Seasoned comedy watchers (and every comedian on the planet) will remember “Comedy Central’s Premium Blend,” the show that largely replaced the post-Johnny-Carson Tonight Show as a place to be seen as having “made it” as a comedian. It was by no means the only show that mattered but it was the only show that put dozens of comedians on TV in a meaningful way. Another heavy hitter on the comedy TV landscape was “Shorties Watchin’ Shorties” which reminded America that most jokes are better if you make a cartoon about them.
These two shows have had a baby (Mozel Tov!) and named it “Mash Up.” The show combines great stand up comedy and filmed sketches (based on the comedian's jokes) with dashes of old-school nostalgia and a once-per-episode break that literally mashes up two concepts. So S.W.A.T. + Auto-Tune becomes Swat-o-tune and a video is born. Its hard to describe the full aesthetic of the series but, if this helps, T.J. Miller is the host and it feels like someone pulled it out of his dreams.
The jokes are funny, of course, and the video segments are surprisingly good. Fans of Stand-Up will notice that most of the video segments feature other famous comedians making the whole series seem like an reunion party for a bunch of comedic friends. If there is any negative aspect of this series, it is that it might ruin traditional televised stand-up (or perhaps this show is the final nail in the coffin), as its hard to imagine going back to just jokes and a microphone.
As a host, T.J. Miller rocks the house. He has the right feeling for the series and brings the right energy. He also stars in a lot of the videos and brings a serious gift for facial expressions to a lot of jokes (his own and otherwise).
A think some comedians will hate on the show’s produced graphic dynamic which reminiscent of old-school video games, but it’s really good work and it brings something to comedy that’s been long overdue: a new flavor. Boom… Remix…. check out “Mash Up” this Tuesday and beyond on Comedy Central.