The show is filled with squirm-inducing humiliation and VIP cameos.
In the early days of Netflix streaming, not so long after it graduated from mailbox DVD delivery (if you remember that, you old fossil, you), its catalog was largely a sparse and obscure hodgepodge of films and TV series either long out of date or raked in from somewhere English-speaking but without American mass-market licensing fees.
I guess that’s how my wife and I found “Extras,” British comedian Ricky Gervais’s bargain-basement BBC follow-up series to “The Office,” about a pair of failed actors in their 40s doing background work, their dreams of fame withered and limp. Filled with A-list cameos — Orlando Bloom, Samuel L. Jackson, Sir Ian McKellen, Kate Winslet, all playing themselves against Gervais and costar Ashley Jensen’s pathetic overtures — “Extras” is backstage comedy played as theater of the absurd. Just one season was available on Netflix when we watched it all those years ago, which was just as well given its squirm-inducing level of humiliation comedy. Just last week, newly shut in, we found there was another whole season and dived in. Continue reading →
Last night’s comedy telethon Stand Up to Cancer was full of touching and heartbreaking clips of real people who’ve struggled with or lost loved ones to the disease, but one moment stood out as particularly poignant.
During the broadcast actor and comedian Steve Coogan paid tribute to Caroline Aherne, the creator and star of series including The Mrs Merton Show and The Royle Family (with co-writer Craig Cash) and narrator of Gogglebox, who died of lung cancer aged 52 just three months ago.
“30 years ago, when I started out in comedy, I met a girl who worked as a secretary for the BBC,” Coogan said in the tribute. “She was sassy, sexy, earthy, kind, smart, sometimes daft.
“She mercilessly took the piss and she made me and our small gang of Manchester friends laugh until they cried. Her name was Caroline Aherne.”