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Giants In Their Field

MTV sketch comedy trio gets a showcase at Paley Center

P:ictured: Rob Huebel, Aziz Ansari and Paul Scheer.

The 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 like this.

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 actual sketches.




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