Human Giant: Season 1
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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.
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
- 8 episodes from the 2007 season
- Best of the 24 Hour Marathon
- Deleted Scenes
- Extended Sketches
- Behind the Scenes footage
- Movie Awards promos,
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I'm Aziz Ansari, one of the creators and stars of Human Giant and I can't recommend this show enough. Unfortunately, the Amazon editorial review is the only bad review of this DVD I've really seen. Don't listen to Bret Fetzer. He went to elementary school with me and I remember him being pretty racist.
Here's our A- minus review from The Onion AV Club.
Human Giant: Season One (MTV)
Reviewed by Nathan Rabin
March 5th, 2008
Fans like to bemoan the premature deaths of Mr. Show and Arrested Development, but both enjoyed substantial runs and left behind a lasting cultural legacy. A direct line can be drawn between the cult shows of the very recent past and the cult shows of today. Arrested Development found a worthy heir in 30 Rock, while the terrific sketch-comedy show Human Giant serves as a vital link between Mr. Show and the current generation of web-weaned funnymen who made their names posting homemade videos online instead of working their way through Second City, The Groundlings, or Saturday Night Live. The show's central dynamic echoes Mr. Show as well. Like Bob Odenkirk, Rob Huebel boasts the bland good looks of a local TV news anchor, yet there's a spark of madness and rage at his core. Castmates Paul Scheer and Aziz Ansari, meanwhile, take turns inhabiting the David Cross role.
Unlike Mr. Show, Human Giant isn't averse to recurring characters. Popular bits like "The Illusionators" (a pair of David Blaine/Criss Angel-like magical douchebags who are alternately astonishingly lamely mundane and genuinely magical) and "The Shutterbugs" (about intense, hyper-profane children's agents who become the brain trust behind the notorious flop Li'l 9/11) prove that in spite of what decades of Saturday Night Live suggest, the phrase "funny recurring character" doesn't have to be an oxymoron.
Like The Ben Stiller Show before it, Human Giant earns its MTV pedigree by being the kind of hip rock 'n' roll show where guest appearances by Ted Leo or Ghostface Killah are par for the course. In fact, Human Giant may be the only hip rock 'n' roll show left on MTV. The half-hour format suits its short, punchy aesthetic perfectly, but it's fascinating watching more than an hour's worth of excerpts from a 24-hour marathon where the cast of Human Giant and a gaudy procession of big-name guest stars (including Odenkirk) took over MTV and MTV2 for an entire day. It's a testament to the show's addictiveness that the excerpts leave audiences hungry for more. Given Human Giant's web-friendliness, it's also fitting that the full 24 hours can probably be found somewhere online.
Key features: Hilarious deleted scenes, live footage, a preview of season two, and amusing audio commentaries from the cast and selected guest stars.
A.V. Club Rating: A-
This is where it all started!
The special features really save this dvd set. There's too many to list. I wish more dvd sets would go all out on special features like this one does.
Human Giant is a breath of fresh air, not only for MTV (obviously), but for sketch comedy. With only SNL and MadTV as examples, some people might think that sketch comedy has been done to death. Human Giant proves that this is not the case. Combining closely-observed parody with absurdist satire, this show is the heir for which Mr. Show fans have been waiting. Some may be thrown off by absurdity, something usually misused or underused, and deem much of the content silly, but exaggeration is one of the most useful tools of a satirist.
The fact that so many of their sketches center around TV, commercials and movies is indicative of how in-touch the writers are with the absurdities and excesses of our culture that beg to be pointed out. Taking a cue from webshows like "Horrible People," Human Giant is unafraid of recurring characters. Two of these are "Shutterbugs" and "The Illusionators," both of which find their genesis before the show was picked up by MTV and yet continue to be inspired through Season 2. Marketing is one of Human Giant's biggest targets, commenting on the seeming inescapability of ads and commercials for needs created by marketing! Sketches that disregard sexual and racial difference, force us to look at cultural constructions that seem so central to our reality.
Notable features (commentaries, guests, marathon)
Given the unfortunately short season, it is delightful that there are commentary tracks for each episode and sometimes two. These commentaries feature such show regulars as Rob Riggle and Kristen Schaal, often resulting in worthy improv. Comedy geeks will appreciate the steady stream of guests such as Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn and Nick Swardson in sketches and people such as Bob Odenkirk, Will Arnett and Nick Kroll featured in the marathon round-up on Disc 2.
Buy this DVD. I often burn movies (and I'm a film studies student), but I've gotten more use out of this DVD than most of the others I have bought.