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NPR Arts & Life

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'The Comedians' And Cameo Appearances

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This week, paired with the return of Louie, FX introduced a comedy series called The Comedians, which features Billy Crystal and Josh Gad as ... well, as Bizarro Billy Crystal and Josh Gad, forced to work together on a fictional FX sketch comedy show.

Does that make sense?

We talk about the show-business satire aspect of this show, how biting it is or isn't (particularly toward Billy Crystal), and how it fits into the tradition of shows like The Comebackand The Larry Sanders Show. This particular series has gotten pretty unhappy reviews from a lot of critics, but I acknowledge — and I acknowledge in this episode — that I vary from that opinion and mostly like it. I don't think it's particularly acidic satire, but it did make me chuckle.

There's a lot of cross-pollination between backstage satire and the making of ironic cameos, so perhaps it makes sense that we paired The Comedianswith a discussion of cameo appearances. When are they distracting? When do they help? What can they bring to the table?

As always, we close the show with what's making us happy this week. Stephen is happy about a book that his daughter asked him about of her own accord. Glen is happy about a game he's been enjoying and a new podcast (I know; you are dropping your teeth in shock!). Chris is happy about the new season at a place he goes to enjoy a traditionally beloved kind of entertainment. And I am happy about listening to lots and lots of voices.

Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter: the show, me, Stephen, Glen, Chris, producer Jessica, and producer emeritus/music director/friend/hero Mike Katzif.

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