We gave it a B+
Loser comedies are a dimebag a dozen these days. Workaholics, The Wrong Mans, Broad City: Ne’er-do-wells have never had it so great. Do we need more slacker humor on TV? Comedy Central is betting on it with Big Time in Hollywood, FL, a serialized comedy that debuts tonight.
The show comes from Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf, the team behind the surreal and funny web series Next Time on Lonny. Anfanger and Lenny Jacobson star as Jack and Ben, brothers and wannabe filmmakers who live at home with their parents (Kathy Baker and Stephen Toblowsky). The premiere finds the bros accidentally getting caught up in a twisty case that involves drugs, murder, and Ben Stiller, whose hilarious cameo as failed actor Jimmy Staats kicks the premiere into high gear. Things snowball from there as the series follows them each step of the way, to rehab and beyond. Think of it as one part Wrong Mans and two parts Dumb and Dumber.
Your feelings about the first episode may depend on your feelings about Ben Stiller, who’s also an executive producer on the show—one of my coworkers said he in fact enjoyed the pilot until Stiller showed up. But his performance (as it were) in the episode’s climax is too outrageous not to love. He’s not the only draw, of course: Baker and Toblowsky are hilarious as the well-meaning parents, while additional guests like Matt Besser, Beck Bennett, and Cuba Gooding Jr. (you read that right) all provide their own strengths throughout the series.
But all the guests in the world wouldn’t help if the guys at the center weren’t funny. Luckily, they are: Anfanger and Jacobson are plenty able to hold their own in this solid slacker serial. B+