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October 4, 2015

Comedy Central's TV Funhouse - Comic-Con Report

by Richard Keller, posted Jul 25th 2008 1:33AM

Odenkirk, Smigel, Dino and Tommy

If there is one thing I learned during the Comedy Central TV Funhouse panel on Thursday night, it's this: they are not good with computers. For most of the evening panelist Robert Smigel and moderator Bob Odenkirk spent their time fiddling around with the Mac laptop provided to them so they could show clips from the TV Funhouse DVD that was released on Tuesday. After they got that squared away they spent several more minutes setting up an iChat so Funhouse host Doug Dale could join in the conversation. They even needed to ask a member of the audience for their Mac Powerbook in order to set the session up. Obviously, you don't want these guys on your technical support team.

Despite the technical difficulties, the TV Funhouse panel was the highlight of my Thursday at Comic-Con.

The two hour panel began with an introductory speech from none other than Triumph the insult comedy dog, who proceeded to welcome all of the geeks, dweebs, nerds, stalkers, and those who play with live dolls in a naughty way. Comic-Con was their weekend, he exclaimed to the audience. Then, he asked them to all stand up and do one jumping jack. Like lemmings the audience followed. Triumph's goal was to have the audience do one-and-a-half jumping jacks during the Joss Whedon panel.

After that, the panel of Smigel, Dino Stamatopoulos (Morel Orel) and Tommy Blacha (Metalocalypse) came up on stage to talk about Funhouse with Odenkirk asking the questions. Well, at least he tried asking questions. Between the computer issues and Stamatopoulos' despair that Morel Orel is being canceled after this season, there wasn't much continuity to the discussion. But, that's what made the panel so interesting.

Well, the clips from TV Funhouse didn't hurt, either. Cartoons like Wonderman and The Baby, The Immigrant, and the Guy on Mushrooms brought back memories to the audience. Many of the other clips featured the Anipals as well as host of Funhouse Doug Dale. Doug joined the panel via internet connection halfway through the panel and immediately became its focal point. As the panel at the convention discussed various aspects of Funhouse, Dale (who is now a music teacher and should be hired for a show immediately) entertained himself with various hats, puppets and facial expressions.

Right after Doug's appearance came a special appearance by the Anipals, who were there minus hands up their butts. This brought up a funny story, told by Dino, on how he had poop fall into his mouth during a particular puppet scene thanks to an irritable fowl. Mostly, though, it gave Dino and Robert a chance to throw the puppets onto the panel table and smell inside their butts.

There were some tidbits of information that came from the panel, particularly during the Q&A session with the audience. In addition to the news that Orel would not be returning to Adult Swim after the 13 episodes air this season, Tommy Blacha (who was incredibly quiet during the panel) mentioned that Metalocalypse would be returning. In another segment of the panel, Smigel inferred that he may not be returning to Saturday Night Live this season. He mentioned that he was barely on last season, due to budget cuts. He wasn't bitter about this, though. In fact, when an audience member said that everything on SNL was crap except for Smigel's segments, Robert defended the show vehemently saying that their was a ton of talent on the current cast.

Also mentioned was the Conan O'Brien, whom the panelists have all worked with in the past. They all mentioned they were proud of Conan for making it to The Tonight Show next year. Smigel added that Triumph would probably come out to the Tonight Show once in a while, but The Masturbating Bear would probably be left for Jimmy Fallon or Carson daly.

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Paul Baylor

Why was TV FUNHOUSE canceled on Comedy Central? I have wondered this for years.

September 29 2008 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

that panel was as fantastic as it was disjointed! There is something about seeing material like that (Jokamel) with a large group that really creates bigger comic impact (not to mention that the clips were the uncensored versions; not the aired cut-down ones).

Triumph was fantastic (I did one jumping jack).

Too bad it was ONLY two hours.

July 26 2008 at 1:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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