Dog Bites Man
If you've missed out on Galifianakis' more recent outings, you may remember him from the short-lived VH1 talk show Late World with Zach.
If you haven't seen Galifianakis live, you're in for some of the most experimental stand-up to hit the stage since Andy Kaufman took Carnegie Hall out for milk and cookies.
Ever since getting a Tivo a little over a year ago, I no longer watch TV shows when they actually air. When I'm not catching up with what's on my recorder, I'm either reading, listening to podcasts, or pounding out a blog post about what I'm watching on television. The big deletion from my Tivo Season Pass this year is House. I still admire the show, but for me the magic is gone. The season opener sat on my Tivo for quite a few days, unwatched. When I finally sat down to view it I realized, about fifteen minutes into it, that I had completely lost interest in it. I didn't even finish the episode, and took it off my Tivo for good. Perhaps my attitude will change in the coming weeks, but who knows? Anyway, some of these shows are winding down their current seasons, some have yet to air. All times are Central because I live in Minnesota.
(S01E09) In this episode, the KHBX news team are given a timeslot early Sunday mornings to do whatever they want, so they decide to create a daytime talk show for reporter Kevin Beekin. Before all of that, however, they shoot a segment outdoors with a roadside clean up crew. Since the garbage on the road isn't "reading" on the cameras very well, they actually take garbage out of their van and throw it on the side of the road, much to the consternation of the woman in charge of the clean up.
There first plan of action concerning the new talk show is to discuss some ideas with a PR person. They mention things like interviewing John McCain while Kevin is sitting on an elephant, and Alan gets the idea to actually pull pranks on animals, such as putting kittens inside of a dog house.
(S01E08) In this episode the KHBX news team finds out they might all be fired due to budget cuts. As Tillie tells her co-workers in the opening scene, it's either going to be them or the Doppler radar, and the Doppler is pretty popular.
Since everyone is convinced their days are numbered, they each being to look into different jobs. Alan the director decides to get into the business of directing Korean karaoke videos, which seems like a natural career move since his mother was bisexual. When Tillie corrects him and says he actually meant "bilingual" he explains that his mother's lover was actually Korean.
Marty, on the other hand, decides to try stand-up comedy, and in what manages to be both the funniest and least funniest scene he tries his act out at a comedy club where an agent is in attendance, and bombs horribly. Of course, A.D Miles, who plays Marty, is bombing on purpose, and it's funny to watch the agent try to explain to him why she won't take him on as a client.
(S01E07) This episode was taped in Portland, though I'm not sure it was the same episode that got them in trouble earlier this year.
Anyway, the episode had a lot of funny moments, but making fun of religion, any religion, is like shooting fish in a barrel. I really wanted to see them take more risks and do something more clever than just making a lot of Jew/pork jokes. Although I will admit I laughed pretty hard when Marty asked Tillie (who admitted to being one quarter Jewish) if Jewish people can pull their hamstring.
(S01E06) The very fact that you were willing to set a monkey on fire for us, that means a lot. - Kevin Beekin
This episode begins with the team talking to an image consultant about making Kevin look better when he's on camera. It seems most viewers don't find him very attractive and one even sent an e-mail saying his skin was so pock marked it looked like a Band-Aid. The consultant, like everyone else on the show, has no idea the news team is really a bunch of comedians, but she does manage to maintain her cool even when Marty tells her everything she's saying is wrong.
Tillie gets a call during the meeting about a girl who has been kidnapped in Florida, and the team begin to cheer and high five each other since this could be a story that gets them national exposure. It's also good news that she's a young, pretty white girl and not some Mexican grandfather, because no one tunes into the news for that sort of thing. Marty adds that the girl must be either found or killed before a certain date if it's to work into Kevin's schedule. It's a funny scene made even funnier by the fact that there's a woman in the room who has no idea it's all a gag.
Alan: Knock knock.
Marty: Who's there?
Marty: Me, who?
Alan: "Me Who" was the village my uncle died in, in Vietnam.
(Marty laughs, Alan looks angry)
Marty: Well, you said it was a joke.
Alan: I forgot that it wasn't.
Perhaps it was because the cast and crew of Dog Bites Man ruffled some feathers recently with their particular brand of guerrilla improv, but last night's episode actually had a disclaimer at the beginning explaining that anyone in the episode who was not a part of the KHBX Newsteam were just regular folk who were unaware they were being taped as part of a comedy show.
Marty: I saw a black Republican finally.
Kevin: No way! Did you make a wish?
Before the Daily Show was around and started doing its "Indecision 2000" (or whatever year it happened to be), Comedy Central used the same title for election year specials where they would send comedians out on the floor of both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions to "interview" politicians and pundits and generally just kid around. I recall one moment when a comedian yelled from a balcony down to Barbara Bush asking her to tell the viewers a knock knock joke. The whole thing was a gag, and most people knew that and played along.
(S01E03) This episode was mostly hilarious with a few moments that didn't quite click. The KHBX newsteam decides to head down to Panama City, Florida to expose the excesses and debauchery of spring break, but soon find themselves getting caught up in the festivities themselves, especially Tillie, who enters a wet T-shirt contest and announces to a crowd of drunken screaming college students that she just refinanced her house, bitches.
Dog Bites Man humor comes from the comedians playing it straight in order to trick regular people into interviews and then saying incredibly bizarre things. Reporter Kevin Beekin (Matt Walsh) first interviews a resident of Panama City and tells her about a new game the kids take part in called "shark jacking" which involves tying meat to their ankles to lure a shark and then holding the shark down while someone else masturbates it. Beekin's disgust with this activity isn't so much that it's dangerous, but that it's rude for the shark to bite someone after such a kind act: "That's literally biting the hand that jacks you off." Later on, Beekin tries to get in good with the kids by telling them about a young rocker named Kurt Cobain who was once the lead singer of the Spin Doctors and took his own life. Of course, none of the kids know what the hell is going on, and most of them are drunk, which doesn't seem to make for the best improvised moments. A clear-headed and sober person will listen to the insane things coming from the mouths of these comedians and try to find some kind of reason in it, as they have no idea they're being pranked. Drunk kids, however, are just drunk kids, so there reaction is simply to mumble incoherently and yell, which can be kind of amusing, but as comedy it doesn't quite work.
(S01E02) I'm a homosexual and I'd love a sandwich. - Kevin Beekin
This episode took several hilarious satirical jabs at misconceptions about gay people, the most revealing (and uncomfortable) scene being where they interview an actual gay person and keep telling him to end his sentences with "girlfriend" so he'll appear more gay than he seems. If you miss the guerrilla improv of Upright Citizens Brigade, Dog Bites Man is probably your kind of show. This episode begins with the KHBX News team taking part in a racial sensitivity seminar where they talk about their experiences working with people of different races and backgrounds, including Tilly's dream about a black man which she wasn't sure was racist or not because while he was well-endowed, he was also president of Harvard Law School. They also mention a gay man in a wheelchair who used to work for them and who insisted everyone call him "Rolaids." Alan, the director, misses the point of the seminar entirely and brings an electric razor with him, thinking it's actually about "facial" sensitivity.
Kevin Beekin (interviewing a bodybuilder at Gold's Gym): Statistics have shown that high percentage of bodybuilders are bisexual.
Bodybuilder: I've heard that, yeah.
Beekin: Most bodybuilders are bisexual, which you just agreed to. What do you spend most of your time doing?
Bodybuilder: First of all, I didn't agree that most bodybuilders are bisexual. I've heard through the grapevine, and the world --
Beekin: Is the "Grapevine" the name of a gay bar?
Comedy Central's new improv series, Dog Bites Man, premiered last night. While it's comparable to Reno 911! in it's use of improv, there is one significant difference. Rather than having comedians riff off one another, the "KHBX news team" actually goes out among regular people, leading to some hilarious moments like the one above.
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