Adam Scott has been teasing his mysterious new Adult Swim special The Greatest Event in Television History for weeks now via a series of Twitter pictures and TV ads, but last night at midnight, we finally got to see what all the hype was about. The 11-minute special (embedded in its entirety above) also stars Scott’s longtime friends Jon Hamm and Paul Rudd and is a mockumentary about the trio collaborating to recreate the opening credits to the cheesy 80s detective show Simon & Simon, shot-for-shot starring Scott and Hamm. The special ends with the actual full-on rereation of the Simon & Simon intro.
It’s great that Adult Swim was willing to put up the cash to let Adam Scott and company pull off this silly idea for just a one-off special, and it bodes well for the future of the basic cable network, which has been making some of the zaniest, creatively-risky comedy on TV for the past few years and is clearly still finding new ways to let talented comedy people try funny, stupid things. The idea for The Greatest Event in Television History came from Adam Scott and wife Naomi Scott, the behind-the-scenes faux-documentary was written by Adult Swim’s own Paul Scheer, and Scott co-directed the special with Lance Bangs (Jackass). Scheer was one of many to appear in a small role, along with Megan Mullally, Kathryn Hahn, director Gus Van Sant, and Survivor’s Jeff Probst, who hosted the special.
There’s a lot of potential, should Adult Swim continue to do offbeat one-off specials like this with talented folks like Adam Scott and Jon Hamm, as I’m sure most comedic writers and performers have a backlog of crazy ideas (like recreating the Simon & Simon opening) they want to try that aren’t worthy of using for a full series. Sure, that’s what Funny or Die is for, but TV airtime is still more sought-after than viral video time and Adult Swim’s 11-minute slots allow for longer pieces. And of course, folks like Scott and Hamm are too busy with their full-time TV jobs on Parks and Rec and Mad Men, respectively, to star in an Adult Swim series these days, but it’s pretty neat they’ve found a way to still get to make cool stuff for the network.
Here’s the original Simon & Simon intro side-by-side with Adam Scott and Jon Hamm’s version: