Pop Culture

Prank or PR Genius: Kristen Schaal

I know Kristen Schaal from her stalker role in Flight of the Conchords. She is also the voice of the character, Mabel, in my sons’ favorite show Gravity Falls. So, I figured I’d be in for some interesting, albeit awkward, comedy in her special on Comedy Central.

I was in for it all right.  About thirty minutes into the special, the entire thing derailed. Completely and utterly fell apart. I watched in disbelief as she started to make mistakes about the word airplane, pronouncing it “r-plane” and then she ran off the stage. I was completely confused. Surely Comedy Central, in their experience and wisdom, would not have allowed a show to unravel and then air it. I mean didn’t they just cancel Chappelle’s Show? She came back out onstage and a little girl was heckling her from the audience. Schall challenged the girl to take the stage if she could do it better. Sassy girl, Chloe Noelle, then took the stage and provided three minutes of hysterical relief from the awkward confusion of Schaal’s special.

Kristen Schaal: Live at the Filbert started off well.  She performed a skit with an amorous pot and wooden spoon. Her “Taint Monologues” were clever and original.

I chuckled through her “Audition for a Magician’s Assistant.”  So, I was surprised to watch the comedy train derail half way through.  Or did it?

Am I that out of touch in my mommy yoga pants and pony tail? Have I become too old to appreciate the comedy of today? I went to search engines to find some answers. Then it dawned on me, Schaal had tricked us! In her tweets and interviews, she said that it went poorly. Her special aired on April 1. We were supposed to be confused and uncomfortable as we watched! Phew! I wasn’t the only one confused. She has the comic adeptness of Andy Kaufman. We are all talking about her, and she is a PR genius!

Kristen Schaal’s special on Comedy Central is available on DVD.  I think it’s well worth the $8.49 on Amazon, if only for the purpose of discussions about what makes good comedy and what makes good performance art.


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