Funny or Die Presents: The Complete First Season (DVD)
Will Farrell brings his Internet sensation to television with Funny or Die Presents
. This anthology of short comic sketches--some of which have appeared online--is hosted by the white-haired, avuncular Ed Haligan (Steve Tom), who's the epitome of a 1960s senior ad executive. Surrounded by a bevy of sexy secretaries, Haligan makes serious-sounding (but usually snide) pronouncements about the nature of television and computers or veers into existential angst. The sketches themselves are both wildly varied (from the sweet whimsy of "Space Baby" to the frat-boy "wildness" of "Designated Driver" to the off-kilter anti-comedy of "The Amazing Adventures of David & Jennie"), but also similar in their complete disconnect from the world at large. A free-floating self-referential "outrageousness" dominates, all urge with neither intention nor content, a sort of comic dry heave. Sometimes the results are entertaining: "Playground Politics" reduces geopolitics to a smattering of childhood catcalls and feels wittily appropriate, while Derek Water's "Drunk History" enacts historical events as narrated by actual historians who've been plied with way, way too much alcohol--the combination of boozy confusion and deadpan reenactment is delightfully absurd. The only comedy that represents anything like a female perspective is "Casual Sex," in which a very pregnant Andrea Savage tries to get laid by a stranger before her life becomes consumed by child-rearing. "Casual Sex," though brief, is about human interaction--something that most of these shorts have tossed aside. Fans of Human Giant
and Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!
will find plenty of material to enjoy. --Bret Fetzer