Screen Reviews

Get A Life

Volume One

Rhino Home Video

Since the inception of Comedy Central, I’ve often grieved and bitched about its (or other’s) major oversights of great television comedy of the past decade: Chris Elliot’s Get A Life. Few people remember the show which had once filled the prized scheduling slot of being sandwiched in between the Simpsons and X-Files, but for the few “in-the-know” who do, it holds a certain special spot in their memory, like a lingering scar of a vicious war wound.

Elliot’s humor is highly Kaufman-esque in his ability to ride that fine line between being twistedly funny and simply annoying, capable of haphazardly teetering back and forth into both territories. The show is Elliot at his best, flying high out from his classic work on Late Night With David Letterman, accentuating a new independence and greater originality.

The basic Get A Life sit-com formula was this: The first two thirds strictly accentuate Chris’ role as being ridiculously loathsome – a thirty year old paper boy living with his parents (played by his actual father, radio great Bob Elliot, and Father Knows Best’s Elinor Donahue). The final third – just when Chris’ capacity to annoy has reached it’s fever pitch – is a cul de sac, where Chris achieves the most ludicrous transcendental moment via an anti-/counter-climatic event. The show is groundbreaking classic comedy, certain to be misunderstood and under-appreciated for years to come. The show’s death after two seasons could more than likely be attributed to complacent American audiences which wish the clown/buffoon to retain some sense of charisma, but, hey, comedy’s not pretty! Rhino Records, 10635 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025; http://www.rhino.com


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