Tim Vine Live is a standup DVD from 2004.
Tim Vine’s comedy act is an amalgamation of all the things the comedy industry snubs its nose at: he’s a prop comic, he’s a musical comic, he’s a pun comic…and yet he manages to sell it. Is it the charisma? The confidence? That cheeky look into the camera? After the first dozen one-liner groaners–beginning with “I walk with a distinctive gait,” while carrying a gate he’d painted silver onto the stage–you think, how are we going to get through an hour plus of this? But about 15 minutes into the act, you never ever want it to end. Your brain gets into the rhythm of set-up/punch, set-up/punch, which becomes addicting. That rhythm is the same rhythm and speech style as any other standup routine you’ve seen, but it lacks the through narrative. This is what makes it so unique. You’ll want to watch this DVD a thousand times so that you can incorporate these puns into your life.
“If you stand in the middle of a library and go ‘AHHHHH!’ everyone stares at you. Do the same thing on an airplane, everyone joins in.”
Some ESL students learn English by watching standup DVDs. Americans can learn a lot about British speak from watching standup, especially comedians who do a lot of wordplay, like Tim Vine. There are quite a few jokes on this DVD that don’t really work for American dialect, but you’ll pick up the meaning from the context. For example…
- When Tim picks up a trash bag–one liner–it doesn’t really make sense unless you know that trash bags are called bin liners.
- “I said, ‘Give me something herby,’ so he gave me a Votswagen with no driver,” only works if you pronounce herb with the H, making it sound like the car Herbie.
- There’s a couple jokes punning the British slang term “pull.”
- You’ll learn that Hokey-Pokey is Hokey-Cokey or Okey-Cokey in the UK. (You’ll remember that Not Going Out has its fair share of Okey-Pokey gags.)
- You may know that Red Rum is an old favorite racehorse, but maybe you just think it’s murder spelled backwards.
“So I went to the doctor’s and he said ‘You’ve got hypochondria.’ I said, ‘Not that as well.’”
But don’t think that the entire show is just pun after pun after pun. (Although to fit 377 jokes in just over an hour means we’re moving fast!) Tim breaks up the show with a series of audio clips of proof beyond a doubt that celebrity A shares a flat with celebrity B (i.e. Elvis and Hitler). There are also songs, such as Wax Crayons, Family Holidays, Ladder, and Deep (the latter has a music video feature on the DVD). He also attempts to adlib with the audience, but he’s rightfully unable to riff off of “bakers,” “Hawley Harvey Crippin,” and “shears.” The best running gag has to be a series of before and after paintings his sister painted of things like a peaceful waterfall and then the before shot of clowns in a dingy nearing the edge. While the commentary track isn’t the best of commentary tracks, it does give some insight into where these sorts of jokes began.
The DVD comes with some fun special features as well, including some really old school clips of Tim doing standup inside his house (1991 onward) and some earlier gigs. You realize that although the jokes are different, he’s been honing his craft for a long time.
The little 30-day documentary is worth a look, too. A lot of it is the blandness of life–trying to guess when the toaster is going to pop and so on, and that in itself makes it hysterical. A lot of Tim’s day seems to be taken up by trying to stick “trespasser” stickers on the stray cats in his garden. One thing you will notice is that everything on this DVD is edited very well.
There’s an old short film Tim did called Two Men Left, which is ridiculous at times but also very clever narratively.
Please note this is a region 2/PAL DVD, so you’ll need to set your DVD player to region 2 or region 0.