The Pauly Show – Episode One, is a brilliant idea on paper: a stand up comedian with a ramshackle sitcom pilot live on stage. Convinced that he will be picked up by the mainstream, the pilot doesn’t go at all to plan. During his big attempt, the show falls spectacularly apart and collapses around him. However in reality it just doesn’t work.
Pauly is a funny man, inventive, brimming with ideas and has a natural ability to entertain. Influenced by TV shows such as Happy Days and Men Behaving Badly, his idea is a good one; a strong male character depicting and poking fun at everything that is clichéd in the classic sitcoms that we have all come to love. There’s a lovely feeling of nostalgia towards classic nineties sitcoms like Seinfeld, The Cosbys and Friends. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t pull it off.
Constantly reminded of his low, low budget, Pauly takes us through his day-to-day mundanely comic life, interjected with his observational stand up routine at the Comedy Club, Seinfeld-style. Along the way we meet his post lady, Bill Cosby, his best friend and his dog, all played by unsuspecting audience members.
What works well are Pauly’s offbeat silly lines; the audience are incorporated well even though it becomes slightly repetitive. The constant, confusing sound effects are whimsical and not always necessary but the segment jingles have a loving whiff of Flight of the Conchords about them.
The problem here is the show is supposed to run away from itself with Pauly clinging on for dear life and trying to save it from complete destruction; somehow I couldn’t help but feel that this was actually happening in real time and control was lost forever. Episode One is a brave attempt at snatching the chalice of sitcom heaven back from Miranda Hart. I don’t think she has anything to worry about.