23 July 2020 | davidvmcgillivray-24-905811
Time capsule comedy showing British humour at a crossroads
As TV's technically innovative and anarchic "Kenny Everett Video Cassette" was drawing to a close in 1981, its star compered this very different comedy show tailored for the new home video market. Shot in a nightclub in London's Soho it features old-school comics, some in evening dress, doing dirty material that would not have been allowed on TV at the time. It's very much of its era, i.e. sexist, racist, homophobic, although this style of comedy was already on its way out. Alternative comedy was well established and would soon become the norm. Everett is between the two eras. He is as camp as Christmas on stage but in interspersed comedy sketches shot elsewhere he only lusts after semi-naked young women. In keeping with Everett's TV style, mistakes and chat with the film crew are kept in and there are constant references to tape editing and rewinding (as well as sinful Soho). The comics are a mixed bunch and some of their jokes are now toe-curling. William Rushton's act consists largely of repeating the word "pouves". Leslie Crowther does the X-rated routine he would have used for working men's clubs. A celebrity-packed audience seems to be having a great time. Editing is haphazard to put it mildly. The tape must have sold because it was followed in 1982 by "The New Kenny Everett Naughty Video". In this format Everett, supported by Barry Cryer and William Rushton, performed his TV characters in a studio to a small, largely female audience. Both tapes will be included as extras on a forthcoming Blu-ray release of the Everett movie "Bloodbath at the House of Death". Almost certainly they will be have to be preceded by warnings about outdated discriminatory language.