So Americans don’t get irony, right? For a country that has given us Seinfeld (arguably the best sitcom ever made;) Curb Your Enthusiasm (arguably the best sit-com currently on TV;) The Daily Show (arguably the best satirical news show ever created;) Bill Hicks (arguably the best stand-up comedian ever;) and The Simpsons (arguably the best animated comedy show ever made) this has always seemed to me to be an odd view to take.
These shows are absolutely laced with irony while even mainstream US hits such as Frasier and Friends often hinged on creating comedy from deeply ironic situations. True, your average American doesn’t pepper every-day conversation with sarcasm in the same way many of us Brits do. They take themselves far too seriously for that. But used as a basis for TV comedy, the yanks constantly deliver innovative shows that are at least the equal - and often surpass - anything produced over here. And with the long-running The Daily Show now moving to a weekly, global edition in the UK, a gap has appeared for the brilliantly satirical, Onion News Network, to make its Brit-debut on Sky Arts 1 this Saturday (November 26th.)
Based on the Onion’s spoof news website, the show brings its brand of irreverent, satirical reportage to the screen whilst proclaiming to ‘keep you safe from the lies.’
Based on the Onion’s spoof news website, the show brings its brand of irreverent, satirical reportage to the screen whilst proclaiming to ‘keep you safe from the lies.’ And while some of the more inane headlines such as ‘Sony Releases New Stupid Piece of Shit that Doesn’t Fucking Work,’ or ‘King Latifah Returns for Wife,’ get easy laughs, it is the social and political stories that really hit hard.
One story focuses upon a courts ruling that a white girl who stabbed her classmate to death with a screwdriver would be tried as a black adult with the judge saying that ‘due to the extreme and violent nature of the crime the court finds it fitting to try the defendant as an African-American.’ Others look at the upcoming US presidential race with reports headlined as ‘Some Sick Fuck Out There Now Supporting Herman Cain Because of Sexual Assault Allegations’ or ‘Latest GOP Debate Concludes with Candidates Wrestling Squealing Pig to Ground and Slaughtering it.’ This is biting, yet extremely funny, satire played so unfailingly straight by the presenters that it looks and feels like a real news channel. Expect Onion News Network to have a cult-like following in the UK. And not in an ironic way.
Saturday, Sky Arts 1 at 11pm.
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