Stop me if you’ve heard this one.
I say “knock knock,” then you say “who’s there,” then I say “banana,” then you say “banana who,” then I say “knock knock” again, then we repeat it all a few times, then I finally answer “who’s there” with “orange,” and then you say “orange who” then I say “orange you glad I didn’t say banana.”
Comedy Central’s new Onion SportsDome is a lot like that old kid’s joke. You might chuckle a bit in the end, but it’s awfully repetitive.
Onion SportsDome debuts January 11 at 10:30 p.m., and is a joint venture of Comedy Central and parody-newspaper-turned-parody-website The Onion.
The premise: the half-hour program skewers the inanity of cable sports news with The Onion’s trademarked deadpanned delivery of utterly absurd content. It’s The Onion, so it should be funny, and it is, even if it is sometimes a little cheap and easy. For example, the story about a teenage boy trying to break the single-day record for masturbation. See, it’s funny, because teenage boys like to masturbate. It’s also cheap and easy for the same reason. But it’s still funny. Is it funny enough to merit about three minutes of screen time? Maybe not, but they astutely break the joke up throughout the program rather than, umm, shoot their load all at once.
Maybe I crossed my own line into the land of the obvious and tasteless there, but it’s only appropriate as SportsDome makes its own forays into questionable taste. In one segment we are introduced to a disabled Iraqi vet who faces discrimination in his bid to become an MMA fighter, and in another to a little girl dying of cancer who is kept alive only by her hatred of a particular baseball player (“I hope he gets cancer like me”).
So, yes, at times obvious and tasteless. But it’s still funny.
The humor is also generally very accessible. One does not need to be a sports fan to get the joke when the anchors rush through several years of soccer coverage in a moment or two before abandoning the topic altogether (“Type MLS into Google and I’m sure you’ll find something”) or when crystal-meth-fueled hallucinations are covered like sporting events.
So, yes, at times obvious and tasteless. And accessible. And, most important, funny.
Unfortunately, it’s all so repetitive. Yes. We get it. It’s making fun of sports, sports news in particular. Well that joke really runs out of gas very quickly. Although the two screener episodes get more mileage out of the concept than they have any right to, both episodes still feel like SNL skits that ran on far too long.
The Onion online and in print makes for a great time killer. The Onion SportsDome may burn out the fastforward button on your DVR. Entertaining enough to check out, but this is a 50-yard dash run in marathon time.