Sunday, 18 December 2016

Harry Enfield and Chums

You'd be good on The Generation Game, Frank... After the show I'd enjoy having a drink with Davidson - but if he took me to one side and said, Frank, I've got a confession to make
I've never admired a man as much as I admire you ... all my five wives have been a sham And then he's opened his closet, and out comes his boyfriend, Barrymore
I should say, oi, Davidson, no! Not you as well. Get off my screen, both of you, you filthy disgusting perverts! (He probably wouldn't do that though.) Of course he would. Davidson's a poof, they all are.
I mean Davidson's always gone for the younger lady, he'd probably go for the younger type of pansy - like your son. What did you say? You scum!

Harry Enfield and Chums was a follow up to Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, and originally ran for two series between 1994 and 1998, in the 9pm slot on BBC1 - plus Christmas specials.

This clip is of one of ‘The Righteous Brothers’ sketches - Angry Frank was a super popular character, and the pair of them even advertised Hula Hoops snacks together in 1996. Every sketch would start with a seemingly reasonable discussion about popular culture… before Frank went off on a tangent and lost his temper, big time. Here’s a bit of context for this particular sketch:

The Generation Game was the BBC’s Saturday night game show, and had been running on and off since 1971. In 1995 Jim Davidson, a stand up comedian well known for his womanizing, had just taken over presenting duties from family entertainer, Bruce Forsythe. Michael Barrymore was a fairly ubiquitous presenter of game shows and light entertainment who, following a spate of drunken and bizarre public behaviour, outed himself on a late night radio show in November 1995. A high profile divorce from his wife followed in 1996, keeping the story in the public conciousness. (Barrymore would again hit headlines in 2001 over claims of gay sex orgies which resulted in a man’s death, but that’s a story for another day!)

Google threw up no news hits for ITC complaints about these sketches, and watching them again as an adult it’s kind of surprising. There probably aren’t that many primetime presenters who would be happy about being labelled a ‘filthy disgusting pervert’ for their orientation on a flagship show today, in jest or not.



Hello Burglary was a big problem here - until we legalised it.
The only real problem of social disorder here now is the English boys who are drinking too much and always fighting with themselves. We are taking them to the WPCs - Women Prostitute Constables - and they are giving them some excellent hardcore sex and soft drugs, after which they become quite pleasant.

Harry Enfield and Chums was a follow up to Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, and originally ran for two series between 1994 and 1998, in the 9pm slot on BBC1 - plus Christmas specials.

These clips are from one of the popular ‘Amsterdam Police’ sketches, featuring two gay police officers talking about the Netherlands’ liberal approach to crime. In the 1990s, Amsterdam, with its brothels and its cannabis coffeeshop culture, was seen as some kind of crazy liberal lala-land in the UK - although, as the sketch points out, we really didn’t have that much to feel superior about.

It was still pretty rare to see depictions of gay police officers at the time - especially uniformed officers - but as ‘foreigners’ Stefan and Ronald got something of a free pass!



How did your friend die? A car crash. Oh, thank God for that! I'm sorry, I'm not really cut out for the modern world.

Be careful, Tom, there's a bit of a bender in front of you. Well, obviously... It's your mother and mine's fault - we never should have given you that Wendy House for your 4th birthday.

That's the great thing about Christmas - your son and his latest boyfriend exchanging presents rather than bodily fluids under my roof. Do you mind if I have a mince pie?
It's bad enough having to listen. Thank you for the lovely poof of the aftershave, not thank you lovely poof for the aftershave...

Harry Enfield and Chums was a follow up to Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, and originally ran for two series between 1994 and 1998, in the 9pm slot on BBC1 - plus Christmas specials.

In these clips Harry Enfield plays a dad who claims to be completely fine with his son’s sexuality - except he can’t help but bring it up at every possible opportunity, believes the most outlandish stereotypes, and shudders with disgust every time his son’s boyfriend is near him. The first sketch is the most sympathetic to the character, but he just gets steadily worse with each subsequent appearance!

These sketches made a huge impression on me as a kid, in terms of highlighting just how stupid homophobic attitudes were. I think that’s the crux of the issue with a lot of older ‘un-PC’ comedy - from a distance we always imagine that people were laughing with the reactionary character (think of all those 70s race comedies, for instance, like Till Death Do Us Part and Love Thy Neighbour) when, of course, the aim was to make audiences laugh at them, whether or not that always succeeded.




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