Sketch comedy troupe Human Giant aim for a sweet spot somewhere between the freewheeling absurdity of Mr. Show
and the slacker/frat boy comedy of Dane Cook. The trio of Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, and Paul Scheer create sketches ranging from recurring bits like Shutterbugs (a hard-driving talent agency for child actors) and the Illusionators (two magicians who can do real magic but have such low-self esteem that they only raise the dead to make their card tricks truly impressive) to stand-alone bits like a drug-addicted genie or an attack-dog service designed to gain sympathy for the victims. Some satirical targets--like extreme sports or The Exorcist
--are pretty tired, but others sketches have a true spark; for example, Space Lords, in which a super-powered alien intent on taking over the Earth falls in love with a terrestrial girl (Mary Lynn Rajskub of 24
) and falls over himself to make her happy. Human Giant don't compare well to their idols--there's something formulaic and lazy about most of their humor--but they've clearly found an audience. Human Giant: The Complete First Season
contains eight 20-minute episodes. But for true fans of the show, the glories of this dvd set may be on the second disc, which contains excerpts from the marathon when Human Giant was given free reign over MTV for 24 hours and did pretty much anything that came into their heads, occasionally punctuated by musical acts like the National. Other bonus features include rambling commentaries (some episodes have two), footage from early live performances, a few deleted scenes, and some oddball things like phony dedications to dead crew members and the repeated takes from a child actor who had to say one short line in an early sketch. --Bret Fetzer
A collection of recklessly hilarious, fast-paced, hard-hitting short films, Human Giant brings viewers innovative comedy with a distinctive style and direction. First seen online, short clips like "Shutterbugs" and "The Illusionators" have gained a huge cult following. Human Giant has also gained a large audience in the New York comedy club scene through live shows at the underground club Upright Citizens Brigade.