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Starting this week, the Vice brand is continuing its steady creep toward world domination with the launch of six original shows on something called Viceland. THR television critics Tim Goodman and Daniel Fienberg watched the six shows and weigh in here on whether they work or not — after trying to figure out a more pressing question…
I also wasn’t sure whether or not Viceland was presenting Flophouse as the rock-bottom starting spot for wannabe comics, who struggle to make a living in a ruthless business. If so, that makes it marginally more interesting as a travelogue of the profession, as a mini-doc on the travails of making it. But even then, there still was an utter lack of actual humor or inventiveness in this bunch, which made the whole thing feel sad, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t the intention. I’d watch a half-hour on new comics struggling to perfect their craft, tripping around from club to club in Los Angeles. But if Flophouse is going to focus on this one house and the comics who stop by because they saw a lighting rig spark up and thus a chance for some stage time — and I’m going to get more of this same level of unfunny — then forget it.
Fienberg: Well, it is called Flophouse, so maybe this is verging on a meta-text about the difficulties and challenges of stand-up? Like back in the day we had Evening at the Improv and other stand-up showcase specials that found up-and-coming comics deep into the audience vetting process, but that’s too polished for the Viceland ethos? There are maybe a half-dozen young comics featured in Flophouse and I think I laughed at one piece of smart, refined material, but mostly I was thinking the show could be retitled F*ck, That’s Not Funny. But maybe that’s the point? This is the bottom rung and not all of these people are going to make it, and by watching these people flail, maybe you appreciate the process that brought us a Patton Oswalt or a Hannibal Buress even more? But I agree completely that this would be more interesting if, in addition to the awful garage stand-up and the slightly horrible glimpses into the squalor of this house, we saw how these fledgling comics are nurturing each other, how they’re paying any sort of rent at all, how many open-mic nights they go to in a weekend, etc. Give me more sociology, give me less unrefined amateur comedy material.
Oh, and when you call Flophouse “the least funny half hour” you’ve had to endure, that’s because you didn’t have to watch the Fuller House premiere.
And I’m right there with you on F*ck, That’s Delicious. Action Bronson is an enthusiast, and he doesn’t pretend to be anything other than that and when this show is at its best, Action and buddies Alchemist, Big Body Bes and Meyhem Lauren are like the cast of Entourage (only you actually might want to spend time with them). Unlike you, I’m a foodie who enjoys a good meal and will also happily watch a Top Chef or anything on Food Network, so I might have liked just a bit more food, because the eating is only part of F*ck, That’s Delicious. When Action and his buddies are smoking weed and ramping at a bike park, I was much less engaged. Give me concert footage and restaurant visits and this is a show I could come back to if I ever figure out where Viceland is on my dial.
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