012 Contemporary Comedy – Old
In May, I managed to hear a play with an older Lenny Henry, but from 1991, we have this comedy by Annie Caulfield, Almost Always African, co-starring Bill Nighy. Like many Americans, I think I only discovered Bill Nighy through Love Actually and have now discovered the wealth of radio work he did long before that film. What was really bizarre here was that Lenny Henry basically replicated his performance from Bernard and the Genie (which makes sense given they were broadcast within weeks of each other!) but I don’t know if that was intentional, just Lenny Henry’s acting style at the time, or something else. I adore that side of Lenny Henry, so it was hardly a hardship. I was again, bemused, to find Nighty in a somewhat similar role to the one he played in Love Actually: fading rock star. However, Frank in this story was much less in-your-face than Billy Mack, and rather a tragic figure. Frank discovers Gambian musician Moses, whisks him off to London to record music and live in his mansion, and eventually Moses’ wives Fatima and Bintu arrive as well. The title comes from an interview Moses gives where he has most of the world’s music is African in origin, except maybe Shostakovich! LOL.
Do you ever hear a pilot of a comedy you sincerely hope will get the green light to make a full series? That’s what I experienced with The Accidental AM from Welsh radio. Starring Katy Wix as Hayley who works at the Leisure Centre and is talked into running in the local elections as a representative of East Cardiff. It’s just a favor to her sister’s friend. Unfortunately (or fortunately), the saintly incumbent is ousted when photos of him eating a Cornetto in Colonel Gaddafi’s swimming pool are found. So Hayley, without a political bone in her body, becomes an AM (Assembly Member). She promises all her constituents a free ploughman’s, and then turns up the Welsh space program, which is going to send a man, woman, or cow to Mars. It’s run by a nutty professor from a broom closet in Swansea University (appropriately enough, played by Richard Elwyn). I found it impossible to dislike Hayley, ditz that she is, and impossible to repress the laughs (it’s humor for South Wales by South Wales).