Black comedy

Neglected Films No. 10: ‘Where’s Poppa?’

The opening sequence; George Segal gets up, gets dressed for work and then puts on a gorilla outfit, bursting into his mother’s bedroom and leaping onto her bed before she punches him in the nuts. ‘Oh Gordon, it’s you,’ she laughs, ‘you nearly scared me to death.’ Segal pulls off the gorilla head and eyes […]

Black Comedy Primer 2:

Great black comedy manages to take uncomfortable subject matter and reimagine it with wit. Early black comedy tackled sexuality and race taboos. Comedies like ‘The Producers’ and ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ recognised that the best way to defuse prejudices was to confront them with laughter. The UK countered racism with a series of shows that […]

Black Comedy Primer: 1

I’ve always loved black comedies. The plays of Joe Orton and Peter Nichols, TV shows like the dark ‘Brittas Empire’ and the blacker-than-hell ‘Nighty Night’, and books like the ones above all work for me. There’s a fine line to getting it exactly right – ‘Lolita’ treads it perfectly – but when it’s good, it […]