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Voters Kill (Or Make) The Video Stars

Homegrown video series Channel 101 debuts in 92Y Tribeca's growing comedy offerings.

Checking out the long-running “Channel 101” series of homegrown brief video comedy series pilots, in its new home at 92Y Tribeca (whose comedy programmer has also brought in the Iron Mule film series -- see 2/9/09 review), one would say about half of the nine pieces show really worked well, and the others really felt sort of flat or lacking, or otherwise clearly fell short of their mark.

But this series is built around audience votes, deciding which pieces get to come back with another episode each month, and which get cancelled, and the audience this time differed in some cases with what this critic favored. While “Sandwich of Terror,” “Lab Partners” and “Roommates” survived the audience’s cut, “The Oddest Couple” and “Runaway Teen,” both very worthy entries, were declined.

In this opinion, the other ones advanced, “Vamps” and “The Nice Brothers,” fell short of those, although from the response “Nice Brothers” got during the screening it was pretty obvious it would get passed. Featuring the writing and performing of Trevor Williams and Adam Newman, this short seemed a little too inside-joke-oriented, and must have had a lot of followers of their inside jokes packing the house. Similarly, “Requiem For a Donnie,” which was rejected, really only worked if you were familiar with the subject of its parody, the movie “Requiem for a Dream.”

“The Oddest Couple” had a great premise, well executed -- Jesus and the Devil’s daughter as roommates, fretting because they inadvertently invited their parents over at the same time and are worried about them confronting each other. “Runaway Teen” had a sense of parodying sitcoms or afterschool specials, or both, in it. And “Lab Partners,” which paired a nerdy scientist with a Kurt Russell-like TV action star got a lot of mileage out of the co-star’s ribbing of his partner in hosting a children’s science show.

It’s hard to tell from just one edition of Channel 101, how much of its material may be above the bar for quality, and how much below it, but attending its monthly event can give you a better sense of responses beyond just what is available through the program’s website.

To view “The Oddest Couple,” “Runaway Teen” or any of the aforementioned winning or losing series, click on the links or go to 



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