Off the bat, we can say that this is T. J. Miller in your face and interacting with those who dare to make eye contact with him. His first HBO comedy special was filmed in his hometown of Denver, Colorado at the Paramount Theater. Here is what HBO tells us about the artist & the show:
Comedian and actor T.J. Miller, who stars in HBO’s hit series Silicon Valley, takes to the stage to showcase his irreverent humor in his first HBO comedy special. T.J. Miller: Meticulously Ridiculous was taped in September 2016 at the Paramount Theater in Miller’s hometown, Denver, CO. The special highlights Miller’s high-energy absurdism and unorthodox comedic observations on life, death and everything in between.
Produced for HBO by Funny Or Die, the special features Miller’s offbeat take on topics such as nightmares, the differences between marijuana and alcohol, his favorite American historical figure, the challenges of talking about death, how we treat animals, his approach to mortality, and the memorable experiences he’s had with his beloved battle axe. Featuring a water-drenched Miller and plenty of audience interaction, T.J. Miller: Meticulously Ridiculous is a look into the wacky mind of one of comedy’s most original voices.
That can all be reinforced by the following trailer.
Now, the question we must ask is “His he ridiculous?” The hour special gives us the opportunity to find out. It debuted on Saturday, June 17 and now airs across the platforms including HBONow/Go. The following is my take on whether he was funny in his set and truthfully I say before getting into particulars that it all depends (safe answer here) on your taste in humor. I can see where some may have liked the absurd bent to his stuff and others may have been left to wonder if he should have quit his day job (which he did). So just where does T. J. Miller fall here?
Well, the first ten minutes or so were pretty flat for me. His mind danced around a lot, which a number of comedians through time have done (none better than the late Robin Williams) but Miller just wasn’t striking me as funny. He went off on a riff about a person in the audience that looked like a “cool teacher” to him right in the middle of talking about nightmares. None of it, to me, was funny. Thankfully, it picked up though at times. His time talking about marijuana versus alcohol use built it back up until he riffed on how a guy in the audience laughed and he took us away from his own moment he was building on and never went back to it.
So the point I am making is that I thought he had the basis for something good, but the construct of his set and of any particular theme kind of just fell away without a conclusion or funny point. He indirectly proved his point himself at one moment. He was talking about “things he doesn’t give a fuck about” when he listed not using public toilet paper on the public toilet seat as one of them. Why? He said because “you can’t get sick through your butt…(hem & haw)…..well except through AIDS or syphilis or any other STD”, thus killing his own joke.
Don’t get me wrong I love the riffing style, but some have mastered it better than T. J. Miller. I have faith though, given time, he can improve on that. His story-telling goes smooth however. Take his isolated story on George Washington Carver and peanut butter or his whole battleaxe story and he nails it. I also can appreciate his tone for the absurd, but you got to know that not every joke of the absurd is going to stick especially if you keep going bigger & bigger with it. That’s is what I meant when I said it depends on the humor you like. Not everyone dives into absurdity.
So, that leaves us with the question of whether T. J. Miller was funny, ridiculous, and no they are not the same thing, and/or meticulous in his delivery of this HBO comedy special. Feel free to way in below, but I say he wasn’t funny enough, but he certainly was ridiculous. He was meticulous in giving us genuine T. J. Miller but his set couldn’t quite be labeled as such. What do you think?