUGHTER in the latest Tell Us About challenge

Dear friends. I haven't had a good laugh since 2016. That's when Motherland, the BBC's comedy about navigating the trials and traumas of middle-class motherhood, came out. 

Prior to Motherland, I loved W1A, the "mockumentary" about life at the BBC, and its predecessor, 2012, about the deliverance committee of the 2012 London Olympics. David Tennant's wry commentary has me in stitches. 

But there's a touch of sadness in my phrase "I haven't had a good laugh since 2016."  Of course I laugh many times during the day. But I miss those belly laughs from outstanding TV shows. 

The days of comedies on TV which make us laugh seem to have disappeared.  

The 1970s and 80s were a golden age of comedy.  Just look at some of the alumni: Monty Python's Flying Circus, Porridge, Steptoe and Son, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em,  Open All Hours, Are You Being Served, Keeping Up Appearances, Fawlty Towers, Hi de Hi, 'Allo 'Allo, Only Fools and Horses, Dad's Army. 

Not to mention the edgier comedies that took a swipe at politics and society, like Spitting Image. 

I don't think it's all to do with political correctness, although a few 1970s sitcoms have rightly been banished to dusty archives never to be seen again.

The problem is that in its efforts to be inclusive, the BBC - and let's face it, the BBC was the face of comedy for decades - wouldn't commission many of those series now. Plus we don't seem to have the same comedy writing talent, or performers. 

When you look at the list, most comedies were about the funny moments in a particular situation,  or the quirkiness of a central character.  

There was pathos as well as humour in some of the all-time greats. Steptoe Senior could make you  tearful as he begged 'Arold not to go out and leave him, because he was a lonely old man. While Steptoe Junior was forever frustrated by his father in his efforts to go upmarket and bring home a girlfriend.  

The Biggest Comedy Gap

I went on a mission a few month ago to try to "discover" female comedic talent that I could celebrate on this platform. I made a long list, with the help of an article in The Times. But it was so disappointing seeing these women on YouTube. I just didn't find them funny. 

I have yet to see a comedy about older women, or indeed about Boomers in general, which is funny.  The BBC had a series titled "Boomers" starring Alison Steadman but it was as funny as root canal. The actors delivered all their lines with the shrill fervour of a stage performance. And the lines weren't actually at all funny.

Where are the funny women in their 50s and 60s, who could be making us laugh with stories of menopause, grand parenting, ageism in the office, husbands and so on? Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have moved on. We sadly lost Victoria Wood. 

The Sex and The City follow-up series, Just Like That, could have been amazing. But the writer (male) didn't seem to have a clue that middle aged and older women are actually funny. Very funny. 

I would love to gather a posse of friends to brainstorm comedy lines in the way that series's like Friends were put together a few years ago. But I suspect that TV commissioners would flatly refuse submissions from our demographic, purely because we're predominantly middle class, and, well, older. 

Also Guaranteed to Make Me Laugh

There are some films I find hilarious too. Anything with Laurel and Hardy. Most of the Carry On films, a quintessentially British form of humour.  I loved a film called The Court Jester with Danny Kaye, and often replay the sketch about The Chalice from the Palace.  Clockwise, and A Fish Called Wanda, are two other favourites. 

And we do try to find new comedies to enjoy.  Recently I loved Fleabag, and we both liked Australian comedies Colin From Accounts and Fisk.

Do any of my choices ring a bell with you?  Am I wrong in saying the golden days of comedy have gone? 


Sue from Women Living Well After 50 looks at the importance of laughter & feeling connected for a healthy lifestyle after 50.

Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper began writing a review of fun television that made her laugh and then wandered through several definitions of laughter, concluding that laughter was a very healthy thing to do.

Mary Katherine from MK's Adventures in Style loves a good belly laugh, and writes about what has given her good ones over the years.  

Suzy from The Grey Brunette dishes on her favourite TV comedies, applauds hubby Michael's distinctive British humour, and introduces the quirky personalities of pals Sarah and Laura, alongside the charming antics of her furry companions, Myrtle, Shannon, Sadie, and Luna. 

Debbie from Deb's World shares personal stories of laughter and the importance of being able to laugh at yourself. Plus the power of a smile. 

Leslie at Once Upon a Time & Happily Ever After loves to laugh or cackle,  as her Prince Charming describes it.  And nothing makes her cackle more than the loves of her life. 

Marsha from Marsha in the Middle once again goes back to her school days and tells tales on her friends.  Will you laugh until you cry?  Or, will you shake your head at such silliness?  

If you'd like to join us with a post on Laughter, which can take any shape or form  (a poem, photos, writing), please add your post to the link-up below. It's open until November 23. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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