Have yourself a little Midwestern joke-snack.
Everything is constantly so unimaginably bad, but one thing that is good is “Detroiters,” which premiered on Comedy Central last night. I watched “Detroiters” on the Comedy Central website this morning while I ate breakfast because I don’t have cable. I laughed a normal amount and felt good after watching it. I’d highly recommend it in a sea of online articles telling you which TV shows to watch.
The show stars Sam Richardson (whom you might know as perfect sweetie-boy Richard Splett from “Veep”) and Tim Robinson (who you might know from some of his Saturday Night Live work or his immaculate episode of “The Characters” on Netflix). Both of them are Detroit natives who came up in the Chicago comedy scene. Richardson leans more towards an “aw, shucks” type of good-natured sensibility in his comedy, whereas Robinson can vary wildly from normal-to-awkward line delivery to, as seen in the above hyperlinked “The Characters” link, totally off the fucking rail. The trappings of a perfect buddy comedy, you see.
In “Detroiters,” the two play Sam and Tim (of course!), two low-rent ad men trying to make it big in Detroit. Sound like, uh, nothing else on TV? Fair enough, because there is always a dearth of comedian-led comedies about things that aren’t, you know, comedy or shows set outside of New York City or Los Angeles. They’re just two guys trying to do their jobs, whether it’s landing a big deal or filming a new commercial with the local hot tub seller. The stakes are low, the laughs are frequent.
I’ve been a big fan of both Richardson and Robinson since — get ready, I’m gonna play the card — their comedy days. When I was starting out, they were the big fish; in a sea of $5 Harold nights, these were the kinds of guys you’d actually pay to see when they were up onstage. Not only is it wild and fun to see these two on TV, but it’s also nice to see a sitcom with some Midwest sensibility to it. I remember showing a coast-based friend one of their sketches from back in the day, who tepidly responded with, “no offense, but this is very Chicago.” No shit! They were doing sketch comedy in Chicago, often meaning the jokes were steeped in specificity of character rather than one-liners.
What I mean to say is: “Detroiters” is nice. It’s well-meaning. It’s the best possible example of one of my favorite Vines. It’s not steeped in pop culture references and it doesn’t get by on snark about its subjects. It’s laughing with its middle-class, Midwestern protagonists, not at their expense! To set a sitcom in Detroit could raise concerns, political or otherwise, but these are two guys putting a show in a city they know best, that’s all. It’s not saying much about Detroit other than, “these are the people who live here, who, to be honest, are pretty similar to you and me.”
Anyway, here is a perfect joke:
I’m so happy https://t.co/65Agh54gfO
Fran Hoepfner is a writer and comedian living in Chicago.