There’s a tradition in comedy of presenting a Jenga tower of a parodic framework—you’re watching an infomercial, say—and then gradually removing blocks from the premise until the whole thing collapses, sometimes in ways that implicate the audience. There’s also a long tradition of critics painstakingly reverse-engineering the blueprints for those towers in ways that allow the audience to feel less implicated, because participating in that exegesis, understanding how the thing works, moves them safely outside the thing itself. Anyway, here’s the thing itself, from Terence Nance’s new HBO show Random Acts of Flyness:
There’s a lot to talk about here in terms of how this works, what it’s saying, and what it’s not saying, but let’s be honest: We’ve all been doing a bang-up job lately of carefully and intelligently parsing the difference between gallows humor and systemic racism—just look at the Sarah Jeong situation!—and we’re pretty sure that everyone who watches this sketch, reads about it, or sees an excerpt on Fox News a few weeks from now will understand and enjoy what Nance is up to without any caveats or explanations from the peanut gallery. In fact, we’re so sure about that, we’re also going to drop a link to the full first episode of Nance’s show, which HBO has put up on their YouTube page, and then embed the full version of writer/director Shaka King’s short film “LaZercism,” which not only has a similar premise but is briefly excerpted in Random Acts of Flyness:
You can do this, America! You don’t have to write long comments or emails or tweetstorms or editorials about who the real racist is, based on these comedy sketches. We all believe in you!