Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid #1: Jam

One of my earliest posts on this here blog was a Halloween post. It was pretty much a compilation of shows/films I thought would make ideal Halloween viewing and it’s still one of the more popular posts I made based on the views it still gets in 2014. I’m doing the same thing again this year, devoting individual posts to each entry. It’ll be fun, honest. 

jam

Chris Morris is, without question, my favourite comedian of all time. I still have vivid memories of watching the original 2001 broadcast of Brass Eye’s Paedophilia special at the age of 11 and being equally astounded and confused as to what I had just encountered. I’d never seen comedy so abrasive, controversial and gloriously unapologetic. After witnessing that 2001 special, I watched the whole show and it’s predecessor “The Day Today” which was equally as hilarious, if a little more tame with the constraints of the BBC. And then, I heard nothing for some time. Many years later, I heard something about another show Morris had created that I never even knew existed. It was called Jam.

Jam is the bleakest and most disturbing comedy series ever broadcast on mainstream British television. It was Morris unleashed and at his most abstract from both a production and humour standpoint. Using mostly audio from the radio version dubbed, episodes were 20 minutes long, featured no ad-breaks or credits, no overarching narratives and a surrealist editing style (aided by a brilliant Trip-Hop soundtrack) which created a truly unsettling atmosphere to the show.

With sketches focusing on an ex-husband’s bloody present to his ex-wife (hint: it includes a woodchipper), an unethical sale of a homes that involved repeated sexual encounters with the buyers and a plumber performing unnecessary ‘repairs’ to a baby, the laughs are not as immediate or as obvious as they are in Brass Eye and The Day Today. At points, you wouldn’t be alone if you didn’t suspect that you were watching an especially abstract David Lynch film from the 90s and not a comedy sketch show.

Unrelenting dark whilst worryingly hilarious at points, Jam is well worth a look in this festive Halloween period.

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