|COMEDY SERIESTHE LEAGUELIL DICKYCOMEDYFXX|
Right now, everyone is looking for some kind of reprieve from being locked up at home due to the spread of the coronavirus across the United States. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards anytime soon, but The Office executive producers Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman think they’ve figured out a way to make light of the situation by crafting a new workplace comedy series inspired by the sudden rise in employees working from home due to the outbreak of coronavirus forcing people to practice social distancing.
Deadline was first to learn of the currently untitled coronavirus comedy series, though it’s not necessarily about the pandemic. Paul Lieberstein and Ben Silverman, better known to The Office fans as the frequently maligned Toby Flenderson and one of Jim’s business partners at their company Athlead, are creating the series that is said to focus on “wunderkind boss who, in an effort to ensure his staff’s connectedness and productivity, asks them all to virtually interact and work face-to-face all day.”
The series is in the works at Big Breakfast, the comedy production banner Silverman runs, where he’ll executive produce the series along with and Luke Kelly-Clyne College Humor and Kevin Healey Scare Tactics. They’ll also be working with Howard Owens’ Propagate Content, which will have Rodney Ferrell serving as an executive producer as well.
Silverman, who was also once an NBC executive, explained the inception of the series and his hope for what it will become:
“So many of us are jumping on daily Zoom meetings — for work and beyond. We are in a new normal and are personally navigating ways to remain connected and productive at work and in our home lives. With the brilliant Paul Lieberstein at the helm, we think we have a series that not only brings humor and comfort during this troubling time but will also be an inventive and enduring workplace comedy for years to come.”
While the prospect of trying to craft a series around the coronavirus outbreak sounds like a bad idea at this time, there’s no indication that the pandemic will actually play a part in the overall concept of the series. In fact, it would be easy to pull something like this off without introducing such a grim plot device.
What I’m envisioning with this series is a show with a format that echoes what we’ve seen accomplished with movies like Unfriended and Searching. Both of those films play out entirely on computer or mobile device screens and successfully tell a solid narrative. Modern Family did something similar with an episode that unfolded across the ensemble cast’s various screens, and it worked pretty well. But if that’s what this series will be like, can that concept be sustained for an entire series? Or will they need to take...
In the second episode of FX's new sitcom, Dave, a running gag turns into a masterful punchline when show star Lil Dicky is confronted with nonstop comparisons to fellow white rapper Macklemore ahead of his first performance ever. The fact that said performance is to take place at the funeral of 10-year-old boy who was a fan of both Dicky and Macklemore has already ratcheted the discomfort level to historic highs, but when that punchline lands, it's the sitcom equivalent of the big twist at the end of Common's “I Used To Love H.E.R.”: You see it coming, it's almost too on-the-nose... but you can't help but laugh your ass off. Dave is one of the best comedies on TV because with Dave finally finds the perfect outlet for his quirky comedic voice.
Dave is the brainchild of Lil Dicky, but Dave — as in Dave Burd, the name Dicky's mom gave him — is the mastermind behind Lil Dicky. Conceived as a side door into comedy — or maybe a backdoor into rap — Lil Dicky emerged on the internet in the midst of the so-called “blog era,” when new rappers were cropping up as quickly as DatPiff could buy data to host their mixtapes. Nervous about his place in the landscape as a skinny, neurotic, Jewish, white guy, Dave conceived of Dicky as a way to confront his incongruity with preconceived notions of a rapper — as well as to confront his greatest shame, which he addresses in Episode Three of the show, “Hypospadias.”
Lil Dicky rapped in a jokey, absurdist style that allowed him to poke fun at the tropes of hip-hop — or so it seemed. He took the piss out of exaggerated stereotypes of manliness, of flossing and flexing, of being too cool to pretend that it's not all an insecure bid for both attention and acceptance. In fact, Dicky was bald-faced in the justification for his schtick, telling HipHopDX he started rapping “simply to get attention comedically, so I could write movies, write TV shows and act.” That openess worked against him as much as for hm, despite hip-hop's professed fondness for “keeping it real.” When he was put on the 2016 XXL Freshman cover, many in hip-hop flipped their wigs. Purists saw him as a culture-appropriating, insulting, offensive interloper. Even I called him out over the popularity of his song with Chris Brown, “Freaky Friday.” Dicky's willingness to cast himself as an outsider seemingly left him outside looking in — until now, that is.
Along the way, Lil Dicky decided he liked rapping, but was hamstrung by the jokey persona he'd cultivated — ironically, no one would take him seriously. They did when he actually rapped though. As quiet as its kept, Dicky is one of the better technical rappers of his generation, capable of juggling complex syllable sounds, tempos, and gut-busting punchlines every bit as well as or better than...
Every person I’ve spoken to about Dave Burd’s new semi-autobiographical series, “Dave,” is already aware of the FXX comedy’s key art. You probably are, too — it’s the one with a close-up of a man’s crotch. All you can see are pink, flowered boxer briefs with a waistband that says “Dave,” and there’s something else… something… what could it be… ah, yes: There’s a small bearded man popping out of the pouch giving you a thumbs up. In other words, this unseen dude has a tiny man where his penis would be — or, more specifically, he has Lil Dicky where his dick would be, which serves as the cute in-joke for those who recognize Lil Dicky as the small bearded man and as a brash, baffling turn-off for everyone else.
For what it’s worth, the poster accurately reflects what the new series is about. “Dave” tracks a rapper whose stage name is a dick joke, and yes, much of “Dave” features the kind of crude, dick-based humor you’d expect from early-aughts Judd Apatow comedies, or “Eastbound & Down,” or “Da Ali G Show” — all of which, when combined, give a decent idea of what to expect from “Dave.” The eponymous lead describes his professional identity as a parody of the posturing bro-energy found in conventional rap music, and, as the first season progresses, “Dave” feels like it’s ready to apply that mentality to its own stories. Though the soft-spoken artist still gives into a masculine self-obsession not far removed from the insecure men constantly talking up their endowment, there’s enough wit, creativity, and compassion for skeptics to take a second look and fans to invest wholeheartedly.
When the series begins, Dave Burd played by himself has already made a name for himself on YouTube as Lil Dicky. His videos have garnered millions of views, but he hasn’t been able to monetize those play-counts. He has no record deal, no perceptible level of respect in the music industry. In his late 20s with an unshakable faith in his talent, Dave spends most of the pilot trying to make an impression on YG, a rapper he hopes will perform alongside him in a new song.
In reality, Dave Burd followed a similar track, breaking out on YouTube with “Ex-Boyfriend” in 2014 before releasing his debut album, “Professional Rapper,” in 2015, featuring guest artists like Snoop Dogg, Fetty Wap, T-Pain, and more. Now, he’s got more than 6.5 million YouTube followers, and, of course, his own show on FXX. By all accounts, “Dave” looks to capture his rise to prominence while shedding more light on who Dave is when he’s not being Lil Dicky.