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I first heard of the Ben Stiller Show when I saw the Emmy Awards when it won for best writing of a variety show (I think they showed the "Counting With Bruce Springsteen" sketch). Anyways, Stiller was overjoyed at this, and he was saying what a great show this was, and what we were going to miss, as it was only on for 12 episodes. And from that time, I was like, "Damn, I want to see that!" Well, finally, through the magic of DVD, I did get to see it! All of the episodes are great (though I have the sneaky suspicion that the earlier episodes were funnier). Well, where can I start about my favorite episodes? OK, I'm sure everyone has different opinions, the highlights for me were Rescue 411, Manson, Skank, Amish Studs, U2: The Early Years, and Beverly Hills 90210240 (and also bonus points for the deleted scene on the DVD with the High School Mascot competition with Stiller as Ron Perlman and Janine Garaefolo as Mary-Lou Retton, Garaefolo can't stop laughing during the commentary for this)
Ben Stiller is the funniest man in all of TV/Movies. This show was so clever and so witty that it puts all other sketch-comedy shows to shame. His "Amish COPS" and "Advantage: Agassi" were particularly hysterical skits. Like many other fans, I am disappointed that it was cancelled so quickly. I would give ANYTHING to have Stiller's show back. It was easily the best show of all time.
I heard that "In Living Color" reruns were on cable again (I don't believe it) and if it's true the only thing that needs to be added is Ben Stiller reruns. The cast on this show was a priceless gem! Why did this, the funniest skit show I've ever seen, go off the air for "the Edge"??? That's show biz I guess. The Ben Stiller Show, along with Simpsons, Seinfeld, and Married With Children, are the only shows I have ever tuned into religiously week after week. Well, I don't see how it could happen, but if Ben Stiller becomes even BIGGER of a star perhaps the reruns will return. I need to see this stuff again to reappraise the value of my stupid TV set.
I can't believe that this great show only lasted ONE little season. In my point of view this show was hilarious . It is funny to see Ben Stiller doing original comedy. The skits on the show kept me laughing so hard. There is probably not a chance you can watch this again unless you taped it, but if you ever have to opportunity, Grab it!
Seems like everyone who was a part of this show is better than this
show. I don't think it lives up to it's reputation, though it had funny
moments(the Manson sketch is good enough it could have been on Mr.
Show) but it was surprisingly bad for how talented every person working
on it was.
But all my favorites from this show (Odenkirk, Cross, Stamatopoulos, Garofalo, though only as an extra, sometimes, unfortunately)were later on Mr. Show which I think is a much better example of an unfair cancellation than this.
Sometimes feels like Garofalo and Odenkirk didn't get as much of a chance to shine as Stiller and Dick, though that could be completely imagined on my part just cause I like them best. In all the in between sketches with Ben and Janeane he seemed to sorta push her into a lady roll that she didn't really fit like you know, "You look pretty, Janeane." "The fans wanna see you in a bikini, Janeane." And she isn't really at her funniest like that. Bob seemed almost invisible and he hasn't anywhere else I've seen him.
It feels like people maybe kind of know somewhere deep down that it isn't as good as they're saying it is. I can't begin to understand how anyone could say it's the best comedy show of all time.
I also can't bring myself to agree with anyone that hates it, though I get where they're coming from. It's fun to watch this show but that might only be because of how happy it makes me to see all their faces.
Even though this doesn't matter, I feel like mentioning it, the beginning credits are some of my favorite beginning credits ever. I really love them.
This series was released back in the early 90s before anyone really
fully knew the potential behind the stars of this program. Ben Stiller
had yet to become a household name, Andy Dick was
not yet Andy
Dick, Janeane Garofalo was not politically active, and Bob Odenkirk was
just a glimmer in Mr. Show's eyes. Yet, somehow these four key players
pulled off some of the funniest skits to ever hit television.
I remember watching this show when I was younger and not fully understanding the jokes. I remember my parents laughing, but I was not old enough to understand. Now, a bit older, I cannot keep my hands of this series. Andy Dick is brilliant. I think he is one of the most underrated comics out there. He should be given scripts daily for his work. Continually funny and the most bizarre in-your-face comedian. He has not sold-out yet. Second, I was impressed with Odenkirk. I was worried that without Cross he couldn't carry himself, but I misjudged him. His humor, in the few skits he is in, is fantastic. It is subdued due to the material, but you can tell that he is just dying to show his stuff. While I am beginning to dislike Stiller daily, his work on this program was phenomenal. Garofalo did well playing the 'female' role in most skits. I only hoped that they would have given her more to work with.
My second love of this series was the guest speakers. It was fun to watch it recently and remember who was a popular icon back in the early 90s. I enjoyed remembering Flea and Rob Morrow. My favorite was a younger Dennis Miller and Gary Shandling. You could tell that Stiller had the ability of getting the big names on his little show. I was impressed.
Overall, this is a perfect opportunity to see Stiller's comedy when he was still in the young stage of his career. I would watch this series mainly for Andy Dick who makes me laugh all the time! I only hope his short-lived series is released soon so that I can get 100% Andy!
Grade: **** out of *****
I recently saw this set reviewed in rolling stone, and according to them it was the 'smartest pop culture parody show ever'. To me however it was a laughless, dated bore. The problem does not sit with the actors (all of whom do a good job) but with the writing and directing. Practically every skit falls flat, punch lines don't come where they should and after a while every skit seems identical. Several of the recurring skits (e.g. 'skank' and 'bruce springsteen') are painfully unfunny the first time, let alone the third time. Over all, this show is only worth a watch if you are a fan of obscure TV and perhaps old Gen-X pop culture.
Before Fox became the #1 most watched network with shows like "American
Idol" and "Glee", it was best known for offbeat shows, especially
comedies, that came and went. Although shows like "Married With
Children" and "The Simpsons" went on to become among the
longest-running sitcoms of all time (With "The Simpsons" recently
taking the #1 spot in that category), countless other shows on Fox got
the ax early, thereby establishing Fox as a second-rate network for
nearly 20 years.
"The Ben Stiller Show" was indeed offbeat, and it had a laid-back quality to it that made it fun. Many other reviewers are crying out that it should not have been canceled, but the main cast members of this show went on to bigger and better things. Ben Stiller is now an A- list comic actor, Janeane Garofalo went on to become a household name, Bob Odenkirk created "Mr. Show" for HBO and is now sure to get an Emmy nomination for his role as Saul Goodman in "Breaking Bad", and Andy Dick . . . well . . . was funny on this show before becoming victim to his own demise. And of course, the co-creator of this show, Judd Apatow, would go on to create "The 40 Year Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up" among other memorable comedies.
Sketch comedy shows were nothing new at the time this show premiered, but Odenkirk came to this show after a four year stint as a writer on "Saturday Night Live", whereas Stiller came after a four episode stint (literally). The 1994-95 season, considered even today to be among SNL's biggest drought of funny material, was awaiting Garofalo. It's too bad too, because I thought she was among the stronger members of this show. Meanwhile, these guys put together a solid show that even today seems fresher than SNL and more free.
Like many other sketch comedies, the sketches themselves were hit or miss. I didn't think the recurring sketches with the sock puppet Skank were very funny, personally, but I loved the Amish Dating Game, the "Tonight Show" auditions (with Apatow doing the best Jay Leno imitation I've ever seen, and Garofalo gut-bustingly hilarious as Sinead O'Connor), and Woody Allen's version of "Bride of Frankenstein" to name a few.
In fact, in the latter sketch, Andy Dick did a dead-on impersonation of Allen that was among the best I had seen. It surprised me because Dick is now a second-rate comedian and actor, and I expected him to be the weakest link when first purchasing the DVD set of this show. However, in most sketches, he proves to be a solid cast member who works well off the remainder of the cast. The same was true for him during the six year run of "NewsRadio". However, since "NewsRadio" ended, he's been better known for his inappropriate antics and excessive drug use than for his comedy. In this show, he was completely void of obnoxiousness, and (surprise!) he was actually funny!
More than the sketches, though, I actually liked the in-between sections with Stiller talking to the writers, or introducing cast members. It really emphasized the show's freedom, and helped to avoid the "in your face" feeling of other comedy shows. These segments felt as though Stiller was welcoming you into his world, and such efforts felt sincere.
In fact, it may have been these efforts that coaxed many guest stars to make appearances on the show. It's great to watch the show in the 21st century and see celebrities who were stars at the time such as Roseanne and Tom Arnold (who were then married), Garry Shandling, and Mark Wahlberg (back when he was "Marky Mark"). It's even more exciting to see some people before they were stars make appearances, such as Judd Apatow, David Cross, and Jeanne Tripplehorn.
So there were a lot of noteworthy qualities to this comedy show. The fact that it aired at 7:30 on Sunday nights opposite "60 Minutes" on CBS and "America's Funniest Home Videos" on ABC was probably not a good sign. Still, while this show may not have been meant to last, it lives on thanks to reruns on Comedy Central and a much-deserved DVD release. In fact, I hope Andy Dick re-watches these episodes so he will see what he did correctly in his career, and hopefully change his obnoxious ways.
Some really GREAT bits here; one which hasn't made mention yet is "Ask Manson." "How do I get out tomato stains?" "The stain, THAT'S ME!" Or the Gradie's Oats commercials, with a really unstable Wilferd Brimley. COPS, filmed in Ancient Egypt ("You got a permit for that burning bush?") or Salem, Massachusetts. The Few Good Men parody: "You can't handle the truth! Do you want the truth?" "I WANT THE TRUTH!" "GIVE ME A T!" "T!" GIVE ME AN R!" Etc. etc. Followed by an explanation by Ben of why the cast wasn't good enough to play Jack Nicholson. Way sharper writing than SNL has done in a long time. Some dross in there but on the whole first rate sketch comedy, buy or rent if you're a fan of the parties involved.
This show was probably really good in its day but unfortunately it just isn't funny enough to keep watching it. I got hold of a few episodes and although the odd joke is original enough to make you giggle, the general gist of it is more a case of period rebellion that doesn't translate any more. The series relies on a set of cameos that loose their comedy value as some of the actors are even dead now. It's also a bit americanised too, being British i have to hammer this web site to figure out whats going on with some of it. I'll probably try and get hold of the rest of the episodes and if you're a massive ben stiller fan like me, you're best off seeing the show for yourself to understand what i mean. Worth a watch but not hyped.
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