Friday, January 21, 2011

Film Yap: Funny or Die Presents Season One

“Funny or Die Presents” knows what an odd concept it is. It constantly makes fun of the fact that their website,, is free to the public but now it’s a TV show with the same sort of content. In their defense, a lot of what is seen on the show is original material mixed in with site favorites.

Unlike other sketch shows, “Funny or Die Presents” doesn’t have a singular voice like “Chappelle Show” or “Mr. Show”. Instead it’s a group of comedians each getting their own set time. Some of them are familiar names in the comedy scene like Mike O’Connell (Star of one of the best films of last year, “The Living Wake”) and Brett Gelman (“The Other Guys”). Others are rising talents like Derek Waters.

In 12 episodes, the content switches from ongoing stories, reoccurring bits, and stand-alone comedy shorts. One of the two main ongoing stories is “Designated Driver” which involves a drunk Rob Riggle ruining Paul Scheer’s night and possibly his entire life though a series of violent misadventures. The stronger one is “Hold Up” where a bank is being robbed and Rob Huebel, Thomas Lennon, Ed Helms, Rachael Harris, Malin Akerman and The Office’s Creed Bratton are held hostage.

Reoccuring segments include Sleeping With Celebrities, which is more literal than you might think, and Playground Politics, which has adorable children recreating global conflicts. Also there is the beloved Drunk History, where a comedian gets absolutely wasted and recounts a historical event, which is then recreated with actors like Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, and Crispin Glover.

Like any sketch show, there are things that work and things that fall flat. Every episode is a mixed bag but there’s never anything derivative. The worst part of the show is the opening few seconds where they tease the episode by showing random lines from upcoming seconds. Many times it deflates the punchline when it’s in context.

The biggest thing working against it is the sense of relevancy. There are sketches on their site that are much better. There are many more that are poor, but the show just provides a nice sampling. Besides missing out on some nice shorts like Hold Up and Gelman’s One Thousand Cats, this is not mandatory television viewing.

Show: 3.5 Yaps

Extras: N/A

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