Do you know what a Hedge Fund is? I don’t. And neither do the boys at the Claude S. Dutchy, LLC hedge fund. But, damnit, they’re determined to make it rich enough to race Lamborghinis, orbit earth in space, swim with their pet mako sharks and have orgies! Or so, Claude says in episode two of this uneven, yet satisfying web series, Hedge Fund.
Creator, writer and director Chris Murray conceived the idea a couple of years ago, ‘while the economy was strong and money was flowing’ about four slackers without a clue who decide for no good reason to start a hedge fund. The boys operate out of their one bedroom apartment in Manhattan concocting angles to success that include uber-skinny jeans, croissandwiches and one bogus ten million dollar promissory note.
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The brains behind the operation, Claude Thornbush, played by Tyler Evans, gets the bright idea in the premise pilot after overhearing a couple of real hedge funders discussing space trips, orgies and Lamborghini’s in the bathroom at the restaurant where he waits tables. Evans, it should be noted is the bread, butter and the glue of this show. Without trying to be hyperbolic, I’ll liken him to Will Ferrell both in his portrayal of a character with unfounded, yet unbounded confidence, and his comedic delivery. This guy is hilarious and one of the main reasons to watch the show.
Murray’s writing is one of the other reasons. The asscrack revealing skinny jeans in episode five that are so tight you can sit without needing a chair is a thing of genius. Great sight gag, and a true comment on our culture’s youthism. There are a lot of priceless pieces of writing throughout. One of my faves is when Frenchy, Phillipe Rochambeau, played nicely by Evan Neumann, tells Claude that , “In France I was a homosexual, but here, no more, “ in ep 7, after lifting Claude out of despair with a poem. Every ep has its gems and they are pretty easy to come by.
Skip Murphy, played by Timmy Cassese, is a somewhat dull character, however, which I won’t fault Cassese for, it just seems like there isn’t a whole lot for him to do. Chris Murray plays Dutch Alison and has a few funny beats throughout and a little more to do, but frankly everyone seems to stand in the shadow of Evans’s Claude Thornbush. And that’s okay, because that character is so big, he kind of needs this mild ornamentation to play against.
The two best eps in the so far seven ep series are four and five. Claude’s fake meeting on a park bench with the no-show investor Larry Zatharian had me rolling in ep four. And five is the one with the Jackass and Johnson skinny jeans. This ep also has a couple of standout cameos from Jay Della Valle playing a ‘Bad Boy’ who represents to the boys what skinny jeans can do for a man’s sex life; and Violet Krumbein as ‘Fashion Girl’, the bi-sexual disaffected store clerk kept me smiling throughout.
As for the technical side of things, the production quality is okay, not great, but not distracting. The sound could use a little evening out sometimes, which can be a bit annoying. But overall there’s a heart to the whole enterprise, from the site itself, which is clean, simple and easy to navigate, to the charm of the characters, their camaraderie and subtly wacky stories.
The rollout of these very watchable five to seven minute eps is a little odd as far as I can tell. Starting with a couple in March, two in April, one in May, one in June and the last one in August, it’s all pretty uneven. A little regularity might help build a consistent fan base.
It’s definitely worth checking out. There is something to watch here for sure with some sharp writing and very funny performances, hopefully with time they can iron out the glitches and turn it into what it promises to be, a great, not just good, web series.