There are two kinds of web series: those you nod along with while your least funny friend giggles and points at his dumb computer screen, and those that make you go on a copy/paste social media rampage where you plaster links on every square inch of the Internet, determined to share your personal moments of comedic transcendence with any and all who’ll watch.
Tiny Apartment is so the latter.
Created in 2010 by New York based actor/comedian/writers Jessie Cantrell, Mike O’Gorman, and Pat Driscoll, this still-running masterpiece blends David Wain absurdity with Will Ferrell insanity as it chronicles the interactions of a Manhattan couple living in an Alphabet City cubby-hole.
Episodes are short, well edited, and impressive as much for their simplicity as their perfectly executed humor. TA (an acronym I just made up so I wouldn’t have to write Tiny Apartment again) presents all that’s promising about web series as an ever-expanding outlet for punchy, low-cost, highly visible content created by talented people dedicated to their craft.
But, you’re busy and I’m just some schmuck talking about a show you’ve never heard of. Who the hell do I think I am, right? Why should you take my recommendation? Simple. Three reasons.
1. Well-placed physical humor
3. Top-notch dialogue
These are the bones of what makes Tiny Apartment so fantastic, and here are some episodes to prove it.
Sexy Night works so well because of O’Gorman and Cantrell’s commitment to a very simple joke for the better part of three minutes. The geyser of blood pouring out of Cantrell’s nose would be funny on its own for about a minute, maybe two, but the intimate dinner set-up is so spot-on that it takes the old “takin’ a nasty spill” joke to a new, deservingly lengthy level.
Bizarre comedy only works if writers are fully committed to pushing the envelope, far. You can’t half-ass weird. That said, joking about death and sexual abuse is always tricky territory. Roof Party is a great example of the right way to go off-beat.
The power of one-liners can’t be underestimated. No matter how funny the premise, complex babble is usually a recipe for comedic disaster (Larry David, Brendon Small, Jonathan Katz, and Woody Allen aside). Viewers always appreciate digestible, memorable nuggets of dialogue they can repeat with/to friends. Strong writing and well-timed cuts makes Brians one big, awesome, multi-minute lightning round.
Luke Kelly-Clyne is a writer, etc. living in New York City.