Our guest judges for the week are Tig Notaro and Seth Morris. Seth has written, performed, and directed many a sketch show at the UCB Theatre, and while Tig isn't a sketch comic herself, her podcast Professor Blastoff includes weekly sketches. Will any submission make these two judges laugh out loud? Listen to find out, and join us tomorrow as we eliminate our fifth competitor!
Episode 6.2 — Sketches: Day 2
Posted 16 August 2011 - 12:27 AM
I loved Bob and Dan's sketch and The Little Dum Dum Club's sketch. I was kinda surprised the judges didn't enjoy them as much as I did. The Aussies are always adorable. Even if the sketch was weak, which I don't think it was, their likability makes up for it and makes it enjoyable. I would have put the Laime girl in the same "enjoyable no matter what" category before this episode, but their sketch just didn't work at all. I'd imagine the bottom 3 will be Totally Laime, The F Plus and The Fort.
Posted 16 August 2011 - 02:34 AM
I know pod-darlings like your Jimmy Pardos and your TJ Millers and your Paul F Tompkinses are usually at the top of podfans' favourite guest lists, and I enjoy them a great deal too, but Tig is the champion of my heart. This is the second time in a week I've heard her guest on a podcast and just be magnificently entertaining start to finish, and I've heard her do the same thing in the past on Wolfpal/Challenge Judge Jesse Thorn's JJGo podcast too. That woman's mind blows my mind.
F+ - I give a solid B+. Nice idea, well performed and produced, great momentum, smartly tied to the usual format and overall a nicely crafted shot of audio fun. For a show which doesn't produce sketches this was a win.
Bob & Dan - Also very fun and a nicely original, left-field idea too. I like these dudes more and more each round. Also B+.
Totally Laime - Awkward faceplant. Fortune has smiled on them in the contest so far but today sees their turn to be a show put to the sword on a round which doesn't play to their normal format I guess. D-.
Left Handed Radio - Batman sketch, A+. Loved it, laughed out loudly, won the round for the third week in a row. Mr Kunk vs The PA, B+. A less original idea but still played smoothly and with sweet timing.
The Fort - Tig's feedback that the idea was solid but the execution wobbled was on the money. I liked the three major beats but too much of what came between them felt flabby. B-. I hear potential there though and they seem to have fallen into the role of plucky underdogs in The Challenge. I just hope they're noting what the judges tell them and what doesn't kill them makes them stronger.
Little Dum Dum Club - As a New Zealander it's impossible for me to find (male) Australians "adorable" but I can't deny that these lads have something solidly entertaining at the heart of their show. Not the tightest sketch of the round but enough of it worked for me to stamp a B on it. I even laughed out loud at the dumb "Today China, tomorrow Asia" joke, damn them.
Bottom three - Little Dum Dum Club, The Fort and Totally Laime. The Dum Dums are on solid enough ground though and the harpoon of elimination will either be fired into the scarred flanks of The Fort for being sketch specialists who hit the target a couple of times but shot wide with others, or the soft underbelly of Totally Laime for trying their darnedest at something outside their wheelhouse but missing the target completely.
Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:36 AM
Left Handed Radio's Batman date was my favorite sketch today.
P.S. Michael Keaton IS Batman. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Why do you think he's been taking less leading man roles in recent years? He's too busy fighting crime, and, apparently, going on dates.
Posted 16 August 2011 - 03:42 AM
I'm poised to enjoy anything Batman related (in spite of DC's recent attempts to turn me off, but we won't get into that), so I suppose it isn't a SPECTACULAR feat that Left Handed Radio accomplished, but holy hell did I enjoy that sketch. Totally solid start to finish, and it wasn't too long. Every beat worked. Great job Left Handed Radio!
Posted 16 August 2011 - 04:17 AM
Honestly I really loved hearing Matt talk about sketches. I would a pod cast that is just Matt Besser analyzing sketches. As a comedy nerd that would be a dream come true. As for the sketches themselves they were all really good. I don't think anyone knocked it out of the park on this one but they were all really original and put together well. For me the bottom 3 were Totally Laime, Bob & Dan and The Fort. All three were good but I think they each lacked something that would pull together as a solid sketch. The Little Dum Dum Club was actually my favorite and I loved the use of the term "sex pest".
Posted 16 August 2011 - 06:11 AM
This week was surprisingly solid. I expected to not love a lot of it, but most hit the mark for me. I liked Left Handed Radio the most as it seems is the general consensus. The bottom would be The Fort for me. Although the delivery seemed to work the idea fell flat for me and was just far from funny. Totally Laime may have had a very weak delivery but at least I chuckled a few times. Also wanted to praise the F+ a bit. Although it wasn't the best sketch, I think they did a good job fitting their podcasts premise into a sketch (although I was kind of hoping for a creepy fetish sketch).
Posted 16 August 2011 - 07:02 AM
I liked F+ and Bob & Dan more than the judges did too. They were both pretty funny. I think B&D deserve an accolade for keeping the sketch short and pointed. I could see it easily fitting in between segments of their show.
I was a little surprised that Matt said they'd have an easier time with the top 2 than the bottom 3 - the bottom 3 seems obvious to me, and the only sketch they seemed to like all that much was Left-Handed Radio.
Totally Laime bungled it, and I was happy that Seth Morris brought up the lost punchline with Elizabeth advertising. I thought the end was going to be a reveal that she was viral marketing through lame come-ons, but instead it didn't really have an end. I still liked a few things and have goodwill for their show.
I think The Fort is done for sure. I found their sketch really uncomfortable and unfunny. Seth's idea for the PI to investigate the wife by courting her was a lot better than a weird sequence of fat and rape jokes.
Posted 16 August 2011 - 08:06 AM
I am enjoying this thoroughly. I am pulling for the Dum Dums at this point, it is the only contender left that I can picture making an effort to listen to regularly. Maybe Summer Heights High/ We Can Be Heroes has me programmed to think Aussie accents are inherently hilarious.
Posted 16 August 2011 - 08:12 AM
I don't know if it's just the cream rising to the top or the remaining podtestants finally getting the hang of this, but this week's crop of entries was very good overall.
It sounded from their intro like The Fort's sketch was specifically chosen from their archive. Is there an emoticon that says "this was not a good choice, maybe?"
Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:03 AM
@Julia... I'm with you. Keaton will always be Batman to me and the first Batman movie was hands down the best.
Left Handed Radio killed me this week. The Batman sketch was hilarious and had me laughing out loud at work ( the ringtone was a great touch ). The follow up sketch was good too I thought. These guys won this week without question.
I wasn't on board with the Little Dum Dum Club at first but they have really grown on me. I think they have the most natural banter of any of the shows and their production on this sketch was OK. The problem for me was that I just didn't think the sketch was that funny. Keep them in the Challenge for sure.
Bob & Dan - Funny sketch. Not my favorite but funny.
F Plus - I like these guys and their show but this week didn't do it for me. For me it wasn't really clear what was happening.
The Fort - I think I liked this sketch more than the judges but could see how some would be offended by it. I think it was funny overall but if they had kept it shorter it may have worked a little better. It was just too long.
Totally Laime - In the beginning I had this show pegged to win but week by week they are losing me a little more. I thought the concept of their sketch was funny and I even thought the gags were funny but the delivery was not so great. I am willing to cut them a little break because this is not what they do but they are gonna have to step it up to keep me on board.
The Earwolf Challenge - I Effin' love this show! Although I am a little disappointed at Matt. I thought he was going to go all rockstar on a chair in a fit of rage but it never happened. Maybe tomorrow....
Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:12 AM
Have to give a nod of appreciation to the F+ for producing a sketch that was consistent, sounded professional and just worked, even if it wasn't the funniest bit of the day. Given their past problems, and the fact that they never do sketches, they really stepped up to the challenge.
Too bad for Totally Laime. Swing and a miss. For me, they're in the bottom 3 with Bob and Dan and The Fort. But, because Laime never does sketches, I think they should be safe. Bob and Dan were actually not that bad, I just liked the other three more. But, damn ... The Fort is a sketch show, and I thought their entry just stunk. I would honestly be shocked if The Fort isn't eliminated tomorrow.
Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:15 AM
Well, this is the first week I didn't totally hate what F+ is doing. It'd be nice if all their work had this level of professionalism. But in the end it still boils down to "making fun of the internet" which is a concept I feel is played out and not that compelling or amusing.
It pained me to hear Totally Laime stumble so hard... so maybe they're not the best "performers" in the challenge, but they're among the best personalities so I'm hoping this challenge doesn't knock them out. Fingers crossed. Still, based on this challenge alone they're the only ones who didn't at least do a decent job.
Posted 16 August 2011 - 09:38 AM
I liked The F Plus' sketch quite a bit (it was probably the best of the non-sketch shows), but I think Seth may have been right on in his criticism when he said that they should have made up their own questions and answers. I don't see the need to preserve the integrity of their podcast by using real, user-generated material here. It's a sketch. When you're doing something so produced, with a written preamble and everything, I think the listener's assumption is that it's all written material. As weird as the real answers are, you may as well stretch out and go completely over the top.
I think I like Bob & Dan more than the judges, which is depressing because I'd like to see them stick around-- maybe even win.
Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:14 AM
The competition aspect of it all got really interesting this week. I think The Fort is done after tomorrow primarily because they have faltered more times than any other podcast that might be in the bottom three. I too would be pretty shocked if anyone else got eliminated, especially F+. They still had some confusion issues with Seth thinking they wrote the answers, but their sketch wasn’t one of the bottom three.
@JW I disagree with the idea that F+ should write more. I think the interesting conceit of their show is that all of these are real peoples’ words. My one criticism of their sketch would be that they should have found more responses that weren’t clearly people trying to be funny. I have a soft spot in my heart for unintentional humor, and I think they are trying to say that they are the best at finding that. Trying to capture the essence of unintentional humor intentionally always leads to awfulness (See: Tapped in the Closet vs its sequel).
Posted 16 August 2011 - 10:31 AM
I was a little trepidatious of this week's sketch challenge but I was mostly impressed with the results.
The F+ was probably the most surprising for me. They usually have problems with audio/production and establishing clear voices, but those weaknesses were shored up this week. I did agree that there should have been more original writing; the Yahoo! Answers premise was great but probably should have been used more as jumping off point to show off their own writing chops.
Bob & Dan Cast - Nice, tight sketch with a specific, interesting premise. More a "heh" chuckle-inducer than a guffaw-sidesplitter, but well-done nonetheless. Only downside was the dialogue was a little muffled/unclear at times.
Totally Laime - oof. I'm really fond of this podcast but this challenge was their worst misstep in the competition thus far. I want to excuse their submission because it's just not what they do, but everybody's saddled with the same challenge and even the other non-sketch podcasts did better, I'm sorry to say. Though sounding cute as ever, Elizabeth sounded like a nervous inexperienced performer, which is weird considering she's done comedy shows and has even done voice work. Also, their production quality was not up to everybody else's standards, which shouldn't be a problem consider "Psychic" Andy's day job is a music producer. Lastly, using the sketch time for an additional intro was a bit off-putting, the transition wasn't smooth. I think instead of a verbal "well here's the sketch!" I think, as cliched as it may be, they could've used an audio drop (harps or whatever) to signal, here's a fantasy sequence/sketch that jumps off of the conversation we were just having.
Left-Handed Radio - deservingly lauded for their submission. This is the first time I've actually thought their stuff was really funny, so it's great timing to prove themselves during the sketch challenge. From premise to writing to performance to production, they nailed it this week.
The Fort - for a sketch show, they just did not show their chops. Delivery was flat, premise was interesting but ultimately went nowhere, writing was not that funny to me. It just didn't hit for me.
LDDC - the dreaded meta sketch! I'm glad we had at least one this week after Matt's hemming and hawing about it. Unfortunately it did not disprove Matt's fears, because I just didn't think it was that funny. However, as with most other commenters except Bucho and his Aussie resentment, I still enjoyed the performance because Tommy and Karl are so likable and have such an easygoing rapport.
I think The Fort, LDDC, and TLP are bottom three. LDDC should be safe. Now, how to judge the loser properly? Does past performance have any weight with the weekly dismissal? The Fort hasn't been strong in any challenge, whereas Totally Laime previously were riding high. Should the fact that The Fort regularly incorporates sketches into their show be a mark against them because they still submitted a bad one? Should TLP's poor performance be mitigated by the fact that their podcast has no sketch component? I hope Totally Laime survives to move on, no offense to The Fort boys.