When The Fat Lady Sings

The Norman Lovett and Bill Bailey pilot we heard about at last year’s DJ has surfaced under the nom de YouTube of When The Fat Lady Sings. Here’s Norm’s user page and you can work the rest of the controls out for yourself. I will say two things at this time:

* How about providing a link on Norm’s site?
* Someone likes Curb Your Enthusiasm, and it isn’t me.

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42 Responses to When The Fat Lady Sings

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  1. G&T Admin

    Bleugh. Forgetting all the stuff I’ve said today – I *haven’t* got an anti-Norm agenda on everything he does! – that really is dreadful. Like Curb, but without the actual jokes, wit, and great performances. Naturalistic performances and dialogue are not automatically funny – in fact, quite the reverse.

    I hate to say that, because a great sitcom pilot from Norm would have been fantastic.

    And yeah, why the hell isn’t there a link to it on Norm’s site? Giving directions on how to get to it from YouTube is just ludicrous, when all it should take is a single click on a link…

  2. Well, I might as well get this over with and say I thought that was really, really funny.

    I’m sorry. I am a bad person, I know…but that mumbly sort of comedy of mundane conversation gets me every time, and I can see that some attention to future episodes could have really resulted in something great.

    It’s far from perfect, don’t get me wrong, but the right attitude is there, I have faith that the characters would take shape over the course of time. A bit too “Curb?” Sure. But hey, it’s 14 minutes or so of a pilot. It could find its own distinct identity.

    Two things I don’t like: the title (meh) and the fact that it’s split into six tiny chunks. Surely two would have sufficed?

    But…yeah. I’m sorry. I love The Office. I love Curb. I love Saxondale. I just might have a fetish for this kind of thing.

  3. G&T Admin

    Whoever updates Norm’s site is an idiot. And possibly a paedophile.

  4. G&T Admin

    But?yeah. I?m sorry. I love The Office. I love Curb. I love Saxondale. I just might have a fetish for this kind of thing.

    Curb is absolutely fucking great. An amazing show. And I think Saxondale and The Office at least have some worth to them, although they’re not my kind of show at all.

    But this Norm thing… I just hate it. Naturalistic stuff can definitely work… but only if you’re saying something funny at the same time. This just felt – and I use the cliche advisedly – all style and no substance. Like no attention had been given to the actual script, because performing it in this way was automatically funny.

    And some of the acting was atrocious. Bailey is always great, but the final scene with the family… argh.

  5. You are correct on every one of your points, John. I think you and I are differing only on how large or small we consider the crime to be.

    I think it’s safe to say that Norm has an idea of what he’d like to achieve with this, but isn’t quite sure how to actually get that to happen. BUT we have to remember this is just a short pilot…and it got enough interest out of me that I think it could have well blossomed into something down the line. Probably within just a few episodes.

    I liked it. Not a patch on the comedies I mentioned, but I do have a soft-spot for the comedy of reality. If this were a full series, I’d be interested in seeing the rest.

  6. G&T Admin

    Two laughs in the whole thing for me:

    – What else are you going to do with four hours?
    – I could watch King Kong.

    – I can never go back to school now.
    – Neither can I!

    What a waste of Lovett and Bailey. I think the whole naturalistic, playing yourself thing is just laziness. It can be a good format if it’s done right (Lead Balloon isn’t too bad), but I can’t help but think it’s a fall-back for someone who can’t think of an idea for a sitcom. The junk mail thing is just the worst type of pseudo-observational rubbish, but it would have been acceptable if there was anything else going on. The wife and kids were just shit. The scenes with them in could have been funny if they would just shut the fuck up and let the comedy people speak. It’s not a sitcom pilot – it’s two talented people assuming that putting a camera on them will automatically be funny, and failing miserably.

    Oh, and relying on a Dwarf reference for the denouement, and then GETTING IT WRONG is just stupid.

  7. Seeing as it’s ‘have a pop at Lovett’ day, I have to say I was less than impressed..

    I do believe Norman can be very funny and perhaps has a classic sit-com in him somewhere, for me, this aint it.

    Bill Bailey is hugely talented, I love the bloke, Norman, less so…

    I just cant see any future in this whatsoever, I found it weak on all points.

  8. That was actually just Curb Your Enthusiasm, with different actors whom I prefer, but overall not as good. Very odd.

  9. Oh, it’s a first-run. I definitely think with more time and attentiveness, Norm could handle a show like this just fine. It’s a case of wanting to be something that it isn’t really, sure, but I think this is an excellent kind of comedy for him to explore.

    >I think the whole naturalistic, playing yourself thing is just laziness. […] I can?t help but think it?s a fall-back for someone who can?t think of an idea for a sitcom.

    Resists the urge to kill Ian and self…

  10. G&T Admin

    It’s not the naturalistic thing I object to – I love Saxondale, to pick from your list – it’s specifically comedians playing themselves. I’ve never really got into Curb, but can see that it was an original idea. Lead Balloon (Jack Dee vehicle, which I doubt you’ll have seen in the States) was the same, but fairly funny. This thing is JUST THE SAME THING AGAIN, but without the jokes. Seriously, there’s no originality or imagination gone into this at all.

  11. I’ll reply to this after work…as I think I have a good idea of the next point I’d like to make. Again, though, I don’t think we disagee as much as it seems on the surface…

    …more to come.

  12. >?more to come.

    Actually, nevermind. I’m distracted by Zelda.

  13. No need for complex instructions! Just a link to the video itself will suffice.

    Incidentally, I posted this earlier and it seemed to vanish?

  14. You posted it under the Bodysnatcher Poll, dude. :-)

  15. Balls.

    Too many tabs, and I flew from Seattle to Manchester on Sunday, and am totally fucked up in the timezones. :(

  16. A couple of laughs in this but the scenes with Norman and Bill together didn’t work.

  17. I’m not sure this is anything than it’s meant to be. Norman loves Curb, he even lists it on his myspace page. I don’t think he’s doing anything more than just taking off Curb with your mates, with a camcorder and half your family. Some serious comments made in this thread, but i would take it as I see it not a great work of comedy, more something to on a Sunday afternoon..

  18. I find it really odd that his actual family (and probably their real house) is shown there. Really strange.

    I don’t think I like it.

  19. >I don?t think he?s doing anything more than just taking off Curb with your mates, with a camcorder and half your family. Some serious comments made in this thread, but i would take it as I see it not a great work of comedy, more something to on a Sunday afternoon..

    Well, okay, but if you’re going to label something a “pilot” you can’t hide behind the, “Oh, I just did it to kill time” excuse. (Which, it should be mentioned, he hasn’t done…oddly, you felt the need to make the excuse for him, which is actually more insulting than anything else I’ve seen anyone do in this thread.)

    Either it’s a pilot or it ain’t. I personally liked it enough. But he used a word that’s going to put definite connotations of seriousness into peoples’ minds, and they are quite right to react to it.

  20. I’m not making an excuse for him, the reason I say this is because when you make a pilot for a show, you don’t stick it on Youtube for the world to slag off, you do it in less and more professional manner. The comment I made to reflect this. Robert has done the same, i think this is just the same thing. The word “Pilot” has nothing to do with it. I just feel that peoples views on this are coloured by his comments made on Red Dwarf and the Movie. If this had been put up by Bill Bailey on Youtube, and Norman as secondary actor, it would have been received differently, well on here at least…Maybe

    But that is just another opinion..

  21. G&T Admin

    > If this had been put up by Bill Bailey on Youtube, and Norman as secondary actor, it would have been received differently, well on here at least?Maybe

    I’m sorry James, but this is complete and utter shit. Norman’s been annoying us with his comments for a long time and we’re never short of due praise if it’s deserved. If this was a Bill Bailey pilot I’d judge it exactly the same.

  22. >The word ?Pilot? has nothing to do with it. I just feel that peoples views on this are coloured by his comments made on Red Dwarf and the Movie.

    Ah, right, so you completely missed the fact that I liked it, then? It sure makes me feel good to know that somebody’s actually read my post before he reacts to it.

    And yes, the word “pilot” does have something to do with it. If I invent a new helicopter that is incapable of flight, people would have every right to question my usage of the term “helicopter.”

    It brings with it certain preconceptions, just like…oh, you know…every single word in the english language. If you call something a comedy and it has no jokes, you’ll get flak. If you call something drama and it’s not moving in the slightest, you’ll get flak. When you choose to label something, is it really out of line when the audience takes that label into account in their criticism?

    Of course you haven’t read this far, and that’s okay. I just look forward to whatever nonsensical response you spout off with next.

  23. > If this was a Bill Bailey pilot I?d judge it exactly the same.

    Absolutely. I have no idea why anyone would even suspect any differently. Quality is quality and shit is shit, no matter whose name is attached.

  24. Wooahh! It must be a slow week! You have an opinion, so do I, but i react, I’m slammed, funny that. I’m glad you like it, I love Curb, and Norman fits the part perfectly, and this pilot or not or whatever you like to call it, just seemed like a bit of fun, that’s all I was saying, and the comments already posted didn’t reflect this “In my opinion” i thought people would be happy he’s doing something else, it seems this is not the case! Anyway I said maybe!

  25. >this pilot or not or whatever you like to call it

    *grips head, pulls out hair, vomits blood*

  26. Yes it’s a pilot! Norman is launching this premise to the BBC through Youtube. I’m totally wrong, you’re right. I would see a doctor about that alopecia…

  27. > Norman is launching this premise to the BBC through Youtube

    I think it’s appearing on YouTube AFTER being pitched elsewhere. It’s a pilot first, a net thing second. A lot more than something to do of a Sunday. (There are even ‘planning stage’ interviews around, aren’t there?)

  28. I never, ever thought I’d get so much argument out of somebody just by using a word INCLUDED IN THE TITLE OF THE BLOODY THING.

    This is far too much fun, and far too easy.

  29. G&T Admin

    >You have an opinion, so do I, but i react, I?m slammed, funny that.

    James, please calm down with the paranoia here. If Norm himself is calling it a pilot, then that’s what it is, and it deserves to judged accordingly. G&T really don’t have a party line when it comes to Norm, so accusing us of that is unreasonable and slightly offensive.

  30. I’d just like to say I’m not swayed by public opinion and will say if I like or dislike something (or someone for that matter)….

    Bearing in mind I’m a huge Bill Bailey fan, I thought this pilot was rubbish.

    When Robert Llewellyn (for instance) say’s something or posts to YouTube I tend to sit up and listen because he delivers almost all of the time.

    With Norman, I watch or listen out of respect but generally feel I’ve wasted part of my life afterwards. I do not dislike him as such but am sure I could grow to if he continues to whinge the way he does. If I thought he was totally crap, I wouldn’t
    have bothered watching all 6 snippets.

    Sadly, I dont think he’s half as talented as he believes himself to be but I’m always open to having my mind changed…

  31. Apologies for my uninformed and offensive posts.

  32. Oh, hey, got it – a direct quote from Norman at DJ 13 last year: “I’ve just done a 20 minute pilot with Bill Bailey and the BBC wouldn’t take it because it was ‘too wholesome’.” (Taken from the rd.co.uk convention article.)

    No worries James. Confusion all round. (It’s certainly all around me…)

  33. It’s a good premise, but it falls flat on its arse because the improv isn’t very good and some of the acting, particularly Norman’s “wife”, is so ropey you could attach a grappling hook to the end of it and use it to climb up a tall building. Plus the whole “I don’t want you hanging out with that Bill Bailey, he’s useless, grr!” thing just feels very tacked on – Bill doesn’t present himself in this as a particularly bad influence, certainly not as much as Jeff in CYE who actually is a bit of a bad influence.

    It’s an idea that has merit – a British equivalent of CYE could be very good – but this isn’t very well executed. I’m not surprised that the BBC turned it down.

  34. > This my favourite TOS article ever.

    > EVER.

    Handbags at ten paces…again.

  35. a British equivalent of CYE could be very good

    Like, say… Lead Balloon?

  36. G&T Admin

    Two of the videos have now been removed – Parts 5 and 6.

    How bizarre.

  37. G&T Admin

    Probably didn’t want to give away the ending… or the middle… or even the beginning…

  38. G&T Admin

    It’s like a blind old incontinent sheepdog…. etc etc

  39. >Probably didn?t want to give away the ending? or the middle? or even the beginning?

    “Well, it started badly… tailed off in the middle… and the less said about the end, the better.”

  40. G&T Admin

    I was gonna change my post to that. But you all got it anyway…

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