Comedy is a huge part of my life. I might talk more about music but when it comes to the way I see the world, how I (often) deal with its disgusting state and how I force myself into the center of everyone’s attention, most of it derives from Comedy.
In fact, there are quite a few things I learned through Comedy. ‘But Jule!’ you might say now ‘Comedy is stupid, low-brow and surely does not fit to your usual high-brow writing, how can this brutish pop cultural crap teach your amazing brain anything?’
Well, it is hard to believe but there is more than Adam Sandler, American Pie and Sketch Shows with horrid writing. Charlie Brooker for example.
I discovered Brooker around 2008, when I (successfully) tried to avoid learning for my bible exam. Brooker – I’ve written that on numerous occasions – is the greatest way to learn about the media and how they work. His show “Screenwipe” and later the even more genius “Newswipe” dealt with commercials, reality shows, news and how tv in itself works, how much it costs, what it takes to take one single, stupid interview with a pedestrian and why the hell no one was able to explain the financial crisis a couple of years ago.
This – obviously – is, like, super boring and therefore contains enough dick jokes to even make something dull like working with a test screening group interesting.
The focus is on British tv but does look over the pond now and then and let’s face it, tv sucks your soul out wherever you live. The great thing about this cynical, dark piece of edutainment (gotta love this word) is the fact that Brooker actually likes tv and therefore does now and then show us that he is not exclusively made of disgust but can give a heart warming speech on kid’s tv or his favourite tv series.
“Screenwipe” unfortunately is no more, but don’t cry, he still does a review of the year (hopefully this year as well) which is the greatest thing if you at some point forgot to watch Jon Stewart for about a week and then didn’t want to get into it again because the first episodes after missing out on the previous ones are always confusing and you don’t get about 70% of the jokes (I suppose no one of us is stupid enough to read actual news, so let’s just pretend they don’t exist).
Brooker also did a fantastically depressing show called “How TV ruined your life” which is even better if you are single, lost your job and/or don’t have any friends, preferably with a bottle of cheap booze (there is something magical called Peppermint Schnaps here in Germany that does wonders with your depression).
But it’s not always all educational, no, Brooker also did a weird but somehow alluring comedy series called “Nathan Barley” a thousand years ago (together with Chris Morris) and thereby described “Hipsters” long before they were cool. Then he wrote a zombie horror mini series set in a Big Brother studio which is great because if we are honest, that’s the one Big Brother season we would watch.
Plus, last year he also created a three-part dystopian series a la “Twilight Zone” called “Black Mirror” which is disturbing and fantastic if you want to get into heated, drunk arguments about technology and the media after watching the movies together with your friends. Of course you do, it’s the greatest, drunk-shouting is my favourite past-time.
And this year, he did “A touch of cloth”, a dramedy (don’t you LOVE this word?) together with Daniel Maier.
Most of the non-Screenwipe things you actually get on DVD, along with quite a few books (mostly collected columns) that are great if you only want a short dose of hate each day before leaving the house or while sitting in a train stuffed with mindless, sweaty people.
Sooo….he is very prolific, this Brooker dude, he also did a News-Comedy show that I haven’t watched so far and therefore can’t comment on but I can comment on his Guardian columns which can be a little irritating if you don’t know about British A, B or C celebrities but generally are funny, sarcastic and most of the time even make a point.
Yes, I want to be Charlie Brooker when I grow up…or older.
I still have to work on my dick jokes but that’s already on my 2013 list next to growing a shaggy beard and marrying a tv presenter.