Comedy Central has been on a hot streak of late.
The cable channel has led the resurgence of sketch comedy on TV — launching Key and Peele, Kroll Show, and Inside Amy Schumer — expanded its grip on young viewership of late-night with @midnight, won over critics with series that defy categorization such as Nathan For You and Review, and successfully turned webseries into something more, with Workaholics and Broad City.
Big Time in Hollywood, FL, came from two guys with a successful webseries, too — but Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf have chosen to go a darker, more subversive serialized way with their first TV offering as creators/stars.
If anything, their first four episodes suggest something much closer in theme to IFC’s cult show, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. Instead of David Cross going across the pond to England and making a mess of things, we’re transported to Florida and two millennial wannabe YouTube filmmaker stars (played by Anfanger and Lenny Jacobson) who choose rather poorly when they learn that at age 30, their parents want them out of the house and finding real employment.
Each episode opens with a fantasy sequence — essentially exhibiting the filmmaking bros at their full potential — before we’re awakened back into the increasingly harsher reality of a corner these guys have backed themselves into.
Kathy Baker and Stephen Tobolowsky take on the thankless task of parenting these ne’er-do-well brothers, while Jon Bass plays their hapless friend Del who gets roped into one worse idea after another. Guest stars they meet along the way include Michael Madsen, Matt Besser, Keith David and Betsy Sodaro.
Ben Stiller appears in a big way in the pilot episode as a guy the brothers convince to join them in a scheme to trick their parents into paying ransom for a fake kidnapping.
Suffice it to say, not only does that not end well, but it raises the stakes and keeps the plot moving into darker and darker territory. By the time they run into Cuba Gooding Jr. playing himself in a rehab facility, they still hold out hope that their ultimate goal of filmmaking stardom can be achieved.
At what cost, though?
Big Time in Hollywood, FL, stands as a test of where you’re also willing to go for the sake of comedy. If you haven’t watched the premiere yet, it’s available online here along with the first three episodes.
Big Time in Hollywood, FL, airs Wednesday nights on Comedy Central.