MSN's ''This Is Not a Test'' | EW.com

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MSN's ''This Is Not a Test''

The cybercast of the interactive talk show, featuring such stars as Jon Stewart and Conan O'Brien, is filmed before a live audience

”Can we smoke in cyberspace?” funny grrrl Janeane Garofalo asks host Marc Maron during a live cybercast of This Is Not a Test, the Microsoft Network’s weekly interactive gabfest-slash-comedy hour. ”We can smoke, we can dance,” says Maron. ”We can do whatever the f— we want.” Test keenly blends Maron’s sardonic stand-up shtick with humorous online games (Dennis Rodman’s clickable diary) and audience polls (”Sex is boring if…”).

”There’s an opportunity to be more lyrical and thorough with a topic online [than on TV],” says a postshow Maron, 33, a veteran of cable’s Comedy Central. ”I get to stay with one topic and chase it down.”

Performed before a live audience at the New York City comedy spot Catch a Rising Star, the show has recently featured such well-risen stars as Conan O’Brien and Jon Stewart, not to mention the irascible, chain-smoking Garofalo.

Mouse potatoes can post questions (fielded by ”chat chick” Amanda Stern) during the live, streaming-audio program while Maron applies his subversive slant to such stand-up staples as the mediocrity of suburbia and the love/marriage conundrum. ”It’s really amazing the amount of electricity generated when people know that they are part of a live event,” says the comic. ”Once the ball starts rolling, there’s no turning back.”