Comedy review by a semi-unprofessional comedian: “You’re Whole”

Sup Ya’ll. PianoFight producer and stalwart Ray Hobbs here. I’m introducing a new recurring blog that I hope to publish more than twice a month. I will be delving into awesome (and often new) comedic products with a critical eye. A friend told me I should title it ‘Up My Own Butt: A Comedian’s Introspective Guide to Comedy.’ I may go with that on future iterations.
So, first up!
Michael Ian Black’s “You’re Whole” is a tidbit of Genius

Black’s new ‘concept’ show on Adult Swim hits a comedy sweet spot for me: complicated heady premise mixed with low brow cheap shots. Try not laughing when he says “Let’s go deeper into ‘You’re Whole,’” and try not being tickled by the ingenious totality of the experience.

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Again, maybe it’s not so much the originality of the concept (David Cross’ ‘Paid Programming‘ was the same idea, but never made it past the pilot for somewhat hilarious reasons), but its totality. This is a comedy whose format is not sitcom, or mockumentary, but the infomercial; it airs at 4 am (in competition with other informercials), and from start to finish is trying to sell you a product.

You can read a pretty decent write up about the show here, but I think Slate.com’s overly gushy review is a bit too nice, and does a disservice to those of us who appreciate Michael Ian Black’s work, but also like to maintain a critical eye. So let’s talk about some things I didn’t totally like about it. First and foremost, the show’s campiness and absurd moments (like his overly terrible original self-help songs) bring it away from a certain ‘is this real?’ precipice that David Cross’ show was daring to plunge off. (They wanted to use non-professional actors, advertise a series of products, run no credits, and sandwich it between other infomercials. I doubt I would know it was fake for the first 10 minutes, and it was impossible to monetize.) And in a way, I wish ‘You’re Whole’ would go closer to this edge, and dial back some of its more overt jokes, which can seem self-indulgent in a ‘this is funny because I am being very silly’ way. If some of these gags were more subtle (read: believable), we might be able to partially empathize with Black’s character, and in turn, that hilarious dramatic irony would be cranked up. But in its current iteration, we hate and laugh at the entire presentation. I can’t help but wonder, for instance, if in those terrible songs he had a two piece backing band, if he was singing a little less off key, if some of those lyrics were a little more coherent, would he get more bang for his buck on the apocalyptically absurd moments which do actual, thoughtful critique (such as the end of the first episode where he is beaten by a studio audience he has riled-up into an out of control riot)? Nonetheless, if 1st episodes in comedies are often the least satisfying, then this show is off to a promising start. And again, the concept alone feels so new and unique that it’s enough to keep me watching.

Next week!: I review Book of Mormon, and am not worthy.

Posted December 3, 2012 at 11:45 pm

One Response to “Comedy review by a semi-unprofessional comedian: “You’re Whole””

  1. Boyd Says:

    “Day 7 is your toilet day.” haha! Nice and ambiguous.

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