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I’m with Busey

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The stated reason that we and comedian Adam de la Pena are spending time with actor Gary Busey is to learn “what makes a man a man.” But that’s just Adam being comically disingenuous: the real reason we’re watching Buse is to learn what a weird fucker he is.
Comedy Central’s new summer series, I’m with Busey, is the latest in the Celebrities Is The Craziest People sub-genre of reality programming. And though it’s been a point of pride with me that I’ve never watched an episode of The Osbornes (didn’t care for him as a rocker, so why should I care for him as a rockin’ family man?) and only made it through the premiere ep of Anna Nichols’ tour of the Borderline, I was ready to sample this ‘un. Like self-professed fan de la Pena, I’ve enjoyed Busey’s acting work ever since he made Buddy Holly more than a toothy guy in horn-rims. He’s performed plenty of able-bodied heavy roles over the years (e.g., the grinning albino hitman in Lethal Weapon) and can often liven up even the lamest B-movie (Predator 2, for example), so I was willing to give the show a shot.
The debut episode focused on four sequences:

Adam being shown around the actor’s home;

Adam watching Busey eat oysters while he waxes philosophically about the experience (Busey waxes philosophically about a lot of stuff in just one half hour; as Adam sardonically notes at one point, “Gary has a lot of answers to questions that nobody asks”);
Adam and Gary going to a dance club, with the latter made up in full drag to experience the essence of womanhood (“Men,” Busey tells us twice, “are failed women at birth”);
The duo fighting as a team on the paintball field (weakest of the four sequences, but I guess we had to include it to keep the adolescent males in teeveeland from a prolonged homosexual panic attack).

Through it all, Busey alternately offers insights and tells the wise-cracking de la Pena to shut up. Every once in a while, the show will break away to a shot of Adam looking into the camera to squeeze in an after-thought joke. At one point, after Busey makes a garbled reference to the “symbology of eating food,” for instance, the show cuts to the comedian who goes, “Let me get my Crazy English Dictionary” for translation.
Is it all a put-on or is it the actual Busey? Is it real or is it scripted? Hard to say. It’s clear the actor – still piercing-eyed and intense after all these tears – gets a kick of keeping us and the soft-bodied comedian off-balance. First thing he does, he tells our guide early on, with guys he works with is give ’em “a lovingly sensual French kiss.” Yikes! we think for a moment. Is he gonna do it? He doesn’t, but that doesn’t negate the possibility that we won’t get an LSF goodbye kiss when the series ends.
As a nil-weight summer series, I’m with Busey has its moments, but I can’t see it holding up through August. Its biggest joke is based on balancing condescension and fear – more enjoyable than the pity and disgust we feel watching a former Guess Jeans girl stumble about in spike heels, but still fairly limiting. But if being on this series gives Gary Busey a chance to parlay better movie roles, I guess it’s not an entirely bad thing.
Do I plan on watching any more eps? Naw. But I am considering renting Silver Bullet for the weekend. If I can find a copy. . .

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About Bill Sherman

Bill Sherman is a Books editor for Blogcritics. With his lovely wife Rebecca Fox, he has co-authored a light-hearted fat acceptance romance entitled Measure By Measure.
  • I saw Busey and Adam on Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday night and I tivod I’m With Busey last night as a result. After what I saw Monday, I could believe or expect anything from Busey. The man is clearly off his medication and it ought to be fun to watch.

    I’ll watch it tonight.

  • David Silverlight

    Am I the only one that thinks that this show totally sucks? I think that this show would work if there were some funny parts to it. Now, the only way that any parts would catch my attention would be if they somehow worked naked women into it. That could dress up any show, no matter how bad.

  • this is the funniest show since trigger happy tv.

  • fdfd

    nah man this is good entertainment…busey is all i have to say…….BUSEY

  • tom

    This is the funniest reality show ever! Busey is completely insane. My wife thinks he is on drugs, but I think he is just completely insane. Busey’s quotes are hysterical…you have to TIVO or tape this so you can rewind and experience the full Busey. Did I mention that he is insane?

  • oh damn!


  • Where’s my ass

    This is the funniest show I’ve seen in a while. When Busey says one of his crazy train of thought statements I laugh so hard my ass falls off!! He sounds just like this crazy guy I met once, stringing words together that make no sense but it is WAY FUNNY. If this is scripted, whoever is writing has a real gift!

  • Rob

    I happened to watch this show for the first time, and I was expecting to watch a reality-type show. I was disappointed to see a lesser-known improv comedian/actor playing a completely fictitious roll. So I hate to say it, but at least some (of not all) of the show is set-up, not reality at all.

  • Furby


  • Elizabeth

    I laughed so hard when Busey attacked Adam (the fear episode). Adam seemed like a “weenie” but it surprised and amused me when he was pushing Gary at the end (note Gary’s face).
    The show keeps me watching to find out what crazy things Gary will do next.

  • denise

    any chance I can buy I’m with Busey on DVD or VHS? That show was nuts and hilarious – I’d love to see it again!

  • I was just laughing my ass off when Gary attacked Adam in “Knife Combat” and “Bike Chicken” lol. I’m pretty sad that I haven’t seen any new episodes lately. But I heard from the guy who posts a lot of clips from the show on youtube that the show never actually got cancelled, that it just didn’t do another season yet. Does anybody know what’s really going on with it? And if it didn’t get cancelled, what can we do to help save the show?