If you watched the BBC iPlayer shorts from June 2014, you’ll have seen for yourself how these miniature comedy installations really do open up a new style of viewing. Last year’s six hilarious bitesize programmes allowed us to sample a whole range of funny creations from the likes of Matt Berry, Reece Shearsmith, Micky Flanagan and Meera Syal, and it’s no surprise that the news of a brand new set this month was more than welcome.
Rom Com is the increasingly popular Romesh Ranganathan’s Valentine’s-related short, starring Aisling Bea. Together they make up the world’s seemingly most awkward first date ever. The episode follows Romesh as he is rigorously prepared for his evening with this quite mysterious young woman by his very own verbally abusive relationship guru, who also happens to be a figment of his own imagination. Rom Com is a dark and oppressive comedy, and is made bitterly funny thanks to both of its stars.
Katy Wix’s Dear Jean Pierre is a silly story of a quaint French romance, as it reaches its emotional final moments. In this remarkable tale, Wix relives the moments where the relationship began to decline, and brings her wonderfully childish humour along for the ride. With her trademark hopeful and innocent nature, and a knack for surprising us with various twists and turns along the way, Dear Jean Pierre is a complete comedy delight.
Matt Berry’s Wild Love is certainly wild, shockingly funny and crude. In the sequel to last year’s Lone Wolf, Berry narrates the mating antics of various creatures ranging from golden frogs to “colonial hopping dogs”. This undiscovered world is absolutely crazy, and even our beloved narrator himself seems to get carried away by the absurdity of it all, which makes for hilarious listening. Writer, Bob Mortimer, and Berry have come together yet again, to create something fantastic, and it’s not too difficult to visualise this becoming a series one day. Watch out David Attenborough!
Bill Bailey brings his brilliant song-writing skills to present a parody of the romantic-rock music industry by remaking one of his own songs, Love Song. It is bleak, harshly funny and typical of Bailey’s hilarious comedy. It also really made me want to watch his ’96 live show Cosmic Jam again as this man’s material is absolutely timeless. Music Lovers is Sara Pascoe’s surreal comedy short about a Norwegian band, Monozygotic, who are promoting their new album, but it turns out there is much more going on behind the scenes that are revealed throughout. I loved this because it’s completely different from anything I’ve seen Sara do before (and because I got to hear Elis James’ Norwegian accent.
Elephant, starring Nick Helm and Esther Smith, is the sweetest little comedy I’ve seen in a long time. It follows a very clumsy yet likeable pair of young almost-lovebirds as they embark on the world’s cheapest almost-date ever. The visuals of this one are absolutely beautiful, with bright natural lighting and smiles all round and the over all effect is a slow-burning, lovely episode that really warms the heart. The Lady and the Fly from Modern Toss is very different from the rest of the episodes due to its animated format. A fly has fallen in love with a human woman and her apparent rejection has made him feel like ending it all and becoming a “self-netter” by flinging himself into a spider’s web, ready to be eaten. Modern Toss have created something that is cleverer than most observational comedy, as the ideas are implied through the fly’s narrative, rather than in explicit statements.
Watch all of the fantastic comedy shorts on BBC iPlayer