This weekend I have … an hour, and I like offbeat comedy.
‘Chris Fleming: Hell’
When to watch: Arrives Friday, on Peacock.
The comedian Chris Fleming declares early in this new special that his work is not “for people with wives.” Instead, he says, “This is for theater people who don’t get cast.” It’s also for people who wonder why a gerbil costs as much as a pint of raspberries, who like droll absurdity or who crave sketches about mole-like goblin creatures bred by members of the scheming Ticketmaster family. There is a thread of self-effacing confessional comedy running through “Hell” (and probably through hell …), but this is more glorious absurdity than soul-baring stand-up. If you like “I Think You Should Leave,” try this.
… several hours, and I need a boost.
When to watch: Now, on YouTube.
Full seasons of this brilliant British panel show come and go from YouTube, but right now all of Seasons 4 to 14 are available, and the show’s most recent installment, Season 15, is starting to trickle in. Five comedians compete against one another in inventive challenges: throwing a potato into a golf hole, filling an egg cup with tears, blowing out a candle from the farthest distance. There are no bad seasons, and the show is both an ideal low-stakes crowd-pleaser and a perfect “I want one episode of something good but not something major,” end-of-the-night option. If you’ve ever fantasized about an occasionally erudite “Jackass,” try this.
… even more hours, and I want something vintage.
If you want to scratch a “Twilight Zone” itch, or if you yearn for a time when TV scores used more clarinets, try this British anthology series that premiered in 1973. Episodes are more retro freaky than unadulterated nightmare juice, and many include an American having some kind of breakdown or breakthrough in strange English environs. “Thriller” often feels like a stage play — the set design and especially the blocking lean theatrical, which adds to the eerie disquiet. I know what you’re thinking: “I’ll watch one of these only if it stars Hayley Mills and some spooky dolls.” Well, “Only a Scream Away,” from Season 2, is ready when you are.
POST AUTHOR: Margaret Lyons