Funny Or Die Presents: The Complete First Season

Funny Or Die Presents: The Complete First Season
In theory, Funny Or Die Presents should be comedy gold. After all, the Funny Or Die website started by Will Farrell and Adam McKay has produced some rather amusing videos since its inception, and they have had an incredible collection of talent lining up to contribute. But the transition to television hasn't been a smooth one and this first season is a mixed bag. The premise of the show is that Funny Or Die now have their television network, although it looks like the entire thing was recorded back in the '70s. It's introduced by a network executive, Ed Haligan (played by Steve Tom), a humourless continuity announcer who makes cryptic messages about how incredible television is and introduces each episode's sketches. It plays out like The Kentucky Fried Movie, with some recurring sketches scattered throughout the 12 episodes. And there are a number of big names taking part, such as Tim and Eric, Zach Galifianakis, a whole bunch of past and present SNL cast members, and Don Cheadle. Because the show appeared on HBO, pretty much anything goes in the sketches – nudity, bad language and inappropriate subject matter – yet it isn't enough. There are some really good moments though, such as the "Playground Politics" segments where world politics are acted out by small children representing different countries and "Drunk History," where a comedian is given alcohol and then asked to describe a historic event. But the majority of the show is more mildly amusing than hilarious and with almost no quality control, Funny Or Die Presents fails as often as it succeeds – maybe that was the point. The biggest problem is the length of the sketches. Something that isn't working isn't too bad when it only lasts a minute or two, but when it hits the ten-minute mark it can get painful. And when stretched to an entire episode, as is the case with "The Carpet Brothers," there's nowhere to hide – even a Will Farrell appearance can't save it. There is nothing else included in the two-disc set to pad out the dozen episodes, suggesting that absolutely nothing was rejected. It would have been nice to have some of the website's best moments, but that would just have highlighted the show's shortcomings. (Warner)