Monday, November 8, 2010

The Doug Benson Interruption

"I'm not sure whether or not he's funny."

This was my assessment of Doug Benson shortly before watching the premiere of  "The Doug Benson Interruption" Friday night on Comedy Central.  TwoGun felt the same way.

Before watching the show I knew a little bit about Doug Benson, mostly from hearing him as a guest on my favorite podcasts - the Greg Fitzsimmons Experience and the Adam Carolla Podcast.

I knew he was the guy from SuperHigh Me, the spoof on Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me, in which Benson - rather than eating McDonald's for 30 days to prove how bad it is for you - smoked marijuana for 30 days in an effort to prove that its not all that bad for you.

Quite the resume.

I wasn't convinced.  I thought about changing the channel, maybe watching Lockup or Gangland (I know, pretty boring Friday night).

And I was even less convinced when I saw his first guest was Nick Swardson, the unfunny host of "Pretend Time" on the same network.  Swardson has a decent standup special and was funny in Grandma's Boy, but everything I've seen since has been garbage.

Mike and I reconsidered changing the channel.  We were both glad we didn't.

"Doug Benson Interruption" has a unique framework.  The guest comic appears on stage to perform his or her act, while Doug plays the role of an interactive audience member who is seated on the stage, interrupting (thus, the title) whenever he finds something clever to say about some aspect of the guest comic's performance.  The two comics then do improvisational humor, each playing on the other's jokes until the idea runs out of gas or the comic feels like continuing his set.

The result depends on the interaction of the comics, which from what I've seen, has been pretty good.  But it is ultimately Benson who makes the show work.  Benson's laid-back, stoner attitude usually gels well with his comic counterpart, allowing the two to take the conversation in a variety of directions.  The resulting spontaneity is what makes the show funny; the things the comics come up with take the viewer by surprise. 

The biggest problem with "Doug Benson Interruption" is ultimately its timeslot.  Friday at midnight isn't the greatest time to reach the audience the show is intended for (we're at the bar, Comedy Central).  However, until the show gets moved to a more convenient night, I would recommend giving it a spot in your DVR.

And oh yeah, I forgot:

Doug Benson is funny.