Another gem is a satirical look at pharmaceutical adverts, in this case a lovely woman (Stearns) is filmed frolicking in a meadow in slow motion soft focus as the voice-over narrates copy for the drug’s side effects. “‘Raxill’ – for the embarrassment of chapped lips. May cause dry mouth, thirst, headaches, numbness …discomfort in the head...bushing of the crotch…sudden agonizing pain…and delusional insanity.” To name just a few.
And for something completely different, (pun intended) the AOC gang put the revered Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman through its paces. Funny even in a non-Olympic year, the sketch involves athletic thespians who strive to break a land speed relay record while delivering Miller’s lines, in full costume, and at full speed. Willy, Biff, Happy, and Linda trade dialogue, and a baton.
In the vein of Monty Python, AOC has the same sort of absurdist and surreal style of humor. There is a slapstick and physical component, but for the most part, the premise of each sketch takes a more cerebral approach. And like the Pythons, AOC has plenty of bawdy moments. Plenty.
The only criticism I would offer is that some of the sketches run too long. A bit about polite bank robbers was very funny at first, but if they shaved off a few minutes it would have been that much funnier. But the group from AOC is in good company. Saturday Night Live, a benchmark in sketch and variety comedy, has suffered from the same thing over the years.
However, Konkle, Beeler and the rest of the troupe are expert at what they do, and Archaeology of Comedy is a great discovery in the world of humor.