PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Reviews

Human Giant: Season 1

James Greene, Jr.

This show meets all my criteria for good humor, and it’s a welcome relief from all the wishy-washy, pussy-footing comedy that’s been grazing at my doorstep, lately.


Human Giant

Distributor: MTV
Cast: Rob Heubel, Paul Scheer, Aziz Ansari
Network: MTV
First date: 2007
US Release Date: 2008-04-03
Amazon

If I’ve learned anything during my near 30-year ride on this broken roller coaster we call life, it’s that the art of comedy is subjective. One man’s Adam Sandler is another's Buster Keaton. Show a Marx Brothers film to any average American and they’re liable to say, “Cute, but it’s no Henny Youngman.” Proclaim on a busy street corner that Strange Brew was the apex of humor in the 20th century and someone will surely come back at you with a few choice words concerning Pee Wee Herman.

People are fickle, I guess is my point, and I am no different. My comedy must have a certain voice, one of a cool older brother who does not constantly harangue me about my choice in girlfriends or music. It must be absurd, unafraid to wear all manner of garish outfits, and introduce bizarre new phrases into my lexicon. Above all, my comedy must be commanding, feature gratuitous violence, and have a cool theme song. Human Giant meets all the aforementioned criteria, and it’s a welcome relief from all the wishy-washy, pussy-footing comedy that’s been grazing at my doorstep lately.

Funnymen Rob Huebel, Paul Scheer, and Aziz Ansari have given Generation Y its first truly great sketch comedy show, a comedy blitz so electric that they didn’t have to go looking for a television home -- television came to them. MTV, whose general programming makes its very name the height of absurdity, caught wind of Human Giant via the Internet and immediately snatched the trio up before Comedy Central or Spike TV had a chance to blink. This was mutually beneficial to both parties: Human Giant would now receive more widespread exposure on the most basic of cable channels, and MTV could finally prove that not every decision it makes is based on the perceived thought process of vapid, fashion-obsessed 14-year-old girls.

What makes Human Giant work so well is the troupe’s willingness to go for broke, to take each silly idea as far as they can until it simply can’t get any funnier. Take “Sea Land Psycho”, in which Heubel plays a man convinced his girlfriend is cheating on him with a whale. So angry is he that at one point the scorned lover orders a couple of fillet o’ fish sandwiches from a local restaurant just to mercilessly pound them with his fist in the parking lot.

Another fine example is that of Clell Tickle, the independent music marketing guru played by Ansari who uses intimidation and violence to break his bands. Mild at first, but the skit really heats up when we get an in-depth look at Hambone, the muscle Tickle enlists to insure his clients’ success. Hambone is an ultimate fighting champion and convicted child arsonist.

“That’s right,” Heubel’s straight talking FBI character says. “He lights kids on fire.”

Huebel is the latent star of Human Giant, a performer whose young, raw take on the Odenkirkian style has already established him outside of this hilarious series (moviegoers know Rob as “Inconsiderate Cell Phone Guy”; couch potatoes might recall him as “Candidate Zero” from a 2004 NetZero ad campaign). Sketch comedy is where the Hueb really shines, though, mostly as average joe-types with a considerable amount of crazy bubbling below the surface. Witness his manipulative character in the semi-disturbing “Corn Maze” skit and your nightmares will be filled with visions of the South Carolinian’s piercing gaze.

I don’t mean to diminish the expert work of Scheer and Ansari, though. Both are excellent at playing dopey idiots and slimy business people, respectively. Both have excellent comic timing and are able to carry seemingly empty ideas to fruition. I have a specific soft spot for Scheer’s haughty French blogger from the Clell Tickle skits who, after being prompted as to why he didn’t post a particular MP3 on his blog, bitchily states, “I didn’t taste it.” Part of the appeal is the ridiculously large mustache Scheer sports, adding a sideways-placed ball cap for further accent.

In addition to the entire first season, this Human Giant DVD is loaded with enough extras to satiate the entire range of yuk fanatics. One to two commentary tracks for each episode, crazy deleted scenes, highlights from your MTV marathon (including Cracked Out’s incredible performance of their hit “Mad Bennigan’s”), and a Season 2 preview. It’s off-the-charts hilarity and I challenge anyone to watch even a minute of it and not be at least slightly amused.

One caveat: there are two credit rolls at the end of each Human Giant episode. I’m not sure if this is some new form of comedy that’s lost on older gents like myself or if these guys are just super proud of their gaffers. I suppose it’s not that big of a deal. It just confuses me a little. What else can I say? I didn’t taste it.

9

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Books

Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.

Film

In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.

Music

The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.

Television

The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Music

The 20 Best Tom Petty Songs

With today's release of Tom Petty's Wildflowers & All the Rest (Deluxe Edition), we're revisiting Petty's 20 best songs.

Joshua M. Miller
Music

The 11 Greatest Hits From "Greatest Hits" Compilations

It's one of the strangest pop microcosms in history: singles released exclusively from Greatest Hits compilations. We rounded 'em up and ranked 'em to find out what is truly the greatest Greatest Hit of all.

Music

When Punk Got the Funk

As punks were looking for some potential pathways out of the cul-de-sacs of their limited soundscapes, they saw in funk a way to expand the punk palette without sacrificing either their ethos or idea(l)s.

Music

20 Hits of the '80s You Might Not Have Known Are Covers

There were many hit cover versions in the '80s, some of well-known originals, and some that fans may be surprised are covers.

Music

The Reign of Kindo Discuss Why We're Truly "Better Off Together"

The Reign of Kindo's Joseph Secchiaroli delves deep into their latest single and future plans, as well as how COVID-19 has affected not only the band but America as a whole.

Books

Tommy Siegel's Comic 'I Hope This Helps' Pokes at Social Media Addiction

Jukebox the Ghost's Tommy Siegel discusses his "500 Comics in 500 Days" project, which is now a new book, I Hope This Helps.

Music

Kimm Rogers' "Lie" Is an Unapologetically Political Tune (premiere)

San Diego's Kimm Rogers taps into frustration with truth-masking on "Lie". "What I found most frustrating was that no one would utter the word 'lie'."

Music

50 Years Ago B.B. King's 'Indianola Mississippi Seeds' Retooled R&B

B.B. King's passion for bringing the blues to a wider audience is in full flower on the landmark album, Indianola Mississippi Seeds.

Film

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs Knew That Silence = Death

In turning the camera on himself, even in his most vulnerable moments as a sick and dying man, filmmaker and activist Marlon Riggs demonstrated the futility of divorcing the personal from the political. These films are available now on OVID TV.

Film

The Human Animal in Natural Labitat: A Brief Study of the Outcast

The secluded island trope in films such as Cast Away and television shows such as Lost gives culture a chance to examine and explain the human animal in pristine, lab like, habitat conditions. Here is what we discover about Homo sapiens.

Music

Bad Wires Release a Monster of a Debut with 'Politics of Attraction'

Power trio Bad Wires' debut Politics of Attraction is a mix of punk attitude, 1990s New York City noise, and more than a dollop of metal.

Music

'Waiting Out the Storm' with Jeremy Ivey

On Waiting Out the Storm, Jeremy Ivey apologizes for present society's destruction of the environment and wonders if racism still exists in the future and whether people still get high and have mental health issues.

Music

Matt Berninger Takes the Mic Solo on 'Serpentine Prison'

Serpentine Prison gives the National's baritone crooner Matt Berninger a chance to shine in the spotlight, even if it doesn't push him into totally new territory.

Music

MetalMatters: The Best New Heavy Metal Albums of September 2020

Oceans of Slumber thrive with their progressive doom, grind legends Napalm Death make an explosive return, and Anna von Hausswolff's ambient record are just some of September's highlights.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.