Two guys are wandering the desert. They’re hot, hungry, thirsty and exhausted, and they’ve only got about 30 seconds per episode to exhume themselves from this shared hell. So, they try and make the best of their dire circumstances. The stranded one-up each other with one-liners.

Well, actually it’s mostly Steve who’s trumping Dennis with the punch lines in Lost in the Desert, sort of the Lennie to Dennis’ George, or maybe more like Steve is the Laurel to Dennis’ Hardy (sans the rotundness).

The series, which rolled out at one a day for the first two and a half weeks of the year (‘every day for a fortnight’ goes the promo), is a smidgen of Beckett, only with commercials. Each episode leaves you with’s (a “sketch comedy destination”) jingle, which is reminiscent of Expedia’s jingle though a tad less pleasant/more grating.

Dennis and Steve (played by Jason Bonduris and Tim Astor) share, debate and finally try to triumph over one another in being the most deprived. They’re at their best / most comedic when hamming it up and improving it out to try to prove who’s lost it more:

Louis Normandin does a stand-up job with the structure of the scenes. Plenty of long shadows and effective mirages abound. And you have to give creator Josh Peterson credit for keeping the installments short, even for web video.

If you don’t like one episode of Lost in the Desert, the time investment is so small that you’re willing to give another a shot. But that format does put a lot of pressure on the final moment, when the comic strip-like punchline is delivered after a few panels of set-up. More often than not Lost in the Desert won’t make you LOL, but there are plenty of chuckles, smiles, and “That was pretty funny,” moments to be had. And it’s about 1/120 as long as Gerry.

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