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92Y Tribeca's latest theme show, "News Distillery" thrives on its games and banter.

The “News Distillery,” seen July 29 at the 92Y Tribeca, is a playful show that is at its best when the banter between its hosts and panelists heats up.

The show is built around brief games that use news items as fodder, like one requiring participants to identify news photos from just the tiniest of segments, and another asking them to connect news events, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”-style.

On this edition, the responses in the games and the chat during them drew the most laughs when guest Randy Cohen, the New York Times’ “Ethicist” columnist and former Letterman writer, joined the panel. Cohen had a lot of fun with a video segment, riffing on the suggestive ad for “Shake” weights.

“Now you have to look like that [to masturbate]?” Cohen says, reacting to the improbably built models pumping the weights in the ad.

Some segments were more geared to yielding funny jokes than others, like “The Pitch,” asking the comics to pitch hypothetical movies based on certain news stories, or “Pep Talk,” which asked the comics to riff on a news story they would try to cheer up, and how.

Stand-up comedian Dean Obeidallah, joined on the panel by colleagues Allison Rosen and Gideon Evans, proved the liveliest at engaging with host Brian Donovan (another stand-up) and Cohen. The comics and Cohen were the contestants in this edition, the third held at the venue. Obeidallah had a lot of fun mocking Donovan’s arbitrary scoring system for determining a winner in the game show.

“News Distillery” ran about an hour this night, closed by its regular feature, “News Haiku,” in which the comics  and guests deliver their own haikus on news items – haikus from past shows were seen on slides before the show began. It’s this segment that sums up the spirit of the show. Take this one, for example, from Evans, about “Jersey Shore”: “Miss Snooki is back/Minus her hair poofy thing/But she’s still trashy.”



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