We all love Amy Schumer, everyone knows how brilliant Key & Peele are, and you’ve watched Will Ferrell’s classic SNL sketches countless of times. But in this weekly column Sketchy MVPs, The Laugh Button shines a light on comedians from our favorites shows and troupes who don’t often get rightful credit for their contributions to sketch comedy.
It had been a while since The State brought bizarre sketch comedy to MTV. In fact by 2007, MTV was the last place people thought to look for ground breaking comedy that didn’t involve P. Diddy or Ashton Kutcher. But then came along Aziz Ansari, Rob Huebel, and Paul Scheer (along with director/writer Jason Woliner) with Human Giant.
Combining new content and online videos the three filmed together, as well as premises they fleshed out while performing at New York theatres like Upright Citizens Brigade, Human Giant produced two seasons (as well as a 24 hour live network takeover special) of laugh out loud comedy. The sketches were a perfect mix of truly absurd to horrifyingly realistic. Ansari, Huebel and Scheer complimented each other amazingly well. Yet amongst the three of them, Scheer arguably was the strongest at seamlessly switching between grounded and bat-shit crazy characters. In fact, many of Scheer’s funniest moments on the show came from his simple expressions to otherwise unbelievable scenarios.
Sadly Human Giant never returned for a season 3, partially because Ansari became busy with Parks And Recreation and a successful stand-up career. However, Scheer found TV success on his own following Human Giant, becoming beloved as Dr. Andre Nowzick on FX’s The League. He also has a recurring role on ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat, and has starred and co-created a handful of shows and web series like The Hotwives. Currently, Scheer co-hosts the beloved podcast How Did This Get Made?, and co-produces FOX’s latest foray into late night sketch comedy Party Over Here with SNL alums The Lonely Island.
But for now, let’s relive four of our favorite moments from Scheer’s time on Human Giant (though don’t be surprised if we feature Huebel and Ansari in the very near future).
Watching someone trick their friend into thinking he’s dating his buddy’s mom is already too absurd not to love. Granted, the graphic depictions of Scheer receiving… let’s just say TLC from Huebel disguised as his mother helps add onto the humor. But the sad look on Scheer’s face when he realizes the truth is priceless… it almost makes you feel bad for a guy who fell in love with his best friend in drag.
“Illusionators – We’re Sorry”
Scheer and Ansari’s recurring characters The Illusionators were a hysterically absurd yet somewhat accurate portrayal of Criss Angel-like magicians. Many of the tricks… sorry, “illusions” Scott Devil and John Satan pulled off were funny in and of itself (from cloning someone to catching missiles with their teeth). In the two part sketch above, though, The Illusionators find themselves in hot water over their use of the N word. Basically, Scott Devil and John Satan attempting to make amends with the African American community by apologizing to every single person by name (only making it up to their favorite actor, Anthony Anderson) and then bringing in a black member to join The Illusionators (played by Michael Kenneth Williams… yup Omar Little of The Wire!) is comedy gold.
It’s painfully funy to watch Scheer try to fit in as his friends sing commercial jingles he doesn’t know the lyrics. Not just because he looks silly while doing it, but also because at one point we’ve all likely found ourselves in a similar scenario as Scheer’s character (likely minus the commercial jingles though). It gets more personally painful as Scheer tries his hand at a jingle for Doritos. However in part two of this bit, Scheer gets the sort of redemption we’ll never experience ourselves.
“Old Fashion Fun”
Such a simple but funny bit, a group of friends just looking to have some old fashioned fun at a playground… only to find themselves getting chased by police, because apparently it’s not appropriate to be at a playground without kids. The message hear is clear: stay indoors.