In 1993 The South Bank Show aired a two part documentary called John Lloyd's A - Z Of Comedy. Presented by veteran producer John Lloyd it's a basically a survey of well known UK comedians and worth a watch if you can find it. Highlights include Lenny Henry acknowledging his debt to Alexi Sayle, Julian Clary presenting a great segment about the history of British innuendo, Jim Davidson being a dick and Stephen Fry claiming he's not melancholic.
Ever since seeing the show when I was a schoolboy, one bit has stuck with me: a snippet of an interview with John Cleese. After the crash of MH17 and Israel's new invasion of Gaza all in one day (not to mention ongoing stagnation of meaningful solutions to climate change and ongoing sexism and racism in the media and in public), I started thinking about this clip again. Maybe the reason we don't seem to have as much satire around these days (at least not in New Zealand) is because, as Cleese suggests, things are just a lot less funny.