Maybe the darkest, funniest comedy on television right now is a show called Review on Comedy Central, a show that no one seems to talk about as much as it should be talked about. Nielsen ratings for the show are dismal (it averages around 300,000 viewers), although I suspect that — like Inside Amy Schumer, Key and Peele and several other Comedy Central shows — most of its viewers watch on unmeasured devices, like Comedy Central’s website.
Review is a mockumentary starring Andy Daily, who plays a professional critic by the name of Forrest MacNeil. This critic does not review movies or television or books or even food. He reviews life. He’s the host of a fake review show, where people send him suggestions for review, like “What’s it like to get in a brawl?” or “What’s it like to experience fellatio through a glory hole?” or “What’s it like to blackmail someone?” or “What’s it like to divorce?”
And what makes Review work so perfectly is that Forrest MacNeil is both witless and absolutely devoted to following through on a life experience in order to review it, even if that means divorcing his wife, being falsely accused of arson, or being buried alive. Following through on these reviews invariably will get Forrest is trouble, get him seriously harmed, or get his heart broken.
And yet, he persists.
There are usually three reviews in each episode, but there’s also a serialized nature to the series, as well. He’s been dealing with the consequences of his reviews since the outset, and it seems that every review puts him in a worse off situation than before.
It’s not a show that can easily be described. It needs to be experienced, and it should be. It is outrageously funny, but in its own way, it is also devastating. That’s because we find ourselves rooting for poor Forrest, and it’s so incredibly dispiriting to see that nothing ever seems to go his way. And yet, he gets back up everyday and takes on a new challenge, even if it means getting shot or seeing his house burn down. Twice.
Here’s a clip from last week’s episode. It is not a very good overall representation of the show, but it is hysterical. It’s also one of the few clips that works in under three minutes. The humor, obviously, is typically more sophisticated than this, but this particular clip also had me rolling with tears.
Please watch Review. All 16 half-hour episodes are available on the Comedy Central website. Watch from the beginning. You will not be disappointed.