DISCLAIMER: There are *minor* spoilers in this review. If you don’t want to know any of the general plot plus some details in between, I suggest you watch and then come back!
The Iliza Schlesinger Sketch Show is a Netflix Original series in the vein of similar shows that came before it on Comedy Central like Key & Peele, Chappelle's Show, Kroll Show, and Inside Amy Schumer. The show consists of six, twenty minute episodes of non-stop, occasionally connected, sketches starring the popular comedian Iliza Schlesinger and a few of her presumed friends.
Episode one is meant to grab a hold of any newcomer. It's a quick 20 minutes and Iliza utilizes every second, although unfortunately not to the best of her ability. The first episode has a handful of clever concepts that jump straight to the punchline and completely skip over their set up. This makes the sketches move quicker, but they have almost no bite to them; they're all just extraordinarily weird. There's not a single sketch within the pilot that stands out among the rest, and some are certainly less worthy of their screen time, but none stand out as the best of the best. The sketch with the most potential in episode one had to be the one that starts it all, and that's "Female Jackass,” an outdated play at the male centric stunt show "Jackass,” yet even that missed the mark almost entirely. Based on the first episode alone, this is certainly a series to pass over, but we will trudge forward into the uncertainty of the next five.
The second episode manages to generate a few more laughs than the pilot, and that's a success story in its own right considering how painful the first was. This episode focuses much more on the longer sketches than tiny nonsensical ones like the pilot. Starting and ending on a sour note, the episode succeeds majorly with it's "Mystery at Sea" sketch cracking fun at murder mystery docu-series. It was a genuinely clever concept that made me smirk all throughout. The AA meeting skit managed some laughter but ultimately made for a more awkward extended skit than necessary, and the same goes for an audition centered short that supplied more cringe and desire for it to conclude than genuine laughter. A better outing… but still not in the same ballpark as any of the shows mentioned up top.
The effort to dive into each episode has quickly become a repetitive one, as each new episode seems to encapsulate the exact same content as the last. Nothing changed as I journeyed closer to the season finale, and things in fact seemed to get more tiresome as they went forward. What is so infinitely exhausting about the writing here is the execution; the concepts are decent, sometimes they're even great, but the ultimate delivery to the screen doesn't hit quite how it should. When the show features a successful moment, the sketch milks it for all it's worth, and NOT one makes it to the end of the sketch being the same level of funny. This show clenches onto its weirdness for dear life and that's all it has going for it: being outlandish and weird. If there’s a major positive to say about the short six episode run, it's that the opening and closing credit song is incredibly catchy. Beyond that… stay far away from this tiresome creation, and this is coming from a fan of Schlesinger's stand up.
THE VERDICT: SPILLED POPCORN