Giants In Their Field
MTV sketch comedy trio gets a showcase at Paley
Rob Huebel, Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer.
UCB-spawned sketch comedy trio, Human Giant, reaped the benefit of the
Paley Center’s sustained effort to reach out to younger viewers, getting
their own showcase at its New York location April 1 close on the heels
of last fall’s program there featuring the Upright Citizens Brigade
itself (reviewed November 7, 2007).
Wisely, Human Giant (Paul Scheer, Aziz Ansari and Rob Heubel) wreaked
havoc with the typical format for these affairs, opening with a live
performance as the “T-Shirt Squad,” a sketch from their show in which
they do battle armed with t-shirt cannons like you might see at the
ballpark or an arena. The moderator, simpatico comedian Eugene Mirman,
didn’t so much moderate as play along like a fourth member of the group.
And Human Giant also planted some fellow performers in character in the
audience, enlivening the Q&A following their presentation of highlight
clips and discussion of the making of their series, which has had two
seasons on MTV so far, after first appearing in prototype form as web
shorts. Namely, Jackie Clarke (see August
9, 2007 review of her “Obsessed” show), self-identified as “Pam
Queefer,” played an incensed decency advocate criticizing Human Giant’s
material., along with another performer as a failed auditioner for a
role on the show, helped the program steer clear of the deadly
praise-disguised-as-a-question phenomenon that can occur at programs
Lastly, cohort Jon Glaser appeared in character as a “writer” for the
show who pitched them the worst jokes and bits possible, adding to the
group’s projection of its own reality into the program.
The trio were very generous with clips from their show over the course
of the 90-minute program, even including some outtakes and
as-yet-unaired sketches, “Pinata” and “Thunderblast,” both of which
effectively mined the element of surprise. And a couple of their tales
about making the show, such as crazy extras and unintentional male
nudity during filming, proved just as entertaining as Human Giant’s