Offbeat Comedians: Armando Iannucci

Armando Iannucci may be balding, the colour grey seeping into his hairline, but his comedy is as close to evergreen as anything can get. In fact, a lot of his one-liners exploit such humanly flaws.



Iannucci has been consistently producing comedies which do not fit the template that has developed over the years in television programming. As if the man is allergic to tropes, Iannucci’s palette includes a comedy about pseudo-philosophy, a coked up news program , the inner workings of the British Labour Party and most recently, a Democratic female Vice President of the USA.

Iannucci broke out when his BBC series ‘The Thick Of It’ gathered a cult following so strong that the show actually contributed a new word to the English lexicon (That word being ‘Omnishambles’. Microsoft Word doesn’t dare taint it with its red underline).

The show, beautifully laced with the most creative and visually vivid swear-words (Today, you have laid your first big fat egg of solid f*ck. You took the data loss media strategy and you ate it with a lump of E.coli. And then you sprayed it out of your arse at 300 mph) and insults (He’s so dense, light actually bends around him) had a full time swear consultant on board. Iannucci satirised real life political events that took place in Britain and even successfully predicted a few, just by hypothesizing what went on within the walls of Number 10.

Despite the success of ‘The Thick Of It’, which even gave birth to a spin off movie ‘In The Loop’ and the HBO show ‘Veep’, Iannucci prides most at ‘The Armando Iannucci Shows’. The miniseries scrutinized human nature, existentialism and the superficiality of modern culture with a brutally blunt style of humour. Each episode was presented in the format of a Mythbusters episode, where the host would explore a certain theme by meeting ‘experts’ and sharing ‘anecdotes’, presented through a continuous series of surreal sketches. Iannucci says the show came closest to him expressing his comedic outlook of life.

One such episode starts off with the camera focusing on an exterior of a building. A window lights up and  a loud shriek is heard from within. The narrator calmly says ‘it’s dawned on this woman that she designs bacon packaging’. In the backdrop  you can hear her forlorn voice repeatedly screeching “NO, NO,NO”.

If a Nihilist comedy isn’t offbeat, then nothing is.



The Thick Of It

The Armando Iannucci Shows


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