What's In The Stream — Snuff Box
I’m talking a bit about some of the shows I’ve been watching on Netflix lately, starting yesterday with a lengthy post about Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.Today, I’m going to talk about something a little more frivolous … but just as wonderful.
SNUFF BOX: I was introduced to this wonderful Brit-com by my friend Cindi a few years ago (exactly where SHE discovered it, I don’t know, but I’ve learned not to ask such questions of Cindi … some things TV viewers were not meant to know). In fact, it took me more than a year to remember the show’s name. During most of that period it was “that show with the guy from The IT Crowd.” Of course, everyone on IT Crowd was awesome, so that hardly helped.
Even identifying that I meant Matt Berry really didn’t help that much, because people (presuming they know his name at all) are sure that I mean either The Mighty Boosh or Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place. But while those two deeply strange series have captured imaginations in the geek-o-sphere, for some reason the equally strange Snuff Box has gone relatively unnoticed. In fact, it was only recently added to the Netflix streaming library.
So, what IS Snuff Box? Well, that’s a little difficult to say. When I first saw it, I thought it was a skit-based show that had a light framework of a setting (a very odd British private gentleman’s club). But the more I watched it, the more I saw that there was not only continuity between the skits and episodes, but it was telling a larger, comprehensible (if surreal) story. So it’s really a bizarre situation comedy with occasional asides into self-contained skits.
All of that fails to capture the fact that it is just flippin’ FUNNY!
Now, Matt Berry’s particular brand of pompous, bombastic, farcical humor doesn’t appeal to everyone. And if you didn’t like him in any of the other shows I’ve mentioned, then you won’t like him here, either. But if you DID enjoy his portrayals of Dixon Bainbridge, Dr. Lucien Sanchez, or (most of all) Douglas Reyholm, then you’re going to love him in Snuff Box.
Of course, all of this ignores this other half of Snuff Box, an American comedian named Rich Fulcher, who also was in The Mighty Boosh and apparently is a bit of a phenomenon in the U.K. while remaining basically unknown here in the States.
It would be wrong to say that Filcher is a “straight man” to Berry in Snuff Box. In fact, he does A LOT of the heavy lifting for the show, providing most of the impetus for the bizarre story to move along AND being the focus in most of the most memorable side skits. But it never feels like Filcher’s show to me … he always seems like the best member of the supporting cast. Actually, it feels a lot like a comedy duo made up of two punchliners … like Groucho Marx and Lou Costello. Unfortunately for Filcher, he’s the Costello in that simile — and while I love me some Abbot & Costello, Groucho kicks their comedic butts six ways to Sunday.
Anyway, if all this seems a bit rambling and unfocused, that is appropriate to the matter at hand. Snuff Box is a deeply weird show, but one that is very much worth adding to your Instant Queue.