Gather around and let me tell y’all the tale of Benjamin
Stiller and his short-lived sketch comedy struggles. Seems I
remembers way back in, oh musta been 1992, Benny and his rag-tag
bunch of comedy misfits tried to bring the folks at FOX a Gen-X
brand of funny. They were brilliant. They were hilarious. They were
cancelled faster than “Veronica’s Closet.”

Kate Green

The party line of comedy nerds has been that “The Ben
Stiller Show” was a lost gem, a cutting-edge show exploding
with fresh talent so powerful that it spooked the network suits
into canceling out of fear. With Andy Dick, Janeane Garofalo and
Bob Odenkirk rounding out the cast, not to mention David Cross and
Dino Stamatopoulos later of “Mr. Show” helping out with
writing duties, how could the series have been anything short of
classic?

Oh man. Watching the new released “Complete First
Season” is simply disappointing, seeing how badly some of the
sketches have aged. Relying nearly completely on parodies, you
can’t help thinking more of “MAD TV” than Monty
Python. The ideas are funny: an Amish dating show, U2 playing at a
bar mitzvah or the cultish cannibalistic theme restaurant, T.J.
O’Pootertoot.

Obviously still developing, the linking segments with Stiller
talking directly to camera are painfully unnecessary and too many
sketches either go on for too long or are stifling Stiller-centric.
The “Zoolander” star overbearingly dominates over his
incredible cast, indulging in vanity sketches to show off his
narrow range of impressions. Imagine upstaging Andy Dick!

It’s a shame the show wasn’t given more of a chance
to find its legs, but the cancellation of “The Ben Stiller
Show” wasn’t the tragedy it’s been made to out
have been. Luckily Stiller has had his film career, Garofalo
survived SNL and Odenkirk and Cross teamed up to make the great
“Mr. Show.” Oh, and Andy Dick, well at least he had his
drugs. See, something for everybody.

Show: 3 stars

Picture/Sound: 3 stars

Features: 2 1/2 stars

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *