The Dangerous Brothers: Dangervision DVD review

The early days of Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson weren't as good as Rob had remembered...

Dangervision: best left in the past...

Rik Mayall and Adrian Admondson have always had a special place in my comedy heart, and I suspect I’m not alone. It started for me as a lad watching the Young Ones and laughing at all the bottom gags. Even through the lameness of the Bottom movie and the tedious repletion of ‘have a w**k’ gags of the live tour, their brand of Tom and Jerry-like slapstick is something that has always made me laugh. Hence, it was good to catch up with some of their earlier work, as the Dangerous Brothers on Saturday Live.

Once again showing my age, I remember watching the UK version of the hit American show when it was first broadcast. From Ben Elton’s socio-political rants to Harry Enfield back when he was actually funny to Alexi Sayle before he became all ‘arty’, the show was jam packed with ‘alternative’ comedy talent. My favourites were of course Rik and Ade, and the idea of seeing all these ‘classic’ sketches again should have been a lot of fun, a sort of Proto-Bottom if such things could exist. They were, if my memory serves me, usually the last act on. A sort of grand finale of violence to finish off the show.

But to tell you the truth, I was actually really disappointed when I watched them all again.

Now, it should have been that here, in its purist form, was the essence of Filthy, Rich and Catflap, Bottom and Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, along with every other variant the duo have done distilled down into a fab set of sketches. But it wasn’t, it was just ..well dull.

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It seems the duo have been doing the same shtick for nearly 30 years and really watching it again shows that really these sketches are not actually that good. For every nipple tweak to a kick in the goolies we have seen it all before and while the Saturday Live stuff was fresh at the time, having seen the same thing in everything they have ever done since, it all seems quite tired.

It seems that comedy has moved on and while there is always room for slapstick having new and innovative people out there who can actually write (Mr Gervais and Mr Merchant I am looking at you here) it shows that really Ade and Rik were uncomfortably close to being one-gag wonders. A sort of ‘Fast-Show’ one trick pony that revolves around violence. It is surprising that they got away with it so long, to be frank; one sketch does not make a career but that’s what seemed to have happened. And it’s only by watching these sketches again that you realise that’s what they have done.

That’s not to say it’s not funny. Seeing Ade (or Sir Edward Dangerous) having his legs set on fire and not being able to remember the panic code-word to extinguish them is unintentionally genius, but having both of them shouting and screaming EVERY BLOOMIN’ WORD for every sketch gets very grating on the ear-drums. After the third or fourth sketch I had the feeling that I had already seen everything that had needed to be seen and that watching the rest would be an exercise in repetition and shouting. And guess what? Soldiering on, that is exactly what I got, the best part of an hour or so wasted on gags and scenarios I had seen again and again.

While it was fun to see the haircuts, 80s TV sets of SL and many out-dated and ill-fitting suits, the entire disc was, in my opinion a banal waste of time and quite frankly money. It is commendable that all the sketches were archived together, however you would be much better spending your money on the SL discs that appeared earlier this year.

For those who really want to relive all the cricket bat swinging antics of Ade and Rik then go on and buy Bottom instead – at least they tried to actually have a script and plot for this show and it’s not just sketch after sketch of shouting, screaming and tired repetition.

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2 stars



2 out of 5