There is real hope for TV comedy, after all. The HBO series "Funny or Die Presents," the Frankenstein offspring of the Will Ferrell/Adam McKay-created website of the same name, gets it right where so many other sketch shows, particularly "Saturday Night Live," go wrong.
In Friday’s Season 2 premiere of "Funny or Die Presents," the sketches focused on brevity, with few exceeding two minutes in length (SNL people, pay attention!). For both newcomers and show loyals, the show was a circus of bizarrely awesome humor with recognizable faces and a brutally fresh approach to what it means to beat the hell out of a man’s funny bone in 2011. Featuring such delightful oddities as "Adam West Hits On You… Hard" and "Juggalo News," the season got off to a roaring start that left me gasping for air between guffaws.
Watch one of the night’s more hilarious clips, the recurring "Terrible Decisions" series:
Rob Huebel’s "Do You Want to See a Dead Body?" sketch was an exercise in bewilderment, with legendary doctor Deepak Chopra trying to philosophize death while Rob, who’s not feeling so good after having just been burned by a Tom Cruise lookalike, occasionally interrupts with lines like, "I’m gonna cut you off for a second. Keep an eye out for some pussy." Bizarre and disturbing… just how we like it.
Using models, miniatures and dolls, "Brick Novax’s Diary" unfolds in an odyssey of space travel, radiation-resistant blood and horny space whores. It’s the most lengthy of the night’s skits, but a worthwhile endeavor for anyone who’s gone down the rabbit hole of "Robot Chicken" and come out the other side with a smile.
Though the return of "Drunk History" was noticeably missing, as were first-season power sluggers Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer and Will Ferrell, the show never suffered a moment in their absence. The episode hit a high point with the lost-my-lunch-laughing reincarnation of "Juggalo News," in which newscasters dressed in Insane Clown Posse face paint and deadpanned hilariously ghetto deliveries of some disturbing news stories. We can look forward to three more "Juggalo News" installments this season, and they can’t come soon enough.
The recurring "United States Police Department" finds a spoof cop duo pursuing a Russian crime syndicate specializing in, well, cutting out people’s assholes for black market transplants. With colorful rectal references such as "chili spigot" and devastatingly catchy one-liners ("He has pussy for balls!"), it’s a damn shame we’re not going to see this bit turned into a full-on cop show. Sure as hell more exciting than yet another Law & Order offshoot.
Considering the strength of the episode as a whole, it’s hard to imagine that SNL mastermind Lorne Michaels isn’t looking long and hard in the mirror, asking himself why he refused to supplement the stale architecture of Saturday Night Live with precisely the kind of thing that makes shows like "Funny or Die Presents" or even "Robot Chicken" so crushingly hilarious and presently relevant. To do so at this point would be to admit to inferior vision, and knowing Lorne’s tendency to blot out the sun to do things his own way, even at his own peril, it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing that anytime soon.
Absolutely cannot wait for the rest of the season of "Funny or Die Presents".
CraveOnline’s Rating: 9 out of 10