It’s Another No Punchline Christmas Comedy DVD Blowout!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, so that means it’s time to enlist the help of Border-Straddling comedy guru Matthew Collins once again to give a rundown of the comedy DVDs you should be keeping an eye out for this year. Take it away, Mattie!

About a year ago I was a year younger. Nothing too amazing about that, I think the same is true for most of us. But the point was it was my birthday then and I had treated myself to a bumper crop of comedy DVDs. In fact Gerry asked me to do a Christmas buying guide round up of those self-same purchases and I happily obliged. If you’re curious you could look back at that round up and if you don’t already own them, they’re still just as funny and are probably cheaper this Christmas. Alternatively you could have a read of this year’s round up instead for more up to date funnies. So up to date in fact, that I am recommending them to you without as yet having seen any of them (since as I type this they have yet to be delivered).
I can guarantee that they are must have gifts this Christmas. In fact a few of them were must have gifts last Christmas. I put in the pre-orders without carefully reading them only to discover later that they did not dispatch in November 2010 as I thought, but rather November 2011. Who knew you could pre-order DVDs so far in advance. Not me I can tell you that much. I ordered these so long ago I had forgotten all about them (one of them, I had even forgotten that I had forgotten about it earlier in the year and tried to pre-order it again) but when I got an email update from Amazon the other day to tell me my order had dispatched it was a pleasant surprise, like a little birthday present from past me. How nice of him. And he knows my tastes so well. I should get him something. So here’s a quick round up of my pre-order purchases, which by the time you read this I’m sure will be on full release and available to buy for real. Some Ho Ha Ha stocking filler ideas.

Reginald D. Hunter – Live

This was the one I forgot about twice and tried to pre-order again, only to forget about that too. Reg is one of my absolute comedy heroes and this is his DVD debut. He is the living embodiment of cool and his voice just resonates awesome. He’s also just incredibly funny. I first saw him a few years ago in Kilkenny and then again in the Iveagh Gardens and he is one of my absolute favourite performers who I will always make an effort to see live. He once described me as looking like an undercover FBI agent that was just trying too hard.

Sarah Millican – Chatterbox Live

Who doesn’t love Sarah Millican? She’s a brilliant comic and a brilliant person. Cute and innocent face of a secretary, then she opens her mouth and out pours filth. Hilarious filth. Can’t tell you how much I love this woman. In 2008 she won the newcomer award at Edinburgh and has just gone from strength to strength. Earlier this year she had a BBC TV show project get the go ahead so there’s that to look forward to, but in the meantime we’ve got this DVD. Another DVD debut and about time too.

Dylan Moran – Yeah Yeah

In last year’s Christmas shopping roundup I mentioned a Dylan DVD that was just a 100 minute highlight reel of his previous 3 DVDs. Now this is what I wanted last year. New stuff. And excellent new stuff too I might add (having seen the show at the Galway Comedy Festival this year), but then what do you expect. This is Dylan. Worth the wait.

So that’s my pre-orders. Here’s a few quick recommendations of stuff just available now or available soon in the also on my wishlist category.

• New Ross Noble DVD, the Headspace Cowboy, only available via his website. Readers of last years review will know Im a massive Noble fan.

• New Adam Hills DVD, Inflatable, now available. From his website or in actual shops. Widely recognised as the nicest man in comedy, and also one of the funniest.

• New Tim Minchin DVD, Tim Minchin and The Heritage Orchestra (Live at the Royal Albert Hall). Some new songs, some classics. All accompanied by an impressive orchestral backing. Very cool.

Also wanna give a quick shout out to the website a little indie business in Wales that specialise in bringing some of the less well known comedy acts to the DVD market in a form that’s affordable for all (the comic and the consumer). I love the ethos of these guys and I think it’s a great little business model and would be cool if something similar existed here in Ireland. (Abie Bowman, might well agree after his admirable efforts to crowd fund the independent recording of his 3 shows for DVD).
There are some absolute gems available here and only here, including some of the earlier shows of the likes of Stewart Lee and Richard Herring. I head there every so often and pick up some excellent shows you won’t find anywhere else and at bargain prices. Well worth considering as that extra little gift for someone you don’t love quite as much to buy them an expensive gift. (or just a genuine fan of comedy, who’ll really appreciate some of these fantastic shows). Here’s a quick rundown of some of my recent gofasterstripe purchases, but they’ve got an extensive catalogue for your perusal well worth a look.

Craig Campbell – Death of a Badger

Craig Campbell is a Canadian stereotype, a bear of man and absolutely hilarious. I watched this DVD this evening and then settled down to write this entire Christmas roundup almost solely so I could recommend this show while it was fresh in my mind. Very funny stuff and also the first show I’ve seen where the show and the filming doesn’t stop as the comic changes his trousers at a logical interval point. Worth the price of the DVD even for just the introduction story about him given by Brendon Burns before bringing him on stage. Buy it.

Tony Law – Tony Law’s Brainporium

I love Tony Law. He’s surreal and he’s awesome. “Books are good….unless the acting in your head is shit”. That’s a quote I will always remember from the first time I saw Tony live and it will always stick with me. Tony is a real comedian’s comedian. Not everyone will love him as much as I do, but those that love comedy can’t help but love what he does as he deconstructs established comedy tropes before your eyes in his own weird and wonderful way. This year at the Edinburgh festival Tony won some Amused Moose competition that means his latest show “Go Mr Tony Go” will get a full in shops DVD release. It’s an excellent show and one which has been on my wishlist since it was announced. But this is the Edinburgh show from the year before and that along with an earlier dvd also available here (An Hour and some of Tony Law) are must haves for any self-respecting Tony Law fan. Also when I saw ‘Go Mr Tony Go’ this year there was an awesome call back to what Tony had been doing the year before. Now you too can get that joke if you buy this DVD.

Kevin Eldon – Kevin Eldon is Titting About

DVD debut from “the actor Kevin Eldon” as he is often referred to by Stewart Lee. You’ll have seen Kevin over the years acting in any number of comedy tv shows but he’s also a marvellous comedian in his own right. Some great character pieces and just generally hilarious. Saw this show live in Belfast earlier in the year and glad to get a chance to own it on DVD.

And that’ll do it. If anything I’ve recommended too much, but can you really ever have too much comedy? Probably, but the beauty of DVDs is you can keep them on your shelf and watch them at your leisure. (When you’re not out enjoying live comedy like you should be). Just a few gift ideas from a bearded man at Christmas. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good laugh.

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