The Next Iteration of Comedy on Full Display at New York TV Fest

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This post is in partnership with Seeso. #YouGetIt.

Last night Dan Harmon — joined by fellow HarmonTown collaborators Spencer Crittenden and Jeff B. Davis — did a live improv performance at the 11th annual New York TV Festival. Interwoven with freestyle raps and sex jokes, Harmon flitted between meditations on marriage, race, his recent divorce and, well, a lot of other stuff.

The performance, which was organized by the new streaming comedy channel Seeso, felt like a hybrid of the HarmonTown podcast, peppered with moments of true standup, ending with a role-play scenario orchestrated by Dungeon Master Spencer Crittenden. The mashup of formats is indicative of a larger trend in Seeso’s original programming strategy: artisanal comedy.

Last week NBCUniversal Exec. Vice President, Evan Shapiro told Splitsider that Seeso is looking to curate, “not only the next generation of comedy, but the next iteration of comedy.” Part of that new iteration involves reinventing classic forms like improv, the variety show, and animated shorts by combining them with non-linear and free-flowing storylines. Original programs like HarmonQuest, The Cyanide & Happiness Show and The UCB Show will each draw from the past in order to create the comedy of the future.

Toward the end of Seeso’s panel, Harmon, Crittenden and Davis were joined by comedy duo Dave Ahdoot and Ethan Fixell to stage a live action performance of the forthcoming HarmonQuest (one of Seeso’s slate of 21 original comedies). The prompt? The gang was tasked with finding the Crown of the Rat King in the Tomb of the Rat King just outside town. The dizzying journey takes ridiculous turns, including appearances by tattoo-faced brothers, half-orcs, mere elves and other strange beings. At one point Dave shows off his ‘stunning fist’ move (which “will be featured in room 611 later”). HarmonQuest is slated to premiere on Seeso in 2016. You can sign up for email updates here!

Seeso also debuted the first full episode of season two of The Cyanide & Happiness Show, an animated comedy series based on the massively popular web comic. The darkly hilarious episode unfolded at a breakneck pace, following a non-linear-but-interconnected narrative that includes immersive musical numbers and an insane cast of characters. The episode received an extremely positive response from the NYTV Fest crowd. (Check out the gif below for a taste of what’s to come).

Overall this panel represents the first major collaboration between the new comedy channel and their talent since the platform was announced last week. Expect more talent to get involved in the coming months as the beta launch in December draws near. In the meantime, we’ll have to be satisfied with their bizarre and hilarious teaser, (watch below) about the comedy illuminati society. Wait, there is no secret society. Or is there?