Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘ comedy ’

Tis The Season To…

Christmas, it comes earlier and earlier every year. This I know for a fact, you see I work in retail which means that I’ve been singing along to classics such as Baby It’s Cold Outside for weeks now. Hell our “Christmas Shop” has been open since September 1st and no your eyes are not deceiving you, September 1st folks!

So, just how have I managed to survive all these years in retail and the ever advancing onset of the festive season without morphing into the Holiday’s most notorious villain? It all comes down to one phrase, a phrase you might just recognize: “If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em”

These days I take the time to organise a number of treats both big and small for myself and friends to enjoy together in the run up to Christmas. Often these “treats” are not even remotely related to the Holiday season which I have never been overly precious about but revolve around eating, drinking and laughing. Then again eating, drinking and laughing has always been the very definition of Christmas, at least for me. Point is, it doesn’t really matter what you do this Christmas as long as it makes both you and yours happy. Believe me it’s much easier to tolerate all that joy to the world and peace on earth malarky once you give yourself a reason to smile.

I’ve taken the liberty of compiling a list of traditional and not so traditional things for you and yours to do in the run up to Christmas. Here’s hoping this is enough to get all you Bitter Bettys out there in the Christmas spirit this year…

… Get Your Skates On;

Can you think of anything more festive than ice skating? Yes, it’s embarrassing, yes, you’re going to look like a severely impaired newborn foal out there and yes you will fall over but you know what? You’re going to laugh like never before and what in this world provides a better bonding experience than humiliation? That’s right, nothing! Besides is there anything cuter than slip sliding across the ice and being held up but that guy you’ve been swooning over for months? We all need a cliché or two in our lives!

Check out Dundrum On Ice

Opening Hours:  Monday – Friday; 3pm – 8pm.

Saturday – Sunday; 10.30 am – 9pm.

… Drink A Cocktail Or Three;

When it comes to Christmas I’m a woman divided one part of me fantasizes about cable knits, woolly socks and a boozy hot chocolate sipped by the fire whilst reading Pride and Prejudice while the other swoons over the glitz and glam of the party season. You know what I’m talking about folks, the sequin dresses, the strappy heels, and of course only the most potent of cocktails. Luckily I know how to satisfy both of my festive personalities. Leaning toward a night out? Then you’ve got to try Dublin’s own Vintage Cocktail Club which not only boasts an impressive array of cocktails – including Rested Manhattans, Mojitos, and Dark & Stormy’s to name but a few – but also delivers on its promise to show you a truly unique night on the town! For those of you in the mood for a cozy tipple beside the fire then check out this recipe featured on my blog Your Ethereal Feast which yields what might just be the best winter warmer ever!

Vintage Cocktail Club, 15 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2.

… Host Thanksgiving Dinner;

I’m very lucky because I’ve been seeing a rather lovely American boy for a number of years now which means that I get to celebrate Thanksgiving or what I like to call “stuff yourself stupid day.” American or not there’s no reason you can’t get involved too. Why not throw an impromptu dinner party for your friends? To make it really special and slightly more grown up (23 years of age and I’m still using the term “grown up”!) simply pay attention to detail when it comes to your table! It’s amazing just how big a difference the little things can make and it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Simply pick up some pretty napkins, light some candles and perhaps add some flowers. For winter I really like muted tones with metallic accents as they’re chic, sophisticated and unlikely to clash with anything in your apartment! If the mere idea of throwing a dinner party is something you feel overwhelmed by simply get your friends involved and ask each person to bring just one thing they feel confident making and if most of it does end up coming straight out of a microwavable container who the hell cares? It’s your party and you can fake it if you wanna! Oh and while you’re at it why not pull a Christmas cracker or two? Just because the pilgrims didn’t have them doesn’t mean we shouldn’t!

For super chic kitchen and tableware check out Avoca which has locations across Ireland and on Suffolk Street in the heart of the city.

… Dress Like The Last Member Of Wham;

Who can forget George Michael in the now infamous video for Last Christmas? For years we ridiculed the man for wearing that sweater but it’s time to come clean, he had it right all along. There really is nothing better than a motif sweater this festive season guys. Why not head to my own personal high street hero, Topshop, where you can choose between this, this and this. I think you’ll agree that all three are absolute gems and will have you channeling your inner George in no time!

… Laugh Your Ass Off;

Aw yes, Christmas, that time of year has come again when comedians everywhere get set to release and tirelessly promote DVD’s of their latest and greatest performances! Sure, they’ve brought us lots of joy in the past but why not skip the DVD this year? After St Stephens day it usually sits there gathering dust anyways. Oh but don’t skip the inappropriate laughs, chuckles and cackles instead catch your favourite comedian live! This year I’m going to take in a little Michael McIntyre but if he’s not your kinda guy then why not head on over to Vicarstreet.ie where you can book a little quality time with comedians such as Neil Delamare and Tommy Tiernan?

Vicar Street is located on Dublin’s Thomas Street.

… Treat Yourself;

Ok ok, so Christmas is about giving but whoever said you couldn’t give to yourself? The best gift is the one (or should that be ones?) you give yourself. To ease your conscience, however, I’ve found some super stylish and super affordable pieces such as these three gorgeous party dresses (pictured here, here and here) from Warehouse all of which will undoubtedly carry you through the festive season and beyond. Better still if you pick up the December 2012 issue of MarieClaire you’ll receive a further 20% off all full priced items. You’d be losing money not to am I right? And hey if you’re feeling generous you can always pick up a little something for your mom, sister or best friend too!

… Bake Yourself Fat;

Face it, no one likes Christmas cake, it’s heavy, it’s outdated and we only ever started making it because we didn’t have anything better to work with. Aw but gone are those dark days of old. Today we have innumerable options when it comes to sweet treats that everyone will find palatable. Check out just a few of my most popular and perhaps more importantly tried and tested recipes here, here and here which are featured on my blog! If you find you’re still jonesing for something a little more festive then click here to explore what is perhaps my favourite foodie blog of all time and where you’ll find all sorts of festive goodies including gingerbread apple upside down cake and roasted chestnut cookies.

… Trim Your Tree;

I’ve had my own apartment a number of years now and year after year people seem surprised when I tell them that yes I am putting up a Christmas tree. I guess it is a lot of bother when you can take it all in without the hassle just by heading back to the parents place but for me Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without the frustration and eventually the relief that comes with putting the tree together and untangling those damn fairy lights. What really makes the process special, however, is the thought of breaking out those ornaments originally bought to mark a special time in my life. I have for example a bauble that represents the first year I moved in with my fiancé and another ornament given to me last Christmas by my future mother in law which is incredibly dear to me. I cannot wait to bust out these trinkets alongside my fiancé this Christmas so we can enjoy a little trip down memory lane together. Why not start your own collection or pick out a special ornament to give a loved one this year? Sentimental, soppy, sad, call it what you will but these are the things you’ll cherish for years to come.

I love these glass initial baubles €6 from Anthropologie!

Time For A Few More Fabulous Suggestions?

Why not have a T.V. marathon? Pick a day, any day, to just sit on your butt and watch the entire lastest season of your favourite show. Friends, Sex & The City, Top Chef America, Dexter, Breaking Bad whatever it may be. The only rule is this; no leaving the couch!

Compile a Christmas playlist! And no it doesn’t have to be full of the usuals such as Driving Home For Christmas just lots of upbeat songs that are going to get you in the mood to dance around your house a la Cameron Diaz in The Holiday.

Speaking of which, watch The Holiday, Love Actually or some other form of Christmas tripe! Snow infused visuals help!

Get crafty and by this I mean channel your inner artiste no matter what your ability. Make a sock puppet for your Dad, a necklace for your mom or a card for your friend. There’s something about doing it yourself that just makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and from what I hear that’s how Christmas is supposed to make us feel.

I do believe that’s your 12 days of Christmas sorted! You can thank me later folks…!

By Kerrie Mitchell

Advertisements

Top Five Comedy Shows You Must See Before You Die

All of the television programs on this list are made in Britain and feature British/Irish actors and actresses. That’s not being elitist, at least intentionally, against American comedy, which is often very good (Ted, Arrested Development and Parks and Recreation spring to mind) but usually has the tendency to be very direct. Humour in this region of the world is more often much more subtle and much funnier as a result and few other television shows over the past decade exemplify that particular brand of humour more so than the following five:

The IT Crowd

Have you tried turning it off and back on again? Written by Graham Linehan (also involved with Black Books and Father Ted), The IT Crowd follows the adventures of geek genius and socially awkward Maurice (Richard Ayoade) and the laidback and rather unlucky Roy (Chris O’Dowd), two IT guys under the supervision of the somewhat clueless Jen (Katherine Parkinson), relationship manger and head of the department who actually knows nothing about IT. Much of the humour comes from internet and computing in-jokes, Jen’s complete lack of knowledge concerning computers (of which Roy often takes advantage) and her attempts to build a bridge between the basement dwelling IT department and the rest of Reynholm Industries which leads to Roy and Maurice’s many awkward and failed interactions with those from the higher levels.

Spaced

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have proved their humour can translate onto the big screen with the hilarious and successful ‘Hot Fuzz’ and zom-rom-com classic, ‘Shaun of the Dead’. But it was on the small screen where they had one of their first successes with Spaced on Channel 4, which Pegg co-wrote and co-starred with Jessica Stevenson. Centred around Tim Beisley (Pegg) and Daisy Steiner (Stevenson) who pretend to be a happy couple in order to meet the prerequisites of the ideal flat on 23 Meteor Street, the show follows the pair as they attempt to navigate love, life and work (or lack thereof) combined with one another’s less than usual friends; would be soldier Mike, tortured artist Brian from downstairs and the lonely landlady, Marsha, rarely seen without a cigarette in one hand and a glass of wine in the other. Known for its rapid fire editing, frequent pop culture references, subtle humour and eclectic music, Pegg and Stevenson pitched it as a cross between “The Simpsons, The X-Files and Northern Exposure.” And it works.

The Office

Famous around the world, The Office, stars Ricky Gervais’ most recognisable character, David Brent, as a manager of Slough paper merchants Wernham Hogg, chosen to be the subject of a fly-on-the-wall documentary. The comedy lies in Gervais’ flawless portrayal of a man desperate to be accepted, who confuses respect with being well liked, mixed in with an awkward and often inappropriate sense of humour. His lieutenant Gareth is clueless and obsessed with his time spent in the Territorial Army and is perpetually locked in a mini-war with Tim, an unpretentious and good-natured sales rep, whose witticisms and actually funny jokes make him almost the complete opposite of Brent. Despite Brent’s obnoxious and often mystifying personality, Gervais manages to inject some poignancy into the character and more often than not we end up sympathising with him. If you like cringe humour (99 per cent of the series), then boy is The Office the show for you.

The Inbetweeners

What can you say about this non-typical coming of age show about four completely different yet normal English teenagers? Subtle probably isn’t one of the most often used words. One word should bring back a host of memories for those who have seen it yet may elicit confusion from those who haven’t – clunge.

Sexual and general awkwardness? Check. Lewd teenage jokes? Check. Rip roaringly funny dialogue and story lines? Double and treble check. Not one for the easily offended or those who have forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager.

Black Books

Like the IT Crowd and Spaced, Black Books comes under the category of ‘good things come in unfortunately small doses’. With only two seasons, and a handful of episodes, by the time you’ve finished watching all of them (not too long after you’ve started, who needs to go to work anyway?) you’ll certainly be left wanting for more.

Dylan Moran stars as the heavy smoking and drinking Irish misanthrope Bernard Black, who runs a second-hand bookstore despite the lack of any apparent desire to actually sell any books. Manny Bianco (Bill Bailey) is Black’s assistant and flatmate who in reality is little more than a slave and whom Black refers to varyingly as ‘Gandalf’, ‘Bigfoot’ and ‘Genghis’ while his best and friend, Fran (Tamsin Greig) runs a shop next door selling odds and ends which is endearingly referred to as “a load of wank.”

Cue lots of dark and sometimes puerile and wine related humour.

Honourable Mentions

Father Ted – Father Ted isn’t mentioned in this list because it has a list of its own – the five best television comedies named Father Ted, all of which are occupied by Father Ted. There’s not much else to say about Ted, Dougal and Jack which hasn’t already been said. Perhaps the classic show can be summed up with a quote from Fr Dougal McGuire, oftentimes the bane of Fr Ted’s existence.

(Dougal has trouble remembering his prayers)

Father Dougal: Our Father, who art in heaven…

Father Ted: (sternly) Hallowed.

Father Dougal: Hallowed be thy…

Father Ted: Name!

Father Dougal: Papa don’t preach…

Father Ted: Dougal, you know you can praise God in other ways.

Father Dougal: Oh yeah, like that time you told me I could praise him just by leaving the room.

Father Ted: Yes, that was a good one all right.

And, of course, who could forget kicking Bishop Brennan up the arse?

 Misfits – Though not necessarily and solely a comedy in the strictest sense of the word – there’s plenty of drama and tear inducing moments to be found in this super-powered series – anybody with a sense of humour could rarely be found dry eyed (in a good way) when Robert Sheehan took to the screen as the loveable Irish rascal, Nathan. Filthy minded, with poor hygiene and worse morals though not without emotion, Nathan took all the laughs and transcended the series from shadow sci-fi to supreme comedy drama. No matter how serious or touching the moment, one could be assured that Nathan would turn up sooner or later with an absurdly obscene comment to ruin it.

Sample quote from Nathan (When asked whether community service has changed him) – “I think I’m taller.”

Think like a Man (Act like a Lady)

Just like the dating book “He’s just not that into You” Steve Harvey’s bestseller “Act like a Lady, Think like a Man” has now been scooped up by Hollywood and turned into a motion picture.

Centering around a group of friends from an interracial Basketball team and the women in their lives the story follows how both men and women play the dating-game.

Entertainer Steve Harvey and his book link the stories together by unabashedly stereotyping the characters into categories: The Peter Pan type, the man who just does not want to grow up and take on responsibility; the Mama’s Boy, the man who always puts his mother first, the Hit-and-Quit-it guy, the man who stops being romantic once he has had sex, or the “cookie” as Harvey calls it and then there is the woman who acts like a man.

As each sub-plot plays out the book gives solutions to each problem, like the 90-day rule before she surrenders the “cookie”, or make him chose between his mother and you and so forth. Sadly the film fails to be original, the script is not very funny and the talented cast  (Michael Ealy, Chris Brown, Kevin Hart, Gabrielle Union, Meagan Good etc) seems flat.

In many ways “Think like a Man” feels like an African-American version of “He’s just not into you”, it has the same structure of mix and match stories, the characters are only superficial and there is no real passion or twists to the plot. The solutions for the problems are either common sense or just a whole load of nonsense and it doesn’t help that Steve Harvey pops up throughout the movie pretending to know it all. More often than not it feels like one long advertisement for the book but just not selling it.

As rom-coms go “Think like a Man” is no worse than many out there, but if you are looking for laugh-out-loud moments or clever punch lines they are few and far between and you always see them coming.  Overall it may be better to spend the night at home with a box of cookies and watch on-demand TV.

Advertisements
Advertisements