Laughing at The Unemployed

If you’ve spent enough time working for Internet startups, you’ve probably spent some time not working at all. ­­Even if you haven’t had the pleasure of an extended couch-surfing vacation, there’s plenty of humor — though not a wide variety of it — to be found in The Unemployed, a new Web series about a group of unemployed slacker deviants.

What happens when you can’t keep spending your unemployment check on beer and cheese doodles? That’s the basic premise of The Unemployed, written and produced by The Group Collectively, an alliance of award-winning filmmakers. In the first episode, Oskar, Crystal and Kent are all laid off from Dynamic International and begin the usual humiliation of attending pink-slip parties, networking with other out-of-work folks, and calling happy hour hors d’oerves “dinner.”  In the second episode, the trio reunites at a free clinic, itching from a sexual escapade gone slightly awry.

While I laughed most of the way through the first two episodes of The Unemployed, I’m a sucker for lowbrow humor and an endless stream of  sophomoric, boys’ bathroom-type jokes. If that’s not your cup of tea, well, you’ll probably be tired of The Unemployed after the first two minutes. But you probably didn’t like Superbad either. If you can check your maturity level at the door or lack any to begin with, you’re in for a good six-minute laugh.

Corey Glynn, as Kent, delivers a solid performance of a painfully awkward character, while Justy Hutchins impressively plays a bitter Crystal from Accounting. But Eddie Deirmenjian, as Oskar, will not be mistaken for an Oscar-caliber actor. His character feels like one you’d see played by Saturday Night Live resident fat guy Bobby Moynihan in a skit that you wish would just end. He looks the part of unemployed shlub, but he’d be difficult to watch if it weren’t for the top-notch dialogue he provides himself as one of the show’s writers.

The Unemployed deserves high praise for a Web series. I can honestly say that the first two episodes feel like sitcom pilots or good SNL material: great concept and writing, with a few kinks to be worked out in production.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see The Unemployed wind up on TV. It’s a bare-bones buddy comedy that, with a slightly larger production budget, would warrant comparisons to Two and a Half Men as a leader in testosterone-driven humor.