Kvelling Over ‘PN & Friends’: A Review

Ever watch something so ridiculous and silly that you can’t help but guffaw?

That’s how I feel about PN & Friends, the hilarious webseries on YouTube from the folks who brought you comedian Todd Montesi. Well, actually, it’s from Montesi himself, who’s surrounded by a cast of players that includes, uh … other folks. But you get what I mean.

We freakin’ looooove this show.

OK, it’s amateurish. OK, it doesn’t make sense. OK, it’s often about wrestling or something tangentially related to wrestling.

Those are positives, by the way. I just used the “OK” type of phrasing to provide a concise segue.

Montesi, a veteran of the standup scene who hosts the UG Comedy Show in NYC and has appeared in programs such as HBO’s Crashing, is kind of a brilliant guy. I would call him an auteur, but that would be pretentious. How about I call him a meta-auteur? ‘Cause his series, which in a nutshell concerns the adventures of one “PN” (played by Montesi) as he journeys throughout Brooklyn, NY, and other parts of the Big Apple in search of things to get annoyed at, is meta like you won’t believe. Among the meta-dudes who turn up in this meta-fest: his comrade-in-humor David Voice, who’s always yelling and wearing bizarre outfits (love the bright green!); bespectacled buddy Joe Dixon (full disclosure: we watched part of the 2016 presidential elections together … yikes!); and some guy who lives in the bathroom.

Honestly, I really don’t know what it’s about. It’s funny, though, and that’s what counts. Because who wants to watch an incessant stream of cat videos, anyway? You want comedy, right? Well, you got it, at Montesi’s Land of Amusement.

Oh, I also don’t understand what meta means–I just like to utilize it in sentences. I think it’s a millennial term used to describe cerebral jokes. Even the word meta is very meta.

Sorry … bit of a digression. Anyway, these episodes, which so far number 14 in total, will have you chuckling throughout as Montesi’s PN protests all of the ludicrous situations he encounters. Yes, you can witness him interviewing people about Summerslam (a wrestling event) at the Barclays Center. Sure, you can observe him kvetching about his “lucky water bottle” (Todd, man, really?). Yet what you want to do for sure is watch the entire series straight through. I am hypnotizing you now in an effort to get you to do so. You … are … getting … very … sleeeeeeeepy.

My apologies, once again. I realize that hypnosis is not a very effective way to get people to watch a webseries. Also, it’s highly unethical as a marketing practice. Todd, stop making me tout your webseries through comedy hypnosis! It’s a madhouse! A maaaadhouse!

The moral of this blog post is: Laughter is rare, so you’ve gotta enjoy it when it’s real. PN & Friends will generate real laughter. As long as you aren’t expecting camerawork by James Wong Howe. Or costumes by Edith Head. Fine–you can expect cameos by a host of toys in the shapes of famous wrestlers. Plus some weird wall art. And no studio audience! Isn’t that what you’ve always wanted?

I’ll end this review by saying this: In a sanctioned wrestling match, I have full confidence that Montesi would pin Voice in three rounds by using his famous “nostril lock” hold. Will any new episode use this absurd idea of mine as one of its major themes? Probably not.

That, dear reader, is just one of many reasons why you should watch.

Over and out.

Skip’s Quips: Turn Off ‘Girls,’ Please; I Can’t Stand It!

Blog Sketch 082813Count me as one of those who dislikes the TV show Girls.

I’ve tried watching it, albeit sporadically. The verdict: Yuck.

Creator Lena Dunham has talent; there’s no doubt about that. I don’t always care for her work; Tiny Furniture was, in my opinion, tedious and unconvincing. But she does have a certain style and, well, je ne sais quoi. She can write.

If only Girls used her talents better.

There’s something about the program that seems off-the-cuff, in a bad way. It feels forced, uninvolving. I’m not invested in the characters, who generally aren’t compelling. And the whole thing smacks of navel-gazing, to the extent that it’s hard to watch. I may be in the minority on this, but I strongly believe in what I say. Girls, to me, is artificial, plastic. I bounce off it, as a viewer, rather than get absorbed by it.

So why am I watching it? Well, it’s a not-so-long story. My wife enjoys it greatly, and when it’s on, I tune in. Then tune out just as fast. Without an engaging storyline, it doesn’t drive me to stick with it. I invariably end up checking out clips of wacky animals on my cell phone.

A good TV show won’t give you the chance to do that. A good TV show will force you to watch and avoid those charming YouTube videos.

I need a good TV show in my life. I don’t need Girls.

From Skip and Setter’s Creator: My Interview With Honey Badger’s Randall Is Now Up

Blog Sketch of Me 092213Hello, readers! Just letting you know that I had the opportunity to interview the wonderfully talented Randall—yes, he of the famous Honey Badger series on YouTube–for CURNBLOG—and it’s up and running now. In it, you can discover what makes this very funny comic personality tick … from animals to causes, as well as how he got Lucy Lawless to star in one of his videos. It’s a terrific interview, and I hope you enjoy it. You can find it here: http://curnblog.com/2015/02/11/interviewing-honey-badgers-randall-life-worth-narrating/.

Setter’s ‘Spectives: ‘Sesame Street,’ the ‘Crack Master’ and Me

Setter Drawing for Blog 082613Last night, I watched something I hadn’t seen in more than 30 years.

It was an imaginative animated short that appeared on Sesame Street when I was a kid, so you know it was long ago. In it, a young woman lying on her bed imagines the crack on her wall to be various friendly animals: a camel, a hen and a monkey. She travels with them through the wall and finds what is hoped to be a new pal but turns out to be the “Crack Master,” a horrible, frowning face made of cracks. This “Crack Master” then is “destroyed” as the plaster that makes up his visage falls to the ground because he is “mean.”

Whoa, right? What a trip.

Actually, this short frightened me practically to death as a young child; I remember running out of the room when it was on so I didn’t have to see it. There was something about the face of the “Crack Master” that bothered me, as well as the idea of cracks coming to life. But in watching it last night, I did something I’ve been unable to do for decades: Conquer my fear. The scares of childhood weren’t, thankfully, there. Just the remnants of memories.

This clip has some notoriety; apparently I wasn’t the only kid to be horrified by it years ago. It remains a very creative piece: stark but well-realized, despite the eerie subject matter. You can decide for yourself whether all my fears were warranted by watching it here: