And Now for Something Completely Cliff

O ye faithful, ye should have seen it coming.  You were warned early on about my love of comedy.  You know about my Anglophile tendencies and my stint in England as a young college student.  I’ve alluded to my incessant MTV watching in the eighties.  It was just a matter of time, and today is the day…

I didn’t start out to do a post about The Young Ones.  I simply listened to “Move It” by Cliff Richard on YouTube, which led me to listen to Cliff’s “The Young Ones”, and things took their natural course.

Here’s the famous “University Challenge” scene – Scumbag College v. Footlights College.  Check out Emma Thompson, Stephen Fry, and Hugh Laurie representing Footlights.  Of course, they were poking fun at themselves, having been members of the actual Footlights at Cambridge University.  In fact, the whole skit was skewering the long-standing dominance in British comedy by the upper class – by the Footlights in particular.  Here’s a few names from the Footlights alumni roster besides the Thompson/Fry/Laurie powerhouses…Douglas Adams, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Peter Cook, David Mitchell, Robert Webb, and Julian Fellowes.  I could go on, but you get the picture.  Watch at your own risk – Lord Snot almost kills me every time, but we know about my abiding and deeply felt love for Stephen Fry, right, o ye faithful?

And how about some Motorhead while rushing frantically to the train station en route to the University Challenge?

Here’s the boys performing live with our hero Cliff, doing “Living Doll”. Check out Cliff’s masterful mullet. And this clip demonstrates one of the best thing about British audiences – they are consistent, enthusiastic clappers. Give ’em a steady beat; they’ll clap for you to the end. American audiences, though they can be wildly enthusiastic, are crappy clappers. They’ll start off strong, but they peter out quickly, like they’re too cool to really take it seriously and follow through all the way. Just a little “comparative cultures” observation for you there.

By the way, I’m pretty sure that Stewie Griffin from Family Guy is based at least in part on Rik Mayall. No doubt in my mind, actually.

Stewie Griffin

Stewie Griffin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One more thing – Nigel Planer (Neil) wrote a hilarious little book called “Neil’s Book of the Dead” in 1984, which is how I learned about Leonard Cohen. More on that later, I swear it on Neil’s book.

Questions? Comments? Please Share!



Filed under Humor, Humour, Music

8 responses to “And Now for Something Completely Cliff

  1. What an awesome post! I love the Young Ones, and I think you are spot on about Stewie.

  2. Glad you concur with my Rik/Stewie theory, Matt. He’s practically a dead ringer for him really – facial expressions, voice, etc.

    Also, your use of Cliff’s “Devil Woman” in your podcast is what inspired me to look up some of his other songs, so thanks for that! 😉

  3. Starting of with Cliff and ending up with Lemmy is the only way to go.

  4. Pingback: Dear Neil/Nigel – So Long, and Thanks for all the leonardcohensushi | My Wild Surmise

  5. princeasbo

    Enthusiastic though they may be, British (or at least English) clappers always clap on the 1 and the 3; as an American living here, this bugs me. Clapping on the second and fourth beats, as do Americans, carries the swing much better. I’ve tried over the past decade and a half to remedy the situation, to little avail

    Cliff Richard is remarkable. A bland institution in this country, a professional mediocrity whose toothsome Christianity patronizes and grates. See his 1973 Eurovision entry for a particularly gruesome example of his art. “Move It” is great, though.

    Finally, not sure about Stewie/Rik connection. Rik (as well as actor Rik Mayall) has a particular speech “improvemnet” known as rhotacism, viz. the “swallowing” of the hard ‘R’ sound, so it sounds somewhere in between an ‘R’ and a ‘W’ sound. Terry Jones from Monty P is another example, as is Michael Palin’s Life of Brian characterization of Pontius Pilate. Stewie has no such condition/dialect.

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