Top Five – TV Comedies

This week we turn our attention to TV comedies. I have limited my top five to shows prior to 2000 to try and give some times based perspective. And so my top five are:

  1. The Goodies – still my all-time favourite
  2. Australia You’re Standing in It – Tim and Debbie, The Dodgy Bros and Hot Yak Fat.
  3. The Gillies Report – this covers all series. With John Clarke’s reports on Farnarkeling.
  4. Fawlty Towers – “Oh I know!”
  5. Yes Minister – this gave me the phrase that I still use to scare management: “That’s a brave decision, sir.”

I think this thread might bring up some old choices that I have forgotten. So over to you blogocrats.


66 Responses

  1. I wonder whether this is another opportunity to speculate about the appropriateness of the entirely inoffensive jokes of Mrs Slocum.

  2. G’day, j

    I must say that your’s are pretty close to mine – as for The Goodies – I introduced The Minister and myself to Bill Oddie in Friday’s restaurant in London, in 1997 (he was at the next table) – told him I was a big fan – we had flown in that morning – had a lovely chat for about 15 minutes or so….very easy going, down to earth

    …anyway my top five…

    1. Monty Python

    2. The Black Adder

    3. Yes, Minister! (and of course Yes, PM)

    4. Father Ted (repeats on ABC2 at the mo..)

    5. Morcambe & Wise

    I also met John Clarke at Brisbane Channel 9 Studios in 1989 – we were editing a couple of OH&S videos – and he walked in about 15 minutes before he was to go on air (I was a big fan even then) – asked my colleague and I what had been happening in Queensland that week, something he could talk about and took notes – in 15 minutes! The man’s a genious!

    …and five favourites is never enough!!!!!!

    Pity The Goons were never on TV – hang on, yes they were…then there was Hancock’s Half Hour and Charlie Drake, Til’ Death Us Do Part, Open All Hours, Peter Cook & Dudley Moore, Not the Nine o’ Clock News…and who can forget Hyacinth or The Vicar of Dibley…

    …and what do we have now – How I met Your Mum, Two & a Half Men…dumbed down alright!

  3. Hi joni, my top five.

    1. Aunty Jack.

    2. Faulty Towers.

    3. Hogan’s Heroes.

    4. Happy Days.

    5. Mash.

  4. Goodies have to at number one

    Paul Hogan (although, watching them years later, they had lost their charm, but I remember watching them as a kid, and spending the next week at school recalling the episode)

    Red Dwarf

    Comedy Company (some great characters, and kid friendly)


    And I have to give an honorable mention to the Big Bang Theory, too new to see if it is a ‘great’, but still enjoyable, especially having been thrust into the IT crowd later in life and watching it from that perspective. Cheers and Frasier were also favourites, but, 5 is too short 🙂

  5. Buggar, forgot Mash!

    …and yes, Tom R – Red Dwarf – also re-running on ABC2

  6. Can’t think of much that ain’t been already mentioned but like…

    “My Name Is Earl”,

    Southpark (again)

    & I’m not sure if it qualifies as comedy per se but the self destructive antics of those impaired Americans in Jackass appeals to my juvenile need to watch idiots hurting themselves.

  7. Iron Chef can be good for a (confusing) laugh.

  8. I was going to include the Goodies but after watching them again it did not seem as funny as when I was younger.

    We watch Hogan’s Heroes on Fox during the week nights.

  9. hogans heroes
    Get smart
    Gilligans island
    Mork and mindy
    My favourite martian
    oh…. i’ll stay with five

    Iron chef is great for the voice overs and the over the top host.

  10. Leave the money on the fridge ya wog.

  11. “T-boss
    Iron chef is great for the voice overs and the over the top host.”

    Yeah, I love it when he anounces the winner in a delirious flourish.

  12. Top 5:

    1. Absolutely Fabulous
    2. Black Books
    3. Stella Street
    4. Yes Minister (and Yes PM)
    5. Frasier

  13. Because I’m so damn hard to please – or have outstanding taste – I can only come up with 4:

    1. Fawlty Towers
    2. Hogan’s Heroes
    3. The Goodies
    4. Any home final the Crow’s lose after holding an unbeatable lead.

    Number 1 – 3 are no longer in production, however further episodes of number 4 are planned for 2009 and beyond.

  14. Aqua re Mork and Mindy. Do you remember the egg scene with Mork trying to release the tiny captives and then aww as each one sadly crashed to earth.

  15. no Min i was late coming into the series but i loved what i did get out of it.

    But i do remember i use to watch” not the nine oclock news” afterwards but only caught a few months of that too

  16. I forgot the greatest comedy act of all, The 2007 AFL Grandfinal.

  17. TBoss, you are so predictable.

  18. Like you didn’t dangle the bait.

    FWIW I also recall a certain home final in which the Portscum were CRUSHED by their betters.

  19. Had me in stitches.

  20. Simple minds are easily amused.

  21. Where’s my mind? I forgot Alf. Definitely a top 5 candidate.

  22. aquanut, on January 18th, 2009 at 10:52 am

    eg “… bang the gong, let’s get it on…” luv, it!

    Miglo, on January 18th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Til’ Death Do Us Part, I assume, Miglo?

  23. oh and “George and Mildred”

  24. My picks:

    1. Yes Minister
    2. And agreeing with Tom R, early Paul Hogan
    3. Monty Python
    4. Mork and Mindy
    5. The Gilles Report

    It’s not TV, but my all time favorite is The Goons Show.

  25. Is it just me or is there a dearth of quality Australian comedy these days?

    It just seems to be all reality or whatever crap you care to call it and the younger generations will lose the ability to be able to take the p*ss out of themselves.

  26. A lot of ’em already have, scaper! Its called political correctness…

    Min, some of their shows are on the net as downloadable Mp3 I used to listen to them while flying around the countryside to work…and here’s the website with all the scripts! Enjoy! 😀

  27. Thank you TB. This is wonderful!! I was about 17 when I used to listen to the Goons not the original, but the 1st repeat. One that I remember in particular was the spoof on the Bridge on the River Kwai. With apologies for misquotes as I am just going by memory.

    How long is the river? Ans: 200 miles suh. How wide is the river? Ans: 200 yards suh. That it! We’ll build the bridge across (emphasis) river.

  28. Min, click on the Downloadables and have a listen to:

    What Time is it Eccles – absolute classic!

    I used to listen to them as a kid in England – every Sunday along with H-H-H Hancock’s Half Hour!

  29. Just a bit of a follow on having enjoyed listening to TB’s link to the Goons. Scaper, maybe it’s because American humor is mostly visual (with notable exceptions) but English and earlier Australian humor was mostly verbal (irony). Was just thinking about this as the majority of Blogos seem prefer English and Australian humor with a couple of stand out American comedies.

  30. Didn’t Tony Hancock kill ‘imself?

  31. Yes indeed reb Hancock did kill ‘imself. A dark side for certain as for many comedians.

  32. No Aquanut, Alf (Alien life form). The hairy little creature from the planet Melmak who lived with an American family.

    There were 4 seasons made, but only the first two seasons were shown in Australia.

    For those who used to watch the show and want to know how the ending went – sorry – he got caught by the authorities.

  33. Scaper @ 2:26. I couldn’t agree more.

  34. Beny Hill had a sad ending too – died alone in his flat.

    Just reminded me of my all time favourite – Tommy Cooper – my grandad used to start laughing as soon as he appeared – he didn’t have to say or do a thing!

    When Tommy C went to the USA they didn’t “get it” and the manager of one club he was playing, called him into his office and said – “I think you need to do a bit more work on your magic tricks…”

    If you’ve never seen Tommy Cooper – shame on you!

    Here he is on Youtube

    I was also told that when Tommy C walked home from the shops on Saturday morning with his two, brown paper, carrier bags – the local cricket game would come to a standstill just to watch him!

  35. “No Aquanut, Alf (Alien life form). The hairy little creature from the planet Melmak who lived with an American family.”

    That bastard ate cats.

    If I ever see one its pelt will adorn my haunches, Melmak or not.

    If, on the other hand, it had eaten the sickening applepie-chomping family that it lived with I’d have been its staunchest ally.

  36. Beny Hill had a sad ending too – died alone in his flat. (TB).

    What was the sad bit TB? That he died, was alone, or in his flat?

    If he had company, or was in somebody else’s flat, would have that been good?

  37. On an Australian note: Con the Fruiterer, Col’n Carpenter, Magna, Wendy Harmer, Doug Anthony All Stars.

  38. Min, how about Mavis Bramston?

  39. By gee Miglo, what memories. The list of people is amazing, Gordon Chatter, Noeline Brown..etc. My favorite was Barry Creyton.

  40. Best thing about Alf was that he ate cats Toiletboss. I reckon if no cat eating alien life form exists then scientists should genetically engineer one, probably a modified dog of some sort.

    As you can gather I don’t like cats.

    It might be sad to us that Benny Hill died alone in a flat but it wasn’t for him. It was what he wanted and all most of us can ask for is that we die the way we want to.

    As usual these Five Favourites threads have triggered so many forgotten memories and this one some very funny ones. As to naming five, just about every comedy mentioned here has been my favourite at one time or another, most still are. The indication of a very good comedy series is that no matter how many times you see it and how old it is you still get a laugh.

  41. This blog reminds me of two things, fine comedians, and my age. Oh well, onward.

    1. Monty Python
    2. Fawlty Towers
    3. Victor Borge
    4. Benny Hill
    5. Alan Partridge

    Honour roll: Norman Gunston, Max Gillies, Catherine Tate

  42. I used to really think that Adrian had something wholesome to offer the world.

    His Feline-phagia has painted him with the scarlet letter.

    I have despatched Rassmussen & Toddles to Nowra to exact hideous revenge.

  43. I think we are about to witness a catastrophe in Nowra.

    (I think it is sunstroke)

  44. Rassmussen & Toddles will have to face Chief, a German Short Haired Pointer that really hates cats.

    Not my dog but my brothers. Might tell you a story about my brother (who hates cats more than I do) and a previous German Short Haired Pointer he had. Might have to hold off though as it would really upset the cat lovers.

  45. The generations before us had some good belly laughs as well. These will be alien names to most bloggers, but on a nostalgia show I saw some episodes of the Honeymooners and Sgt Bilko. Absolutely brilliant comedy with real acting parts.

  46. Harumph!

    I’m never posting here again!

    I may however haunt the place as such & such from The Buffalo Lodge.
    Your sly attempt to have me call off my deathcats has abysmally failed!

    BTW, I don’t have sunstroke…just no sleep after N/S & Wild Turkey for blood.

  47. Miglo, on January 18th, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Picky! M, pardon me for posting! 😉

    I always thought it was it was sad that he was alone and not found for some days – can’t remember detail…

    I agree, Adrian, dying the way we want (you already know my thoughts on euthanasia)

    A big vat of WT sounds lovely! :mrgreen:

  48. OK Toiletboss to ease your sensibilities and to stop you leaving this fine place I’ll keep Chief at my brothers and you can send Rassmussen & Toddles around to Nowra to rub my leg to death.

    Rassmussen I’m not certain of, but I’m fairly certain I have little to worry about from a cat named Toddles. Just being called Toddles is enough suffering to put on a cat for me to be satisfied. 😉

  49. I would never curse a living thing with such a dismal name, I blame my cohabitor for that one.
    Strangely enough Toddles is the uncontrollable nutcase.

    I promise to get back on topic after this…

    We sent him to be desexed last year. Unfortunately the (trainee) vet could only locate a single agate for removal & decided to do exploratory abdominal surgery to locate the other one…it was never found.
    He’s never been the same since & has a mean streak a mile wide.

    I’m sure that our former cat, Satan, who we have boarding with my father on the farm would have Chief’s measure…he is gigantic & lets loose on the sheepdog.

  50. The top 5 TV comedies?

    My take is:

    1. Any one of George Bush’s press conferences dealing with the Iraq War.

    2. Fawlty Towers.

    3. Yes MInister.

    4. Monty Python.

    5. Get Smart.

  51. The only cat I’ve ever liked was probably like Satan. A tom that was totally independent, acted more like a dog than a cat and the only time it paid the remotest attention to you was when it wanted food. It would then just give you a look of utter disdain as if to say just feed me and get it over it.

    Back on topic now.

  52. M*A*S*H, Red Dwarf, Fawlty Towers, Seinfeld, Dad’s Army

    Almost made it:

    Alan Partridge, Only Fools & Horses, South Park, King of Queens, One Foot in the Grave, Frasier, Black Adder. The Mighty Boosh, Black Books, The IT Crowd, My Family, Last of the Summer Wine, Scrubs, Becker, Just Shoot Me, Absolutely Fabulous, The Office (both), Spaced, Father Ted, Vicar of Dibley, Little Britain, George & Mildred, Citizen Smith, Coupling, Extras, Monty Python, Love Thy Neighbour, Are You Being Served, Mr. Bean, Men Behaving Badly, On The Buses, The Royle Family, Yes Minister, You Rang M’Lord?, The Young Ones, The Addams Family, The Munsters, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, Cheers, Gilligan’s Island, Grounded for Life, Happy Days, That 70s Show, Hogan’s Heroes, Allo Allo!, The Larry Sanders Show, Malcolm in the Middle, My Name is Earl, NewsRadio, Sanford and Son, The Simpsons, Welcome Back, Kotter, Will and Grace…


  53. Tingleboss,

    It would be prudent to not let your cats near my place. My dogs, Killer, Bonecrusher, Chainsaw, Alf and Chad can be demons.

  54. Now they’ll be dropping in to Canberra on their way to Nowra.

  55. Bonecrusher! Hmm. Excellent name for a Cox Plate winner.

  56. Good call Nasking.

    Black Books
    Creature Comforts
    The Librarians
    Vicar of Dibley
    Red Dwarf

  57. I recon Kingswood country was what made the wog name a pleasure for me.

    I watch beverly hillbillies monthly basis but can never get enough of Hogans heroes

    Miglo, Tboss
    while you two were talking i kept getting the commercial “Toiletduck” coming into my head.

  58. (Off topic)

    Joni i havnt seen your postes nor have i seen many of Rebs postes either. i really hope everything is ok.

  59. Don’t have time to think about my top 5, but I saw all four series of the British comedy “Coupling” a few months ago, and (IMHO) it was the funniest thing I have seen for a very long time. It would have to be near the head of my top 5 list. Highly recommended if you can handle the subject matter (“adult concepts”).

  60. Glad to see that at least one person mentioned ‘Only Fools and Horses’.

    I guess it’s a toss up whether it strictly is a comedy as it had dark episodes and a fair bit of soap opera woven in amongst some comedy gems, actually some of the funniest stuff ever aired on TV.

    That it ran for 22 years is a testament to how good this series was (and it’s worth getting the entire set on DVD).

  61. I guess this will be seen as a stereotypical leftist paeon’s pursuit but I chuckled through “The Awful Truth” series at the time.
    Loved the “gun mascot”, Pistol Pete I think he was called.

  62. Toiletduck! Very funny Aquanut.

    I’m suffering from savage load of Mondayitis so a little laugh like that helps get the day under way.

  63. Gracias Oftenbark. Same goes.

    I shoulda mentioned my fave Canadian comedy ‘Corner Gas’ to be found 2 or 3 times a week on SBS in the arvo.

    And of course The Beverly Hillbillies.

    And yes, “The Awful Truth” is a cracker series.

    More comedy shows less war I reckon.


  64. miglo by the time i read your post which is now.
    you’d be home from work. Have a few drinks. 🙂

    i no longer juggle on Mondays for entertainment

  65. Nasking, I’d like to add American Dad and Family Guy to your very comprehensive list, as well as BBC radio shows like The Navy Lark, Ray’s a Laugh, Around the Horne, The Glums (I’ve forgotten the name of the show, but Ron, Eth and Mr & Mrs Glum were unforgettable).
    Early BBC TV comedies like The Frost Report, At Last the 1948 Show, Morecambe and Wise and All Gas and Gaiters also spring to mind. I can remember crying with laughter when Eric and Ernie had Andre Previn as their guest. And Laugh In has to sneak in.
    I can’t choose just 5 comedies, but Red Dwarf, Get Smart, Frasier, The Goodies, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Dad’s Army and Seinfeld crack me up no matter how many times I see them, to name just a few.

  66. The Adams family, The Monsters…

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