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michael ian black comedy central special very famous

Snark week: The jagged teeth of comedy attack

Being the ever so “with it” girl that I am, I’m reading nothing but jokes and articles about Shark week. It’s “trending”, whatever that is supposed to mean. Yikes, another thing I’ll catch up to late, when no one cares anymore. I’ll record Discovery Channel and then watch it 6 months from now, proclaiming my undying excitement for these murderous beasts (as they’re projected on DC), only to realize no one gives a shit, they’re on to Cat week, or whatever bored, lonely people watch to escape reality. I, unlike Shark weekers, enjoy facing reality, going beyond it, laughing at it, sometimes crying because of it, but mostly I choose to get in the ring and box with it. Nothing drags you kicking and screaming into harsh realities like comedy, and therefore, Michael Ian Black and I declare this week SNARK WEEK!

SOOOOO, this summer has been pure comedic inspiration, much like my life, but the combination of like-minded friends, strange events and coincidences and the programming on Comedy Central have all led to this beautiful week. I love and need to laugh, almost has much as I need and love to eat, and I’ve written about shows and stand-up that has inspired me, but what has blown me away consistently this summer is how much comedy has evolved, be it stand-up, sitcom, or sketch. I love it all and I’d like to take you through some must see TV if you’re hankering for some ab work.

First: Tosh.0 This is an obvious choice for many reasons and probably is disappointing to readers because Tosh has a major following now and has been collecting hoards of fans for the past 6-7 years. I’d just like to suggest you revisit True Stories I Made Up, Completely Serious and Happy Thoughts. All are irreverent, hilarious and true, the 3 ingredients in successful comedy. But his show has also evolved well and not being one to stare at YouTube all day, I was skeptical when I heard about the show’s premise a few years ago. After the first episode, though, I was hooked, and I believe it’s only gotten better. Daniel not only has a staff of writers rivaling that of someone from H.B.O., but he pushes the envelope, makes you face reality and in strange ways is making the world more open and honest. He most likely has tons of frat boy, likely to be a tad homophobic fans, and instead of answering the rumors of him being gay or even avoiding the topic, he boldly takes it on through skits in the show only adding fuel to that fire. By doing this, he’s cleverly making everyone face their discomfort and ultimately forget the rumor and why they cared in the first place. There are videos and jokes on every stereotype pervasive in this country and by broaching these topics with truth and wit, he draws in fans of all colors, sexes, and sexualities. It’s still a bit gruesome for someone like my grandmother, but our parents’ generation is watching and that says something.

The Daily Show and the Colbert Report Another obvious choice, but it’s 100% necessary. The news these days nauseates me, leaves me feeling helpless and bitter. With humor, there’s hope. Jon and Steven are brilliant men and comedians, couple that with Harvard level writing and their team of cohorts and you’ve got the most informative and entertaining half hours in TV. I wouldn’t dare go head to head against either of them. Comedians often come across silly and childish but I’ve watched both of these men put the likes of Fox News and MSNBC in a baby carriage. The rally to restore sanity made so much damn sense and that’s precisely what they’re each providing, in their satirical manner, Monday through Thursday @ 11/10 central. No matter your political or religious affiliation, if you’re not identified by your own opinions and are intelligent enough to hear both sides of an argument, and laugh at our decade-long pathetic government, these men will give you the news without the hangover.

Workaholics! Holy f*ckin sh*t balls!! That needed to be said, you’re welcome for the bullshit asterisks. I can’t even coherently describe this show. All I can say is it’s genius level comedy on Tuesday nights after Tosh. It surrounds three guys: One giant Conan-like Ginger who thinks he can rap, one short, stocky, cheeky guy, and my favorite, one guy with long, über curly hair. There is no linear plot. Much like It’s Always Sunny (a genius show as well, in particular the first few seasons), it always surrounds the same guys, and their workplace, but the plots differ each week and typically involve something other than work. It’s random, silly, but balls to the wall clever, unique humor. I’m mad I missed the first few episodes but happy I came around to it eventually, as I always do.

Jon Benjamin has a Van

I’m in love with a 5’6”, balding, middle-aged, white dude named Jon Benjamin. I’ve been familiar with him over the years, he’s a part of a New York comedy scene where you tend to hear the same names. Early on, he interned with Conan, stripping away at his dignity as he donned stupid costumes and spoke very little lines. Despite that he’s always had a reputation as an innovative and intelligent comic. My brother and I were watching this show recently and we both remarked it seemed like comedy from the future. The show takes sketch a different direction, but in a smart, UCB (Upright Citizens Brigade, come on people!) direction, less of a Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time arena (I love Nick but the show disappointed me, unfortunately.) Jon has a team, and a Van, of course, and the episodes each center around what the team is pursuing that week, but peppered in are various skits that are totally random and completely hilarious. I laugh until it hurts so much while watching this show, I cannot get enough. Jon is such a genius that I’ve developed a strange crush, which as recurring in my life. I have a fetish for funny, you make me laugh, the hard work is compete. 3 sheets. That’s why if you’re someone like Anthony Jeselnik, ungodly attractive and soul-crushingly funny then look out, I’m coming for you. Check out JB has a V (and explore filling in that acronym in creative ways!), don’t let it be another genius show Comedy Central cans (see: Michael and Michael have Issues, Reality Bites Back, and the Sarah Silverman Program).

While Comedy Central has disappointed me in the past (Chappelle Show, censorship issues, taking up air time with sub-par movies), I’ve come to rely on this little cable channel for my release at the end of the day. I can name a few other shows you should watch too (Children’s Hospital, Eagle Heart, Louie, Wilfred, & Squidbillies) but my focus is on the network and for those of us to take a break from watching Great Whites chomp on some seal meat and mosey on over to Comedy Central for some Grade-A Snark Attacks, all leading into Michael Ian Black’s stand-up special, Very Famous, on Saturday. I’ve seen him live, I’ve watched him for almost a decade on various shows. He’s a true artist, an innovative mind with impeccable delivery. He deserves even more success than he’s received, as do most comics on Comedy Central. Support them.

In creating a comedy collection for a friend in need I realized the “things” I valued most in my home was right there in that binder of plastic. The quirky mixture of old and new films, TV shows, sketch shows and stand-up specials was my proudest accomplishment. My hard work had earned me some epic entertainment, memorable meals and beautiful bonds.

Comedy is art. Art is an act of courage. Support the courageous. Share a laugh. Enjoy.