The year 2016 may just be the year we’re all convinced to stop watching TV the traditional way, and Seeso will go a long way in convincing comedy fans to do just that — if they haven’t already.
Seeso, NBCUniversal’s new digital comedy streaming platform, officially launches Jan. 7, 2016, charging $3.99 for an ad-free selection of new funny series and an array of archived classics. But it’s already available for a free Beta test this month.
And from what I’ve seen onscreen and live as an audience member from upcoming projects, it’s worth the test drive and price of admission.
The livestreaming stand-up showcase, The Guest List: Live From The Barrel House, went off without a hitch or a buffering sitch last Tuesday night from San Francisco, and after the hour-plus session concluded with stand-up sets from this year’s Last Comic Standing finalists and winner Clayton English, Seeso sent viewers straight into a clip from SNL’s Weekend Update and Stefon (Bill Hader) making his own Christmas recommendations.
When I opened Seeso another night last week, it automatically jumped into a clip from earlier this week on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, playing “Truth or Truth” with guest Amy Poehler — then to Late Night with Seth Meyers and a segment of Fred Armisen’s Extremely Accurate TV Recaps: The Great Holiday Baking Show — then to SNL and that past weekend’s “Close Encounter” sketch that had the cast members busting their own guts — then into the premiere episode of The UCB Show (which featured Betsy Sodaro with her sketch group Nephew, James Adomian as U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders visits UCB, a sketch by Private Street, stand-up from Alice Wetterlund, and a sketch by Noel Wells and Echo Kellum) — then straight into a classic SNL “Sassy” sketch anchored by Phil Hartman with David Spade, Adam Sandler and guest host Luke Perry.
The UCB Show, which captures showcases that illustrate the run-the-gamut of alt-comedy that you’d see if you visited the Upright Citizens Brigade theaters in Hollywood or New York City, is one of three series that initially offered up sneak-peek premieres as part of Seeso’s Beta month. The others: Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane, and The Cyanide & Happiness Show.
Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane debuted this fall on Australian television as a six-episode series starring the popular comedian and his puppet friend (whom in the series is separated from his TV personality wife and needs a place to stay, so he moves in with Sammy J), and they break into song while never acknowledging the fact that their duo includes a purple puppet.
There are actually several episodes of the quarter-hour animated series, The Cyanide & Happiness Show, for you to check out, too.
The lack of ads is decidedly noticeable after so many breaks in the action on Hulu or even YouTube.
Seeso’s Beta offerings this month already let you watch old episodes of 30 Rock, The Office (UK edition), SNL — sketches from Monty Python and Kids in the Hall, late-night segments, Rooftop Comedy stand-up bits, other British sitcom episodes, Funny as Hell (the HBO Canada stand-up showcase produced by Just For Laughs Montreal) and more.
A sneak peak of Gentleman Lobsters just went live on Seeso today. You can see the rest of the Seeso Beta offerings and launch dates here.
I’ve attended tapings for two other stand-up showcase series coming down the pike in early 2016: Night Train with Wyatt Cenac, bowing in February 2016 (hence Cenac joking in the debut episode about Black History Month and wearing a topic-appropriate sweater), and the crowd-work stand-up show, What’s Your F*@#ing Deal with Big Jay Oakerson and Ardie Fuqua and friends.
The $3.99 price point is shrewdly low enough that you’ll want to at least give it a try. If you like it, you might just find yourself one step closer to cutting the TV cord for good.
Roll the new promo clip with Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher and “God.”