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Johnno and Michael Try: A Great Amazon Comedy They Don’t Know They Have

Featured Funny Video: Johnno and Michael Try

Created, written, directed by, and starring sketch duo Johnno Wilson and Michael Strassner, Johnno and Michael Try features two real-life buds testing their mettle in ten standalone shorts that tackle a broad swath of thematic terrain, from sleepovers to ’80s movies. Oof. Sounds rough, huh? Another Review ripoff?

Actually, it’s perfect. And, here’s the weird thing: Though five older, slightly lower-fi installments of the series are available on the Johnno and Michael Try YouTube channel, Wilson and Strasner popped the ten newest ones on Amazon Prime, where diligent uploaders like themselves can immediately become part of the streaming TV behemoth’s library, whether said behemoth knows it or not. So, do they have an original Amazon series? No. But they have a series on Amazon, and it’s good. Luckily, Wilson and Strassner agreed to pop “Johnno and Michael Try Career Day” back up on Facebook, so we could share it and give anyone without Prime a taste of the first episode.

Well conceived and performed, each installment is launched by a simple title card: “Johnno and Michael Try _____.” The minutes that follow are inspired by the noun or verb that fills the blank, but are never beholden to it.

For instance, this episode takes place behind a Little League dugout where the two, suited and sweating, preach nonsense to a rightfully uninterested 20-something. It’s a familiar setup with a refreshing execution and none of the old grown-men-yelling-sad-things-about-adulthood-at-nine-year-olds shtick. Or, in “Johnno and Michael Try a Dinner Party,” what begins as a simple roommate sketch about hosting some pals evolves (and devolves) into a 1950s fever dream where a martini-sipping, good-timing Johnno is stopped dead in his tracks when he realizes he’s been married to Michael, seemingly against his will.

No matter what the tee-up, these guys have the chops to turn the thinnest of premises into something unique, and then pile on the guts to commit to the bit. In “Johnno and Michael Try a Band,” a furious Michael smashes a ukulele and then, before we know it, the guys’ dead pal is speaking to them as an anthropomorphic quesadilla. Sounds insane, I know. Crazy thing is: It seems way smarter when you’re watching, and that’s why I’m betting on this series to have legs. It’s broad enough to appeal to a wide demo and weird enough to appeal to the collective sliver of the comedy community who writes and reads columns like this one.

Seems Wilson and Strasner are taking their shot. Seems like it could go in.

Luke Kelly Clyne is executive producer and head of development at Big Breakfast and a watcher of many web videos. Send him yours @LKellyClyne.

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