Thursday, April 29, 2010
This North Coast Weekend
But when they did this show, they had simply been four of the funniest student performers at Oxford and Cambridge. Peter Cook, the least "successful" of the group later, wrote most of the sketches, and was regarded by the others as the funniest. Together with David Frost's Brit TV series That Was the Week That Was, and Richard Lester's early movies (including the two Beatles films), this show not only launched a new style of British satirical humor in the UK and internationally, but sparked a taste for a U.S. approach. Still, with one or two exceptions, this style remained decidedly British.
The Beyond the Fringe performers were heroes to members of Monty Python, and gods to Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Who) and his generation. The Oxbridge connection is clearly in the humor, especially in the absurdities of language. Both Oxford and Cambridge were 20th century centers of language philosophies--Beyond the Fringe even has a satire on philosophers starring Bertrand Russell and G.E. Moore.
Again, I congratulate these students for engaging this material. It's great to know the work of these comic greats--so different from the sad run of comedy today--still lives on.
Update: Well, I stand corrected. It turns out this show is a combination of Monty Python and Beyond the Fringe sketches, with the numerical emphasis on the Monties.