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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Skits > Sketches > British TV > Snuff Box: The Complete Series (2006/Severin DVD/CD Set)

Snuff Box: The Complete Series (2006/Severin DVD/CD Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-/B (CD)     Extras: A     Episodes: B-



Looking for sketch comedy that is both weirder and rawer than Kids in the Hall and Upright Citizens Brigade?  Snuff Box delivers.  The show is the creation of American Rich Fulcher and Britain’s Matt Berry.  Both Fulcher (Mighty Boosh, Sarah Silverman) and Berry (IT Crowd and Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place) possess plenty of experience for the form, and this series shows off what the two can do when completely unfettered by the bounds of convention, good taste, or any other kind of break.  At the direction of Michael Cumming, the pair play a series of bizarre characters that run the gamut from terrible, self-taught musicians to twisted Victorian gentlemen.


The sketches in this short collection of episodes range from bizarrely hilarious to confusingly obtuse, but the weight of the good stuff overwhelms the stuff that’s too weird to laugh at. Some of the humor reaches does not merely cross boundaries of good taste, it pisses on them as it goes by.  The Russian Roulette “Blood Money” mini-sketch is one of the ones that will probably cross many people’s lines.  The diary reading sequence also comes to mind.


The strangely funny “Rapper with a Baby” sketch (including lyrics penned by Mr. Berry himself) is at once funny and disturbing.  Mr. Fuclher’s funniest moments come when he plays himself as bumbling single trying to date different women, and as he fouls up, a weedy, officious looking fellow appears with a clipboard to grade his performance.  Mr. Berry enjoys so many great moments in the show it’s hard to single out just one, but his sequences as a member of the Mommas and the Poppas interspersed with him practicing moves from the Kama Sutra with a lovely young blond rank right up there.


Plenty of quality extra material is packed into this set, including an accompanying audio CD soundtrack.  Included is Mr. Berry explaining how he wrote the score for the show.  This is classic Berry, showing his genius as a comic and his talent for music in one go.  He literally plays the “character” Matt Berry, musical comedian, as he explains the mechanics of writing the show’s music.  His singing voice nearly equals his amazing speaking voice, revealing even greater depths of the man’s talent pool.  Among the other extras include some hilarious faux-testimonials.


Jaded fans of sketch comedy will find a lot to like in Snuff Box.  It’s weird, edgy, strange, inscrutable, and ultimately pretty damn funny.



-   Scott Pyle


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