If you were like me, you had no idea what Comedy Central’s TV Funhouse was. I had always assumed TV Funhouse was just the animated SNL show which, as it turns out…they’re both the same show. The Comedy Central version, which lasted for eight episodes in 2000, was short lived but clearly attracted an audience of some sort during its time on the air. Despite running for such a short time, the show had my sides (and mind) hurting, both from laughter and the task of trying to process the stupidity of it all.
Puppets sodomizing real animals, characters eating their own poop and exploding pandas are just a few of things you’ll find in Comedy Central’s TV Funhouse, an incredibly screwed up show dating back to the epic year of 2000. There wasn’t a whole lot to discover in the measly eight episodes produced of the series, but between the variety of animals seen desecrating one another (either puppet or real animal) and the overall vulgarity of it all, the show may have found a group of fans but it wasn’t large enough for the series to make a return to the airwaves and it was condemned to the bowels of Comedy Central’s bucket of laughs. Until now. [Insert evil laughter].
If you asked me to describe TV Funhouse before I watched the set and again after I watched it, my answer would be the same: “I can’t.” There’s nothing about this show that can be really defined, as it’s such a random mash up of other TV shows, but with an epic dose of vulgarity mixed in. TV Funhouse could be best compared to the Pee-Wee Herman show, but a much stronger dose of “what the f—“ mixed in, as even though Pee-Wee is odd to watch now, this TV Funhouse was about twenty times worse.
Not that I’m complaining. Odd, quirky and incredibly screwed up shows are some of my favorite forms of entertaining and TV Funhouse was right up my alley. As much as I didn’t want to admit watching puppet animals hump real ones is funny…I’ll be damned if I didn’t laugh every time that happened. It’s such an obscene and simple concept, yet I laughed at that, along with a myriad of other sketches in the show, with the same amount of disturbed laughter as I emitted from watching Drawn Together. It doesn’t help that both shows employ a rampant amount of toilet humor, which is just about the easiest venue to pull from to send me into a fit of giggles.
While the absurd puppets in the show were enough to laugh at, the host of the show, Doug the Host (played by Doug Hale) was also quite hilarious with his various outfits to fit the theme of each episode (“Cowboy”, “Astronaut”, etc.) and his deadpan reactions to the animal’s vulgar and obscene acts. It’s all just one big pile of weird to wade through, but I didn’t object to watching one second of this show.
It’s definitely an acquired taste, but the series is well worth checking out for those that love a good dosage of potty humor. While the two disc set is comprised of only eight episodes, they’re eight episodes well worth watching over again, so don’t be so quick to dismiss this show simply based on its episode count alone. That is unless, of course, you don’t enjoy watching puppets hump animals in which case…yeah. Just stay far away. Recommended.
TV Funhouse finally sees the light of day via Paramount and they did a heck of a job on this set. While there are only eight episodes, each contain their own commentary and a slew of extras across both discs. The set itself arrives in slipcase packaging with two clear thin-pak’s with disc information on the inside of each case. Inserts are unique for both thin-pak’s, as is the disc art and overall I’m quite impressed by what Paramount put into this set. Very nice. Audio and video is your standard fair (interlaced fullscreen transfer and Dolby 2.0 Surround) and is what you’d expect from a show that’s approaching its tenth anniversary.
Starting off with the extras on disc one we have the aforementioned audio commentaries by creators Robert Smigel and Dino Stamatopoulos and Host Doug Sale. All of the commentaries are worth listening to as not only are the commentators able to give more perspective on the series with eight years past (although when these were recorded exactly is anyone’s guess), they just have about as much watching and talking about it as I did when I first sat down to watch this. An additional “commentary” is included, in the form of a video commentary with Chickie, Jason, Xabu and Dave, although it’s runtime isn’t that of a full episode and instead just shows our cast watching some of the series on an editing bay. As packed at this two-disc set is, however, they mention so much more stuff on the audio commentaries than what we ended up with—they probably could’ve made this a three disc set and just shoved all of the extras onto a third disc.
Outtakes from the Anipals and Doug is just some behind-the-scenes look into how the series was constructed. An incredibly screwed up behind-the-scenes segment is included as well, entitled “Killing Bob Hope / Horse C***” which is…well, it’s screwed up is what it is. Of all things this show managed to do and they had difficulty getting a penis sketch to work.
Moving onto the second disc we have a pair of Extra Triumph Appearances, including “On the Rob Reiner Roast” (8:15) and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” (5:16). A lost sketch is given in “Lost Sketch: What Do We Know, Part 2, with Bob Odenkirk ” (2:40) and some Comedy Central Quickies wrap up this second disc.
With extras that are as much fun to watch as the episodes themselves, Comedy Central’s TV Funhouse comes Recommended. There could have been more here to check out in terms of extras, but the commentaries on all episodes is still a nice touch, as are the other extras smattered around the disc. Be sure to keep the kids away from this one, however…that “explicit content” warning is in full effect on this set. (As if the censored “sh*t” on the description for this set wasn’t enough of an indication).
Comedy Central Presents TV Funhouse arrives on DVD on July 22nd.