When people ask me what my favourite comedy on Television is, I normally fumble around with a few options and normally come to Louie as my final answer. Though Louie is my favourite comedy on TV, Archer might be the most watchable comedy on TV. This really richly animated show about a group of secret agents is one of the most off colour shows on TV, but over almost four seasons now we have seen some serious character development that you normally would not get from the best network sitcom. Adam Reed, the show’s creator, has managed to make us care not just for the titular Sterling Archer(Voiced by H John Benjamin) but also many of the peripheral characters who from time to time are highlighted and made the centrepiece of an episode or two. Though the first season is really fun, the second and third seasons really step up the comedy and that grew character development. Voiced by veteran funny people, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler, and Jessica Walter, as well as guest appearances by Burt Reynolds, Jeffery Tambor, David Cross, Patrick Warburton, Clarke Peters and Bryan Cranston this show carries much more star power than you would expect for a cable animation show. The story of the show itself is about a group of secret agents who all must work with the best/worst spy in the world, Sterling Archer and his over bearing mother who runs the private spy company. This of course leads to much hijinx, toilet humour, running gags which go for as long as the writers can integrate them into the plot and of course the uncommonly funny voice acting of the great H. John Benjamin(Home Movies, Bob’s Burgers, John Benjamin has a Van). Check out this piece of great comedy on FX.
Podcasts: Dining With Doug and Karen
Sometimes you need to listen to a podcast about someone eating an amazing meal. Normally this wouldn’t be something I would like, but Doug Benson really can do no wrong. The man known for being the biggest stoner in comedy now gets to cure his munchies and talk to chefs about food, and whatever his mind drifts to. Karen Anderson is his partner who grounds the podcast in reality while Doug usually meanders into comedic gold. Whether it’s eating vegetarian with guest Sarah Silverman or Pete Holmes overtly hitting on MasterChef finalist Becky Reams this show really does well to keep the funny up while also giving the listener a relaxing setting. There is kind of a sedate NPR vibe that really works with Doug’s delivery and Karen seems to really do well as the straight woman. If you are a foodie, and a lover of comedy give Dining with Doug and Karen a try.
Movies: God Bless America
As a kid nothing cracked me up more than Bobcat Goldthwait in Police Academy, nobody was crazier than Bobcat. He was a madcap character who said dirty things but didn’t make much sense. I found him again, playing himself as a loveable self destructive sad sack on The Larry Sanders Show. Now Bob Goldthwait is a writer and director who is making some of the best dark comedies I’ve seen in years. God Bless America, his latest effort behind the camera, may be his best. God Bless America plays like a manifesto written by a mass murderer, part revenge fantasy, part social satire and part buddy road movie, it does well at blazing a trail of destruction and laughs across the phoney and needlessly mean American media landscape. God Bless America is interesting. The protagonist, Frank (played by Joel Murray) is a terminally ill man who wants to leave his mark on America by ridding it of those he deems repellant. He is joined by Roxy, a disturbed teen with a hatred for most people and most notably high fives. Together they go on a road trip that ends at the Versace mansion.* I am not going to give away more plot, just find this movie On Demand and enjoy it. It’s really funny if you have a dark comic sensibility.
Books: The Extra Man by Jonathan Ames
I usually do a twitter account but I decided to talk about a novel I just finished by Bored To Death creator Johnathan Ames. It’s a book from a few years ago called The Extra Man. I don’t want to give away much, but if you like jokes about accidental cross dressing, male prostitution, love, and friendship I endorse you reading The Extra Man. I later learned there was a movie released based on this book but I have yet to see it, however the casting doesn’t make any sense to me and it seems a little lacking based on the trailer. But either way read this book, it’s a really well paced, funny, quick read.
*Not really, but that would have been a great alternate ending.