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The Office Up for a Golden Globe

The Office Up for a Golden Globe

Old Jan 23rd 2004, 4:53 pm
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Thumbs up The Office Up for a Golden Globe

The article is pasted from the BBC Online website. I have to disagree with Eddie Izzard and Ricky Gervais thinking that Americans understand irony. If that were so, why aren't more British comedies broadcast in the US? Also, I think there's unconscious irony in US TV that there's so many shows based on the same storyline. e.g. all the reality TV shows, American Idol type shows, CSI and similar shows, etc.



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Gervais leads UK comedy push

By Chris Heard
BBC News Online

Ricky Gervais and his sitcom The Office will compete at the prestigious Golden Globes awards in the US on Sunday, heralding talk of a British comedy invasion.

Gervais has already made history by becoming the first British actor to be nominated for a TV comedy acting award at the Globes.

At the same time his comic masterpiece The Office becomes the first non-US series to compete in the best comedy programme category.

Gervais' legions of admirers at home will be hoping he can pull off what would be a famous British victory amid a partisan crowd in the heartland of the US entertainment industry.

Gervais faces tough competition in Hollywood, most notably in the shape of Friends star Matt LeBlanc.

Meanwhile The Office, which has been lapped up by a small but loyal following on BBC America, goes up against all-American thoroughbreds such as Sex and City and Will and Grace.

With characteristic self-deprecation, Gervais has played down his chances, telling BBC News Online: "It would be good to lose. I need my come-uppance and Matt Le Blanc is the man to do it - it's character building."


In a BBC interview broadcast on Friday, he said, adopting a smile through gritted teeth: "I expect to do that face when Matt LeBlanc wins."
Gervais' nomination has prompted claims of a new wave of British comedians ready to take the US by storm - if not on TV, then certainly on the stand-up circuit.

Fellow comic Eddie Izzard has enjoyed success with his live touring show - even while poking fun at US audiences during his routine.

He is part of a stable of British and Irish talent packaged for US audiences that includes The League of Gentlemen, Bill Bailey, Dylan Moran and Boothby Graffoe.

Izzard said the so-called comedy gap between the two nations - especially over the contentious view that Americans "do not get irony" - was just a myth.


Gervais agreed: "Americans do irony and 'dark' as good as anyone," he said. "Americans understand irony and do it as well, if not better, than us."


America has enjoyed an on-off love affair with British humour which began in earnest 30 years ago with Monty Python's Flying Circus and John Cleese's Fawlty Towers.

Python was first broadcast on US public television in the mid-1970s, and still embraces a huge cult following - especially among baby boomers.

Fawlty Towers was that rare thing - a British sitcom that was popular in its original format in the US, elevating Cleese to even greater comic status.

Risqué British comic Benny Hill also became a huge worldwide star and a multi-millionaire in his fifties after his titillating sketch show suddenly took off in the States.

Other imports have experienced mixed success, with a string of adaptations failing to tickle the collective US funny bone.

Seventies sitcom Are You Being Served? was turned into Beane's Of Boston, with a script adapted by writers Jeremy Lloyd and David Croft, but was not picked up for a series.


Absolutely Fabulous was well received, and comedienne Roseanne Barr bought the US rights. But it was not adapted because the networks were reportedly unhappy about its notorious nature.
More recently the US remake of 30-something comedy Coupling was removed from its prime-time TV spot after critics slated it.

One success was Til Death Us Do Part starring Warren Mitchell as Alf Garnett, remade as All In The Family in 1971, which ran for nine years.

But Beryl Vertue, the producer who sold the Garnett concept, warned it might not be that easy for Gervais and The Office - which is itself being remade for US audiences.

She said: "I think The Office is wonderful. But the very things that make The Office work - the embarrassed silences, the pauses, the doing nothing, the lack of gags - will undermine the confidence of the networks hugely."


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/h...nt/3422567.stm

Published: 2004/01/23 13:23:43 GMT
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Old Jan 23rd 2004, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: The Office Up for a Golden Globe

Originally posted by NC Penguin
The article is pasted from the BBC Online website. I have to disagree with Eddie Izzard and Ricky Gervais thinking that Americans understand irony. If that were so, why aren't more British comedies broadcast in the US?
I disagree. There is some irony in the Simpsons isn't there ?
Or are they just poking fun at themselves ?

But if you want world class irony then deffo British comedy.
Think we are more subtle at it and allow the viewer to get the joke rather than telegraph it.
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Old Jan 23rd 2004, 5:41 pm
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Default Re: The Office Up for a Golden Globe

Originally posted by Webbie
I disagree. There is some irony in the Simpsons isn't there ?
Or are they just poking fun at themselves ?

But if you want world class irony then deffo British comedy.
Think we are more subtle at it and allow the viewer to get the joke rather than telegraph it.
I was actually thinking of actual American people and comedies with live people, not something like the Simpsons.

Maybe the writers of the Simpsons can get away with what they do because the Simpson are not portrayed by actors (I don't mean the ones providing the voices).




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Old Jan 23rd 2004, 5:50 pm
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Default Re: The Office Up for a Golden Globe

Originally posted by NC Penguin
I was actually thinking of actual American people and comedies with live people, not something like the Simpsons.

Maybe the writers of the Simpsons can get away with what they do because the Simpson are not portrayed by actors (I don't mean the ones providing the voices).
Agreed.
Anything risqué is either severly censored or even remade as a stinky version.
Surprised that Married With Children was shown at all !

But we'd never see Bottom or New Statesmen or Father Ted on NBC or whatever here because they don't take risks.

- Actually I take that back.
Fox news is unholy biased television but well done to them for showing Married, the Simps and Arrested Development.
Must be a Brit as commissioning editor.
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Old Jan 24th 2004, 11:14 am
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Recently after watching US TV I felt there was something wrong when whilst watching a repeat of are you being served Mrs Slocombe never seemed to make any reference to her pussy, have they censored it for moralistic values? or do you need to wait for a late night HBO special?
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 2:34 pm
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Found a BBC Magazine article where they discuss Americans and Irony -->
So, do the Americans get irony after all ?

Some quotes from readers:
"Britain and America are separated by the Irony Curtain.
Dave Black, UK"

"If it's true that the Americans don't get irony, then it's just as true that we Brits don't get sincerity. I once had an American sympathise with my cold: "I feel bad for you because you got sick." I found myself scanning the statement for hidden meanings, but it was free of them (I think) - but sentiments expressed so straightforwardly sound totally alien to the British ear.
John Cookson, UK"

"M*A*S*H may have had irony by the bucketload, but in the States it is broadcast with a loud laughter track which focuses only on the one-liners. If the writers meant it to be dripping with irony, the producers missed it completely.
Justin Rowles, UK"
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Old Jan 27th 2004, 2:53 pm
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Very true. My wife's a big fan of Comedy Central and she'll laughing away at stuff and I can't see the funny side of it all. Most of the stuff is just too 'in your face' for my sense of humour.
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