The Simpsons pull funny stuff out of their butt in “Simprovised.”Homer Simpson was born for improv comedy. Besides his improvised vocalizing in the episode fade-outs, like the Steve Miller “Joker” song, the head of the Simpson family will do, or eat, anything. The first rule of improv comedy is to always say yes. It doesn’t matter if you learn it at a comedy club or on a cruise ship. If you say no, you kill whatever set up your partner was trying to throw at you and kill all momentum. Homer Simpson hasn’t said no to anything since he almost had an affair with a co-worker in the fifth season.
It’s kind of a break in character to have Homer be afraid of public speaking. He’s zinged Burns before, peed onscreen in a virtual reality body suit and been called up on stage by magicians, hypnotists and motivational speakers. But improv classes teach us to believe in the premise and it’s not a break in character for Homer to be unprepared. Marge has failure hams fortified with Zoloft in the freezer because she’s always prepared for his unpreparation.
Marge is always prepared. She works her keester off and gets only gets the noise of one hand clapping. Homer is her keester’s biggest booster. Marge is an enabler and Homer is a able to keep her satisfied just enough to hang on to her week after week. Of course she’s not appreciated, no one is ever appreciated until they’re gone, as we learn from Lenny tonight, or was it Carl? I was always able to tell until Dan Castellanata riffed at the end, and now I can’t tell Klang from Kodos either.
But I can still tell good jokes from bad and the jokes in the improv weren’t even ghosts of jokes. The best one was when Homer pantomimed being hung as an auctioneer of nooses. He killed with that one and a mime is a terrible thing to waste, irregardless of how satisfying it might be.
Homer’s improv group get to close the Springfield Fringe Festival, where alternative comedy and music acts including, but limited to, improv, standup, light comedy work and ironic burlesque, are encouraged to fail. Improv troupes like the 22nd City group, now spring up everywhere and the festival shows that everybody’s a comedian. In places like Springfield, there are probably adult edumacation classes less than the $500 the professional amateurs are charging.
There are rules to comedy. Chicken and pickle are funny. Cucamunga and Seattle are standbys. Cops and evidence rooms are an old staple. Wiggum is getting dirtier and dirtier as the series goes. The unclaimed ransom money is a deep pocketed crime. I thought the therapy hounds were so cute, until they were up and were outcuted by the Dobermans.
The Simpsons tossoffs are usually their best bits and my favorite line is when Homer finds the cookies that Marge discarded and learns that the Keebler elves are real.
Moe’s has hosted comedy in the past. Krusty the Klown, whose visage haunts the comedy unwanted placards, debuted his truth-telling standup act there. Comedy is saved tonight by truth. The truth of committing to the joke. The sad thing is you have to look for the jokes under the jokes this episode. The writers are making fun of the quality of comedy you get through improv, but in their attempt to make it seem homogenized, they show it to be merely lame. The punchline is that the audience laughs.
Everything that was supposed to be spontaneous has already been planned: reality shows, lip-sync singing, awards shows and live Q&As with animated characters. The three minutes of seemingly improvised answers sounded off the cuff but maybe a little too off-the-cuff for a guy who wears short sleeved shirts. But he’s also the guy who wears wear glasses with eyes drawn on them so he could better nap at work. The big reveal was that he prefers Chicago deep dish pizza over New York. And the car he drives is a hi-bred, which is just old and terrible.
The episode moved, but for a comedy show doing a show about comedy, the laughs were slim.
“Simprovised” was written by John Frink and directed by Matthew Nastuk. The Simpsons stars Dan Castellaneta as Homer Simpson, Julie Kavner as Marge Simpson, Nancy Cartwright as Bart Simpson and Nelson, Yeardley Smith as Lisa Simpson. Pamela Hayden plays Millhouse.
But It All Went By So Fast: Homer Live! Call 1-888-726-6660. Now. For additional information go to www.thesimpsons.com/homerlive. Now, they are still running this number. The phones are being handled by the cast of Empire.
Treehouse of Horrors: The Complete Selection. Treehouse Beautiful. Sept. Edition. Get a Half life. Get a Half Life. Big finish. Get a Half Life. Wait for Applause. Call Now for Homer Live. No Flanderses. Corn Niblets. We’ll see you on the other end.
22nd City Improv Night. Occupancy: 150 Guests. 0 Hecklers. Ever wonder what would happen if ….? Then come to the unused premises clearance. Want to perform as perform all the rejected props are dumped in a 12 hour long marathon.
22nd City Welcomes you. Because of complaints we no longer make fun of: Religion. Politics. Weight Problems. The state bird. Pearl Ballet. Hillbilly Culture.
This Man…is no longer permitted on the premises. He is wanted for: stealing material, ruining stolen material, fowling bathrooms, groping wait staff, men and women, drunkenness, nudity, offensive suggestions, pickpocketing, suspicious fires, corn-cobbing (don’t ask).
Rules of Improv. Never Deny. Believe in the Premise. When in doubt, pretend to make a salad.
Acceptable Stereotypes: Person of color. Drunk Fishermen. Choreographer.
Location: Golden Gate Bridge. Planet: Venus. Bronte Sister: The Shy one. Landlocked country: Bolivia. Occupation: Light show designer. Popular lunch meat: Salami. Relationship: man and bowling ball. TV Star: Alf. Philosophy: Objectivism.
Improv Tonight: Tomorrow we spray for roaches, but still open.
741 1/2 Evergreen Terrace. Mad Mom Magazine: 12 Recipes they don’t deserve. Call soon for Homer live – a worried Millhouse is standing by. Luigi’s medical marinara. Stilt Rental. Hats you’ll never wear again. Official throw up bucket sponsored by New Buzz Vanilla. Truth Comedy. Premises Premises. The name was good. Springfield Shopper.
We parked in Bill O’Reilly’s Spot. Free to a good home. Don’t blame me I voted for Kodos. Bring Back Futurama Again.