Any new primetime comedy show faces a steep learning curve and needs at least a few episodes to build a solid fan base. Comedy Central’s most recent addition, “Michael & Michael Have Issues,” is no exception as their mix of sketch, stand-up, and documentary style comedy will take some getting used to. Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black bring their A-game and are completely engrossed in their characters: two selfish and childish assholes who will stop at nothing to outdo one another and leave a trail of laughter and destruction in their wake.
Showalter and Black fans like myself look to this new series with hopes of a return to the humor we grew to love from previous Michael & Michael works including cult classic “The State,” sketch comedy show “Stella,” and absurd sleepaway camp film, Wet Hot American Summer. Taking a page from NBC powerhouses “The Office” and “30 Rock,” M.M.H.I. uses a show-within-a-show format that makes the dialogue and character interactions feel more authentic than your typical sitcom. Whether the two grown men are bitching at each other at a pre-show production meeting or calling an intern into their office to fire him, their actions never appear forced or even remotely staged as the viewer starts to believe that they are simply deranged yet hilarious individuals.
The most memorable scene of the show, and one that will likely have audiences tuning in next week, is the shirtless, air karate altercation between the Michaels that takes place on Black’s lawn in front of both men’s spouses, a high school intern and the intern’s father. Their fighting style could barely pass as a scene out of early ‘90s classic Only the Strong and exhibited the lengths that these comics are willing to go to get a rise out of their followers.
|Michael & Michael Have Issues||Premieres Wed, July 15, 10:30pm / 9:30c|
As hard as I am pulling for this show to take off, I think it is still a far cry away from becoming an every week must-watch program like fellow Comedy Central mainstays “South Park” and “Reno 911.” With that being said, I do believe the M.M.H.I. showed some promise as I did have a smile on my face for the majority of the debut episode and know the limitless potential of the duo’s humor. I look forward to next week and hope that the Michaels continue to take risks and push the envelope when it comes to awkwardness and edgy joke making.
Until I see more it is hard to offer a complete rating for “Michael & Michael Have Issues,” but for now I will tag the pilot with 2.5 out of 4 stars on the Campus Socialite entertainment meter. Tune in next Wednesday at 10:30p to judge for yourself.