Know Your Web Series: The Michael Showalter Showalter
Written by Bwog Staff
Internet Television Critic Rob Trump returns after a brief sojourn from Bwog’s series on web series.
Well, I’m back, after a few weeks hiatus of just basically forgetting to write this and nobody noticing. I promised several weeks ago that I would review the other major CollegeHumor webseries, The Michael Showalter Showalter, so that is on the docket now.
The Michael Showalter Showalter, is, like The Jeannie Tate Show, a sketch-like riff on talk shows, where the central joke is how unlikable and terrible the talk show host actually is. In Showalter, the titular’s host self-parodic character isn’t mugging and self-satisfied like Tate, but instead passive-aggressive and cruel. And instead of a minivan, Showalter takes place in a studio, where half the footage is of the actual interview taking place, and the other half is filmed by “behind the scenes” cameras that usually highlight the “real-life” tension between Showalter and his guests.
The guests, by the way, are straight from the A-list of hip comedy, with episodes featuring Showalter’s The State/Stella-mates Michael Ian Black and David Wain as well ones with guests Paul Rudd, David Cross, Andy Samberg, and Michael Cera, among others. Showalter takes a slightly different tack with each guest, like needling Black about his VH1 appearances and Sierra Mist commercials, or confusing Samberg with Adam Sandler, or demanding that Cera sign loads of merchandise for him. They’re all variants on “Michael Showalter is a jerk,” but hey, jerks are funny, and every episode so far has gotten at least one laugh out of me.
The somewhat repetitive progression of each episode — Showalter’s guests get madder and madder until they inevitably hit their breaking point and flip out in one way or another- -m akes it a little hard to watch more than a few episodes in a row without the schtick getting tired, but spread them out a little, and they’re all worth watching. This goes double if you’re a fan of Showalter’s other work or a fan of asshole-comedy in general. (I am, to both.) Try my favorite episode, with Black, to see if you’ll enjoy the series: