Comedy has 5 golden rules. Set in stone. Don’t bother googling them. It’s a secret. The only people who know all five are myself, Jay Leno (obvs), and Sting. But even if you are observing all 5 of the totally-not-made-up rules it’s not a guarantee of success. Because comedy only works when it works. When it doesn’t, it does not. Understood?
What I’m saying is, the old axiom that comedy is harder than drama is true because laughter is a crapshoot. How else do you explain Richard Belzer and Anthony Anderson in the Law & Order franchise? Sometimes the joke just does not go over, even one as well-crafted as comedy rule three: “Pies, pies, pies…”
Take Premarital Six … PLEASE! <—See what I did there? Premarital Six is a web series, written and directed by Tom W. Metz III, about a bachelor party gone awry. Six friends meet for a night of debauchery, and wind up separated from the party, only to be reunited in jail. Each episode is the story of how the attendees came to be under arrest.
The episodes are exercises in absurdity, almost improv inspired. There is a distinct air of “Yes, And?”. The principle that dictates actors accept the logic of the given premise, without question. Done well, it can lead to inspired comedy. In Six it mostly leads to characters humanizing inanimate objects.
Episode 2 “Funny Love” is about the character Dave’s romance with a plastic vagina mold. In Episode 3, “The Devil Himself,” Daniel gets trapped in an apartment with an evangelical, pastry obsessed sadist who forces him to weigh his life against the life of the cake he bought for the party.
These episodes are more or less sketches, and none of them take you anywhere you weren’t expecting. There are no surprises, no twists that grab you- no expectations dashed. Rather, the stories conclude in ways you expect. Maybe that’s a product of the story structure, but it feels more like flat humor.
This is not to say Premarital Six doesn’t deserve a look. Humor is subjective, and while this story wasn’t for me, it wasn’t dumb either. Something you expect when the premise is dudes at a bachelor party, and none of them are Zach Galifianakis. It’s a worthy effort, and well-crafted at nearly every turn. Just next time, more turns.