Comedy writer Adam de la Peña follows his idol, Gary Busey, in Comedy Central's newest reality show.
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2003  

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 Himself (13 episodes, 2003)
Adam De La Peña ...
 Himself (13 episodes, 2003)
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Comedy writer Adam de la Peña follows his idol, Gary Busey, in Comedy Central's newest reality show.

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fake tv show | See All (1) »

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Somewhere, between reality and insanity, Is Busey

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Comedy | Reality-TV

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17 June 2003 (USA)  »

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Gary Busey: Fear is the dark room where the devil develops his negatives.
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Referenced in Tosh.0: Billoon45 (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

A twisted, surreal, unique and achingly funny TV experience.
6 May 2004 | by (www.liquidcelluloid.blog.com) – See all my reviews

Network: Comedy Central; Genre: Comedy/Reality; Average Content Rating: TV-PG; Classification: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4);

Season Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)

Somewhere between reality and delusion, student and teacher, sanity and insanity - lies Gary Busey. And somewhere between all of those things, as well as between the documentary and the improve comedy lies Comedy Central's latest Kaufman-esquire work 'I'm With Busey'. The show, taken at face value, chronicles creator and star Adam De La Pena (writer for 'The Man Show') achieving one of his 'life long dreams': to be mentored by his favorite actor, Gary Busey. Busey puts Adam through rigorous and ridiculous training tests all in an attempt to espouse to De La Pena, his knowledge of the world. For Gary Busey, as it turns out is, or thinks himself to be something of an superhuman, his sensory perceptions and understanding of the mysteries of the universe. He thinks about things that kings and lords of great empires can't even spell. Or so he tells us.

This show is twisted, completely unique and at times howlingly funny. The bit in 'Imagination' when Gary pitches a cookbook about road-kill to a publisher who expected to get a biography almost had me hyperventilating I laughed so hard. You'd just have to have the taste for this type of material. 'I'm With Busey' is like a post-modern reality show, one that laughs back at us for laughing at it. I'm sure this show will put off many of those used to laughing at the endless parade of dysfunction on TV for just that reason. Because this time, this show is always pulling the strings. As wild and weird and loony as Busey may act, the viewers still can't be a step ahead of him. That's how far out of field the show is. It's a great world to visit.

In an odd way, what sells the show is the chemistry between Adam and Gary. At any given moment it can seem like Adam is a winy little kid led by worldly Busey or that Busey is wired on something and Adam is the grounded straight man just trying to survive. They seem to both enjoy (even need) each other's company and at the same time, can hardly stand each other to the point of nearly coming to blows in the mean-spirited (post-modern) 'Fear' episode. The show's packaging is top-of-the-line as Adam (giving monologues throughout the episode) really knows how to end each show on a high note. The best ending kicks come in 'Imagination' and 'Romance'. Each episode is about Busey explaining to Adam some abstract concept. In the process the show creates original TV moments where we see "nerd fights", Busey trying to put corks in cows to save the Ozone layer and Adam temporarily switching Busey out for another, equally ridiculous mentor - Andy Dick (complete with Busey throwing Dick's drink on the floor in a childish show of dominance). The series' finale couldn't have been more perfect.

What makes this show such a treasure and so potentially enduring (I know it was canceled) is the enigmatic nature of it all. 'I'm With Busey' is the perfectly embodied realization of Comedy Central's long-standing obsession with Andy Kaufman's brand of reality-bending comedy. Watching the show enough you get the sense that it has to be improved with some basic structures set-up around it. There are coincidences that are to perfect to be real and emotions and situations arising that are so insane they seem impossible to fake. The great mystery around the show is that it is unclear how much Gary Busey himself is in on it. Does Busey really think the show has deep messages and he is doing a service to the world? Is Adam, knowing the way he actually behaves (and he does behave this way), steering him for laughs on a show? Or is it all an exaggerated act with self-parody on Busey's part? You can look at the show 10 different ways, like a broken mirror, and it will fit into just about any explanation you bring to it. Much like Ozzy Osbourne on 'The Osbournes', Busey isn't just the butt of the joke, but a witty character whose eccentricity makes him infinitely more fascinating to watch than the would-be models that populate network reality shows. It's so weird, it's so unique, it's so off-the-wall and so brutally funny in an uncompromising way - I might even call it "brilliant".

Who's with Busey? I'm with Busey.

* * * * / 4


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