The Armando Iannucci Shows

The skinny, if you please?

British satirist and all-round comic legend and his dark yet hilarious take on modern life. He wrote, directed and starred in this.

Sitcom?

Hell no. It’s more of a sketch show than anything else. A lot of those don’t even feature Iannucci, but he sort of holds it together with his awkward daily experiences and interactions.

I need more. 

Iannucci plays a fictionalised version of himself trying his best to navigate social pitfalls, existentialist queries and humdrum aspects of our day-to-day existence. Using extensive monologues and bizarre sketches, each episode follows a rough theme combined with recurring characters and how it all fits into Iannucci’s life. For example, East End Thug pops up occasionally to offer violence as a means of solving problems, and local OAP Hugh often pops by to offer off the wall observations of the past; “We always watched Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush with Chris Evans, till he disappeared up his own arse.”

As one of the men who helped to devise Alan Partridge, it’s not that much of a shock that Iannucci’s work here often leads into exceptionally embarrassing and uncomfortable territory. The comedy can be exceptionally dark, absurd, awkward or just plain ridiculous. Just to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with here, you’re going to see our fearful hero find ridiculous slogans taped under cars so mechanics can bluff their way through repairs, taunt zoo animals with a ten-colour pen exclaiming “You can’t even write. I mastered this when I was three” and attempt to navigate dinner parties where hilarious observations are baked into pies to help their guests appear smart and funny. His style is very deadpan and doesn’t have a hint of irony or realisation for the ridiculousness of the events going on around him, which just makes  it all the more awkwardly enjoyable. If you’re asking me (and we’re going to pretend that you are), best advice would be to not overdo things here. The surrealist element to the show can get dizzying after more than two episodes, so it’s best to watch it slowly. I’m saying that having watched four episodes in a row, and I currently feel like my brain wants to escape from my skull and slap me for putting it through so much mental.

In short:

Crazy, dark, surreal, very funny but best taken in short doses.

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