First look: Season two of Funny or Die Presents on HBO presents more funny than die, redux

However you may have felt about the first season of Funny or Die Presents on HBO, well, get ready to remember and relive those feelings later this month, because the second season is a lot more of the same. And then some.

Getting an early look at the first three episodes of season two (debuting Jan. 14, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28, respectively), I can assure you that the one major problem from season one has been dispensed with — there does not appear to be any idea that has been cut up and diluted into serial episodes. The recurring ideas all can stand on their own. Not that they all should, mind you.

For instance, starting off the season with Deepak Chopra as Rob Huebel's guest in the first installment of his series, "Do You Want To See A Dead Body?", isn't exactly an inspired decision. Remember how much you laughed along with Chopra in The Love Guru? Exactly. Huebel fares better later in the season when he gets Ben Stiller to tag along. And here Huebel is with former NFL player Warren Sapp.


The second-season premiere hits the mark much better with Ben Schwartz's "Terrible Decisions," as well as the sublime and ridiculously NSFW turns by Seth Morris and June Diane Raphael as Lt. Ducca and Det. Phuk in "United States Police Department" (who appear again in the second episode). The recurring "Re-enactments of Actual Conversations from the Ladies Rooms of Hollywood" featuring Andrea Savage are predictably insufferable, while the voice-over action figure sketch, "Brick Novax's Diary," is, well, what is it?

But that's what you get with Funny or Die Presents. Just as in its first season, each episode includes something that'll make you laugh out loud, something that makes you want to flip the channel, and something else that makes you wonder what in the world is happening.

Episode two (aka Episode #14) pairs Brett Gelman with a parrot in the over-the-top Funny or Die Movie of the Week: "Paco Dances," and ends with Mitch Magee getting his old video series, "Welcome To My Study," on the TV with the first of four new installments.

Tim & Eric fans will delight in knowing the duo makes a cameo in their own short directing Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as wild animals in episode three (aka Episode #15) with "John and Will's Animal Choices."

David and Jennie return, too, with more of their "amazing adventures." And Adam West proves he never was Leslie Nielsen as he gets a short recurring bit reciting classic pick-up lines to the camera.

Oh, and get ready to welcome back Ed Halligan to your TV as the channel's fictional VP of marketing and sales is back as the host, appearing in between the multiple previews and introductory pieces for each episode. But if you were expecting something else, then you were expecting too much. As they have Halligan say at the end of this season's debut: "Well, from Funny or Die, that's all we have tonight. I think you got your money's worth. On the off chance, though, that you think you didn't, well, there's not much you can do about it. That boat sailed a long time ago. And I own that boat. I got it with the money you just wasted."

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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