In Crash Test, the comedy special from Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer, a glass bus drives around Los Angeles picking up various comedians to do stand up performances.
After some brief opening bits, Huebel and Scheer throw to the bus’s computer diagnostics system “Busey” (Andy Daly), who runs through to make sure everything is functioning properly. This list of equipment includes “glory holes” and “lube squirters,” to the hosts’ surprise. It’s a fun bit, but it ends too soon.
The hosts then take the audience on a “celebrity tour” of Hollywood, driving past random houses and ad-libbing who (or, in some cases, what) owns them. They then “stumble” on Rob Corddry. He puts on a Boston accent and showcases his late-night yard sale. It’s a great skit.
The rest of the hour-long film plays out in this manner, with little sketches between the hosts and comedians like Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Natasha Leggero, and Jack McBrayer, to varying degrees of success.
Natasha Leggero, for example, does straight stand up following two sketches, and it feels out of place as a result.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we get great bits from Aubrey Plaza doing some late night digging in her front yard and Seth Morris as Bob Ducca reading one of his patented lists of obscure ailments. Again, they only suffer in their short duration.
Midway through the film, the bus stops at Hollywood and Highland, and the hosts interview people on the street. Dancers, singers, and an impromptu fight sequence between the Joker, Harley Quinn, and Batman ensues. It’s a diversion that works fairly well.
By and away the greatest bit in the entire hour comes soon after, when the hosts send out a member of the bus audience on to the streets with an earpiece, and the hosts feed him what to say. It is awkward in the best kind of way.
The silver medal, then, must go to Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant reprising their Reno 911 roles. Their deliveries are flawless, and it is great to see those characters again.
On the whole, Crash Test is a great ride. It is uneven in its mixture of character bits and straight stand up, where the stand up sets feel out of place. It also suffers from its length, where bits could have benefited from having some room to breath. But it is wall to wall quality comedy.
I could see this format translating well to television through a network like Comedy Central or Adult Swim. If that were the case, they could pare down the quantity of comedians and let the bits last longer and develop further. I would watch a Crash Test television show, that’s for sure.
As always, thanks for reading!
Have you seen Crash Test? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments!
—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)