by Alex Groves
This week Justin Webb – the BBC north America correspondent who covered the Presidential Election with erudite sharpshooting – is returning to the UK. He gives credit to the fequently lauded American trait that if one is willing to gamble on their grits they can make it big or go to hell.
Great American comedy gives little sense of the great toil it resulted from- Buster Keaton’s broken back whist balletic in The General, the tactical inter plays of Marx Bros films- such scenes that could only result from long nationwide Vaudville tours, the tradition for massive 15 episode, 9 season sitcoms and the daily head to head late night chat shows.
The great ‘Outlier’ of comedy, Jerry Seinfeld, talks of early in his standup career watching a group of builders leaving work in New York and wanting to treat being a comedian like a 9 to 5 working stiff, he went on to work clubs for four years going as long as 18 months straight, two shows a night without a day off.
The train station scene from Marx Bros Go West.
A sitcom that inspired the office and gives insight into the tough world of the late nights’ is celebrated Larry Sanders Show, here’s a clip with Larry and Hank ‘Hey Now’ Kingsley.
Bill Mahers Real Time on HBO is one of the best shows on American politics, hosting a panel of guests from all sides of the political spectrum the show is debate driven interspersed with segments such as ‘New Rules’
Justin Webb’s final American Correspondence, a big yearning ode to that East of Eden, West of excess, as the founder of Saks Fith Avenue put it, “Discipline is remembering what you want.”