Tuesday, July 28, 2009

SMBC Theater

So we all read SMBC, of course, because it's great, so of course I was intrigued to see that it now has a spinoff sketch comedy site, SMBC Theater. It currently only has four videos, so I thought I should take a look and report my findings.

My findings are: They are bad.

"Genie" seems to be the one they are most proud of, given that it's the one embedded on the SMBC blog, the one he used for his votey image the other day, and the one that loads first on the main page (at least for me, every time - is that happening to other people?) It's mildly funny, but not really. Yeah, it's a parody of all those "unintended consequences of wishes" stories, but usually those stories themselves have such crazy logic (see: Simpsons Get a Magic Monkey Paw halloween episode) that they are parodies of themselves. And here the consequences aren't any funnier, it's just supposed to be funny that the people don't care. So I guess we are supposed to laugh at the fact that they are bad people?

"LOLcat 50 Years Later" was even worse. Even if I wasn't sick of lolcat humor, this hardly even had that: maybe 3 of 4 actual lolcat images. The rest was just: depressing. And why exactly are we supposed to believe that the cat was 50 years old? He looks as young as all the other people in the SMBC videos. PS the cardboard coffin just reinforces the super-low production values of all of this. Just saying.

"Gateway Drug" Just didn't feel original to me. And at this point I'm recognizing actors from previous skits. Still probably the best of the group though.

"Keyboard Kitty" does not deserve my time.

So yeah, in the end: Mostly disappointed. I've always been impressed that Zach Weiner could produce a consistently good, well drawn comic 7 days a week, so making a good sketch show on top would be more impressive still. I wonder how long it will continue for - it's got to be damn hard to do, and I don't know how good a response he'll get.

SO THAT'S THAT. Did you guys watch these? What do you think?

Are you all as surprised as I am at just how much Zach Weiner looks like a stoner?

In other news, I just finished reading Problem Sleuth. And holy crap, I don't even know what to think. I don't know what just happened to me. All I know is I'm going to be having some fucked up dreams tonight.


  1. I think I'd rather wait and see what else they are able to produce before passing a final judgment on this project. No, the ones they made for it's launch weren't that funny, but this is still their very first attempt at making movies/acting in them.

    I think SMBC is very regularly funny, so I know that Zach and his crew do have some idea of how to make jokes. It's pretty clear that none of them are very good actors/producers at this point and it's something they'll need time to get better at. I have a feeling that once they get comfortable with this project they're going to be making this that are much funnier.

    Right now it reminds me of the kind of shit sketch comedy that high school students produce by the ton and upload to youtube so their friends can bask in their innovative hilarity. I really hope the project moves beyond this stage, though.

  2. in other news: good lord does 616 hit a lot of xkcd tropes





  4. "Genie" is the only one I have watched so far, and, while I certainly agree that it wan't great nor was it very funny, but it did make me laugh out loud. I particularly enjoyed Zach's own part, plus when his buddy goes through his "I want to be famous" wish. I guess I just really liked the pair's attitude.

    But then, I think of myself as very easily amused, so take that opinion with however much salt you like.

  5. I only watched genie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Maybe just because Zach is so weird looking, I would enjoy him in anything.

  6. Mal, um, he wears glasses because of keratitis? have some fucking sensitivity, dude.

    Yeah, I was impressed by 616 and how much compressed cliche-xkcd it was. There was no math, though, which is probably good in this case.

    And I'm probably gonna get lynched for saying this, but... the thing with SMBC is, once you've read one of them, you've pretty much read them all. I mean, Zach Weiner's sense of comic timing is excellent, he has a hilariously sick mind, yada yada yada, but he can't HILARIOUSLY SUBVERT MY EXPECTATIONS IN A TWISTED "DARK HUMOR" WAY when I'm expecting him to hilariously subvert my expectations because that's the point of EVERY SINGLE COMIC.

  7. Harrison, 616 *does* have math.

    The formula randy used to come up with the joke.

  8. Hmmm, the genie one was the best of the lot. Not hilariously funny, but really... your criteria for "sick twisted logic" in the story is a flippin Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode?! That's really reaching seeing as that is ALSO a parody on the genie of the lamp idea. How about.. well, I dunno... ALLADIN as comparison material.

    Either way, I did actually emit a little laugh at the point where the fat guy allegedly killed Zack's parents and he's all "yeah, they probably had it coming".

    But no, it's not up to the standards of the comics (yet). Too soon too call "SUCKS" though.

  9. not impressed with the lolcats ones, but I did enjoy Genie and Gateway drug. Carl's just ornery because of how much xkcd sucks.

  10. No, the simpsons is a parody of a very old short story. Wherein the characters have wishes granted but with TERRIBLY CONSEQUENCES. The simpsons was just the example I was most familiar with. My point is: It's an old theme, the only thing that SMBC did that was new was have the characters not care about the consequences. NICE TRY THOUGH.

  11. I only saw Genie, but that instantly put me off any of the other ones. Good thing too, because Genie appears to be the best one.

    I thought the exact same thing as Silas P. Windlemeister or whatever he's called: it looks like a bunch of high school students doing their TOTALLY HILARIOUS sketch show.

    I understand that it's just new stuff for them, and that it may get better over time, but I'd rather not watch that entire process.

  12. Did they know there's quite a hunge range of royalty-free music encompassing all sorts of themes on the internet? You can write crap but they'd still seem a bit new and interesting if only it sounded like it.

  13. I did watch them, and I pretty much agree with you.

    captcha: cudepie

  14. I saw them last night and wondered what the fuck. SMBC has some really amazing humour, so why couldn't he carry that into SMBC Theatre?? It's frustrating that Zach can't make this good.

  15. "Genie" just seemed like an SMBC comic except waaaay too long. SMBC comics are good when they're brief. The N-panel ones are usually N-1 panels too long for the joke.

  16. I saw them last night and wondered what the fuck. SMBC has some really amazing humour, so why couldn't he carry that into SMBC Theatre?? It's frustrating that Zach can't make this good.

    Probably because video is a radically different medium from webcomics.

  17. OMG i started reading SMBC and I found this:



    Which came first? Because either randall was a jerk alll the way back then, or SMBC is just as bad as him.

  18. OMG~~!

    Nah but seriously xkcd was launched Sept. 2005. The SMBC comic is dated Apr. 16 2003.

    You dooo daaa math.

  19. Are you shittin me? Keyboard kitty is the BEST thing I've ever (EVER!) seen. Well, at least the second best.

  20. Dragon2041: Come on, you honestly don't think that either one could have come up with it independently? I mean, it's not exactly a new joke.

  21. Randy reads SMBC. I imagine it was just cryptamnesia, though.

  22. One thing that's always confused me about Zach is that every now and then he makes references about him not being as good as Randall Munroe.

    I'm just wondering if he's being sarcastic because his comics are over 9000 times funnier than Randall's

    Also, I love MSpaintadventures. If you thought Problem Sleuth was trippy, you should start reading the current one

  23. I find SMBC unfunny. I have yet to laugh at any of it, granted the art is decent, and it's no CTRL+ALT+DEL but it's depressing as hell and I really dislike the humour. Not that I don't like darker humour, I love it, but it just seems like some sorta bandwagon/gravyboat scenario, a watered down, feeble attempt at stirring revolt in me, but it only arouses confusion.

    Better than XKCD, granted, but in short, it's a lame attempt at Perry Bible Fellowship. You want good, dark, clever humour with excellent timing-that's the place to go. Forget this amateur.