Did he really just say that? But, he’s surrounded by moms…and kids!
There’s a simple recipe behind it, this thing we call comedy. Breaks in context. Deviations from what’s expected. Such is what makes humor funny. There’s no better proof to this proverbial pudding than adults behaving poorly in front of young children or, more accurately, adults acting like complete miscreants when charged with caring for young children.
Think about it.
Bad Santa, Big Daddy, Childrens Hospital, Adam Corolla’s brilliant Man Show karate sensei sketch, many scenes in Old School. The list goes on. Something just works about swapping in foul-mouthed recklessness where buttoned-up conscientiousness should stand. The guys behind Stay At Home Dad know all this as well as anyone, and they’ve made one hell of a web series to prove it.
Debuting as an Atom Films exclusive in June 2010, seventeen sub three-minute episodes follow Brandon — a recently fired commodities trader who’s been forced to ditch recreational pain-killer use and lunch break titty-bar visits for sippy cups and acerbic playground surveillance. Lucky for viewers, this colorful caretaker manages to hang onto the misogynistic frat-banter that carried him through his former life, and the result is really quite awesome. New York based Actor/Writer/Comedian Brandon Williams plays Brandon, unfit father of two, and co-writes the series with Adam Jones.
So, why should you check it out? Three reasons.
A crazed dad screaming obscenities at a room full of kids is amusing, but also sort of cheap and easy. A handsome dad pestering a well-dressed playground mom for Oxycontin to mix with his spiked cranberry juice? That’s subtle. That’s creepy. That’s… inspired.
No Stay At Home Dad episode is over three minutes, and most are closer to two. That’s very short, even for a web series. It’s hard to pack a lot of laughs into a small segment and brevity doesn’t mean much if the jokes aren’t funny. But, if the material’s good (and, in this case, it is), snappier pieces tend to be infinitely more watchable, and addictive. “The Audacity of Myth, Part II” tackles a complex circumstance in a way that’s sufficiently conversational while holding onto the fast, blackout style that keeps the series exciting.
Lots of shows (web-based and otherwise) struggle with premise, and expectedly so. It’s hard to conjure up a cogent idea that’s funny and will continue to be. The strongest premises boast versatility and staying power. How many interesting characters can you throw into a show? How many weird situations can you create for them? Will the combination of these continue to be original and entertaining? “Ass From The Past” is a prime example of Stay At Home Dad’s depth of premise. It seems simple — an ex-finance guy who has to care for his two kids while perpetually giving in to his unapologetic, adolescent whims — and maybe it is, but it’s still a goldmine from which Williams and Jones have extracted tons of consistently funny, fresh material.
Luke Kelly-Clyne is a writer, etc. living in New York City.