For fans of the newspaper The Onion, which originally began as a college project, the brand has been expanding these past few years. With editions in several cities, online videos and audio clips, books, and even a movie, there is no shortage of The Onion's distinct type of humor. This month, The Onion also launched two television shows: Onion SportsDome on Comedy Central and The Onion News Network on IFC.
As a fan of the video and audio clips, but not one of sports, I was initially disappointed at Comedy Central's announced series. Because the sports-themed clips released online frequently had nothing to do with actual sports stories, but rather parodies of the genre of sports reporting, I found them entertaining. But I assumed a full half hour would have to take its source material from current events. Not necessarily the case. In the first few episodes, SportsDome plays more to the stereotypes and trends in the industry, rather than specifics. The hosts, Mark Shepard (Matt Oberg, Ugly Americans) and Alex Reiser (Matt Walton, One Life to Live), are incredibly funny, and get plenty of barbs in on each other. Even for the non-sports fan, the program is worth checking out.
The Onion News Network is slightly different, in that the jokes are not about one subject, and it stars only one host, sharp-tongued Brooke Alvarez (Suzanna Sena). She is joined by a number of other "reporters" and "commentators," including some like Duncan Birch (Brian Huskey, Free Radio) and Lauralee Hickock (Julie Brister) who appeared in the online video clips. Some of the previous clip segments continue, such as my favorite, "Today Now!", so that the series feels like a longer version of the shorter videos released on the web.