Radio: John Finnemores Souvenir Programme
Radio sketch show
from The BBC
, written by John Finnemore of Cabin Pressure
- Could Say It But: Subverted. An HR representative tries to get across to his friend that "Of course I can't talk about the upcoming layoffs, but I especially cannot tell you that your job is safe", which his friend mistakes for this trope played straight, despite the HR guy getting more and more explicit about precisely what it is he can't say. The punchline is that the reason he's so confident about his job security is that "I'm one of the best detectives on the force!"
- Death of the Author: Parodied with an English teacher who gets increasingly frustrated at not being able to correct his class's hopeless - sorry, "interesting" - interpretations of Macbeth (they're convinced he's a Badass, and the whole conversation with his wife where he's remorseful and she's scorning him is them both being "sarcastic"). When the lesson ends and he covers the same class's Maths lesson, he's overjoyed at being able to tell them "NO! No, that's wrong, that's the wrong answer and I'm going to tell you the right answer which I know and you should learn! God that felt good!"
- Every Episode Ending: In the first series, each episode ends with a "ghost" story (sometimes different genres are used), always subverted somehow and full of wordplay and Lampshade Hanging.
- Film Noir: The Storyteller sketches in the third series.
- Gilligan Cut: Parodied in a sketch about a sitcom character trying to get by in real life (who also appeared in a sketch riffing on the trope Right Behind Me). He's asked to do something silly for charity, and outright refuses to do it. He then starts preparing to do it anyway, to the confusion of the other characters who've, naturally, already arranged for someone else to do it.
- I Know You Know I Know: Are you sitting comfortably?
Bob: Okay. I want you to listen very carefully and tell me if I've got this right. You're angry about what you think I said about what you said about what you thought I said (but we now both agree I didn't say) about what you thought I thought you thought about what I did when you did what you did when I didn't do what you thought I said I would do but what I thought I said I would try to do, is that right?
Bob: Yeah I thought so. Well I didn't say that.
Alice: Yes you did! You said you couldn't believe I said what I said about what I thought you said (but which we do agree you didn't say) because you thought I said I said what I said not because you didn't do what you said you'd do but because you said you'd do it, and that makes me feel that you feel that I feel that you don't feel what I feel.
Bob: You know I feel you feel I feel what you feel.
Alice: Yes but I don't feel you know I know that and that's why I said what I said.
Bob: What did you say?
Alice: That sometimes, I think you're a little over-analytical—
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Lampshaded in a Credits Gag; "I myself wrote and starred in the programme, but modesty precludes me from ever telling you my name, save for one cryptic clue hidden deep within the title..."
- Knights and Knaves: Parodied in this sketch in the first episode.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Polly the Croco-pie, the result of a union between "an unusually docile crocodile and a quite heroically determined magpie".
- Nested Stories: One of the "ghost stories" has The Storyteller telling a story about a man at his club telling him a story about a letter he found containing a story about a landlady telling a story about an old drunk who said "I went for a walk, and I saw a ghost." So there you have it! You devout believer (or no less devout skeptic), from henceforth you must find some accommodation in your convictions for the fact that you once met a man who met a man who found a letter from a man who once stayed with a lady who knew a man... who saw a ghost! Except it turns out he actually said he saw a goat.
- Right Behind Me: Parodied, with a guy who launches into a tirade against his new boss, trailing off with "...and he's right behind me, isn't he?" His coworkers respond with "No... of course not, we'd have said something." He then reveals, with the air of a man admitting to a compulsive disorder, that he's a sitcom character, and really needs the "scene" to resolve itself humorously, and gets more and more anxious at the lack of a punchline. However, as the boss is out of the office there's nothing to be done, until;
Colleague: Don't worry, I'll handle this - my brother's a sitcom character too. What's that you say about the new boss, Colin?
Colin: He's ugly and stupid and bald and awful!
Colleague: He's also in charge of who gets a Christmas bonus this year.
- Rule of Three: Finnemore has a self-imposed rule that no sketch can return more than three times in an episode.
- The Storyteller: Well, since you've asked me for a story about The Storyteller...
- Too Soon: One of a series of sketches where famous witticisms are met with a realistic reaction from the person being addressed;
is dead! Dorothy Parker:
How could they tell? Man:
...Jesus, Dorothy, a man just died.
- Translation Convention: Jesus' defence when an apostle points out his anachronistic use of the word "off-license"
You know as well as I do that we're both speaking Aramaic, and the word I just used was the informal word for a wine merchant, which I can only assume in whatever language we're being translated into sounds like "off-license".
- Unfortunate Names: A sketch based on A Christmas Carol has a main character called Christopher Muscheer. The narrator informs us that Chris' wife "also had a name that was very funny when followed by Muscheer, but which I can't recall at the moment" and that his son Bernard "had a name that was not funny when followed by Muscheer, because his parents didn't want him to be bullied at school."
- Wacky Marriage Proposal: Parodied. Two women are heard talking about the various irritating/publicly embarrassing proposals they've received from men (through a megaphone in Trafalgar Square, throwing an expensive ring into a gorge, etc.) when Finnemore's voice breaks in, Public Service Announcement-style:
"MEN! DON'T TRY TO BE CLEVER! The men in these stories were hapless idiots, but SO ARE YOU! They all tried to be original! To think differently! DO NOT DO THIS! Be unoriginal! Think same-ily! The acceptable romantic gestures are in order! Flowers! Dinner! Presents of something she mentioned ages ago and then forgot about! A proposal should be somewhere nice, with a ring, private enough for her to say no if she wants to! Men only get away with any variation on these in Hollywood movies, and that's because the same person gets to write What He Does and What She Thinks About It! You don't get to do that! So stick to the stuff that works! AND ALWAYS KEEP THE RECEIPT!"
- Witch Hunt: "When he couldn't find any witches to burn, the king widened the definition to any ugly woman who owned a cat. When he couldn't even find any of those, he made the women of the village hold a beauty contest. First prize was a night with the king, last prize was a cat."