The exploding popularity of home video made it somewhat easier for aspiring young filmmakers to tell a story on tape and get it seen. Yet, although videotape was significantly cheaper to work with than film, there was still the hurdle of editing all that cheaper to produce tape together into a coherent program. All of that has begun to change with the advent of home editing software available on many of today’s home computers. All of which means that anyone with an unsatisfied creative itch and too much time on their hands can set out to make their own television show.
Just ask Leonid A. Mandela and Andrew A. Fisher, the creators of the sketch comedy series “Delirium.” This episode 4.0, an improvised, live performance entitled “The Absence of Everything,” was produced after Mandela and Fisher had gone for 24 hours without sleep…and it looks like it. Trippy and weird more often than it is humorous, the show features a number of mostly forgettable sketches tied together by a variety of, dare I say “Pythonesque” non-sequitur transitions. One recurring theme, amusing at first, if tactless, is a recurring series of PSAs pushing a benefit concert for homeless bottled water. Featuring a talking water bottle and modeled after those obnoxious Sally Strothers spots, the novelty quickly wears off.
Which is usually the case in DIY sketch comedy shows. It’s extraordinarily difficult for seasoned pros to keep the writing quality top-notch. It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that amateurs have such a hard time filling up a program with good stuff. Case in point: another recurring bit that starts with “Obnoxious Duo Shopping.” In it, Mandela and Fisher substitute grossness — stuffing their mouths full of food — and loud, obnoxious behavior for true comic writing. Other Obnoxious Duo bits get scattered throughout the show, leading the viewer to wonder where !
the art ends and real life begins.
As one of this duo is a skinny little guy and the other is a rather rotund individual, Mandela and Fisher seem to be presenting themselves as twisted and edgy cyber-savvy incarnations of such classic comedy teams as Laurel & Hardy and Abbot & Costello. Unfortunately for them, at least as demonstrated in “Delirium 4.0 – The Absence of Everything,” their physical characteristics are the only thing they have in common with their famous — not to mention funny — predecessors.