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Seinfeld may have been about nothing, but “Stella,” a new show that premiered last night on Comedy Central, is about the absurd. Think about the two guys waiting on a bench for Godot, add a third, mix in some head-scratching humor, and voila, you have “Stella.”
Now we don’t want to draw too many comparisons between the high concept of Beckett’s play and the low-brow humor of this television show, but it’s one of those things that you either get or don’t. Fans of the Stella troupe members’ (Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter and David Wain) live shows will love this new series, but the indoctrinated will probably produce a collective, “What the… (fill in the blank here)??”
If their faces look familiar, they should be. The boys have been together nearly 17 years since forming the sketch comedy troupe The State at NYU, which they turned into an MTV series. Black was most recently featured on NBC’s “Ed” and Showalter and Wain were co-writers and co-producers, with Wain directing the cultish hit, Wet Hot American Summer.
In the first episode, the trio is introduced as unemployed roommates who get kicked out of their apartment and are forced to go hunting for new digs. Their dumbass and sometimes inexplicable escapades include: splitting a single bean in thirds to eat when they're homeless for a night; winning approval from a co-op board with a modern dance routine wearing skunk tails; and then reapplying for their old apartment wearing fake mustaches.
But the fun doesn't end there. The trio then performs impromptu open-heart surgery on their old landlord, who just so happens to be a Nazi war criminal. Yells Showalter: "We need to operate...someone get me a butter knife and a straw!"
Yeah, we know it doesn't make sense, but it's a whole lot of fun anyway.
"Stella" is on Comedy Central Tuesdays at 10:30 PM.