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Funny or Die Presents: Season One

by on January 9, 2011
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“Funny or Die Presents” knows what an odd concept it is. It constantly makes fun of the fact that its source website, FunnyOrDie.com, 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’s 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 “The Living Wake,” one of 2010’s best films) and Brett Gelman (“The Other Guys”). Others are rising talents like Derek Waters.

In 12 episodes, the content switches from ongoing stories, recurring 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.

Recurring 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 once it’s delivered in context.

The biggest thing working against “Funny or Die Presents” 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

Trailer

My Favorite “Drunk History

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