Written by: Alec Holland, Bob Kirsh, Craig Chester, Eliot Laurence, Q. Allan Brocka
Directed by: Amanda Bearse
Starring: Erica Ash, Dion Flynn, Julie Goldman, Stephen Guarino, Jonny McGovern
- Bonus Sketches
- Interviews with the Cast
- Celesbian Interviews with Julie Goldman
- Behind the Scenes Footage
- Julie Goldman Standup Footage
Released by: MTV
Anamorphic: N/A; presented in its original 1.33:1 format
My Advice: Get The Good Bits On Youtube
[ad#longpost]This is where I usually give a synopsis of what I watched. But when you have something called The Big Gay Sketch Show, you know what you’re getting up front: gay-themed sketch comedy. Some people may argue that gay and lesbian comedy is being segregated. But shows like this can give young writers and performers the chance for professional experience and exposure. Think of the how many writers and actors have gained seasoning and recognition from working on Saturday Night Live or In Living Color. This show can give a boost to gay and lesbian artists and the opportunity to break out into the wider media.
However, there are a couple of problems with the show. The big one is that it’s not that funny. I think I enjoyed about one skit from each episode. That’s not a good batting average. Part of the problem is that they go for the obvious joke. An example is a skit where two lesbians go through an entire relationship during a speed dating event. This is an obvious play on this joke: What do lesbians do on the second date? Rent a U-Haul. Then there’s Tranny 911, where two scary looking drag queens school some young brat. Then there is the recurring character of a man who under the light of the full moon transforms into a gay werewolf. Seriously, a gay werewolf. Come on, clueless straight writers can come up with this crap.
Now, there are a few highlights. The Naomi Campbell PSA against domestic violence where she keeps beating her domestic was good. Another that worked well was about Fitzwillian, a young upper class British boy who wants to be a girl and is in search of a vagina. Cast member Kate McKinnon captures how children try to understand themselves and the world but make odd leaps of logic like thinking you can get a vagina for Christmas. But these are few and far between. This is a real problem for the show because of the power and pervasiveness of the Internet.
Like record albums and other forms of media, the Internet has had a huge impact on television comedy. Before, you had to watch an entire episode to get the one or two good skits on Saturday Night Live. Now, you can catch them on YouTube or some other video sharing site. In fact, some of the most entertaining skits are coming from comedy web sites. With no network censors to remove anything deemed offensive, there is new found freedom to go as far as you can. Shows like The Big Gay Sketch Show need to push the envelope as far as they can if they want to survive. I appreciate there are limits with what they can do on a basic cable network, but this should inspire them to be more creative about presenting queer issues and culture.
If it seems I’m being hard on this show…well, I am. As I mentioned before, I belong to the Mickee Faust Club, a cabaret group in Tallahassee. With a bare fraction of the resources The Big Gay Sketch Show has, we put together a hour long live show of gay and lesbian sketches for Gay Pride Month. We had gay Republicans, lesbian superheroes, and lots more fabulous comedy. If volunteers can write and perform a show in an non air-conditioned space in June in Florida that people really enjoyed, The Big Gay Sketch Show has no good excuse to be mediocre.
The extras are mediocre too. You have some interviews with the cast and director with the typical happy talk about how wonderful it is to work with everyone. Yawn. There are cut skits that were cut for a reason, cutesy behind the scenes shots, and some bits featuring comics Julie Goldman and Jonny McGovern. Typical DVD shovelware. There is nothing that illuminates how the show was put together or what the writing process is. Since most of The Big Sketch Show is available either on the LOGO Network or other places, I’d catch the funnier skits there instead of buying the DVD.