Where to begin with The C-Spot, a new “multiplatform comedy channel” distributed by Sony Pictures? Let’s set aside the fact that the online comedy space is already overcrowded. The biggest problem for this new comedy “platform” is that the “C” seems to stand for “cliché.”
The C-Spot is a collection of short-form comedy series created by Sony and distributed through Crackle (which Sony owns), YouTube, AOL, Hulu, Verizon Wireless and Internet-connected Sony Bravia TVs. There are five shows in the package, four of which are new.
But let’s start with the name, “The C-Spot.” Oh, I get it. It’s a play on G-spot. You know, because it’s edgy. Yawn. Trust me: It doesn’t get any better from there.
Hot Hot Los Angeles is a spoof on Hollywood culture featuring good-looking guys and hot women doing deals and stabbing each other in the back. It’s trying to be a clever take on the steamy nighttime soaps, but it just falls flat and seems like it was created principally as a vehicle for the main character to take his shirt off.
I had high hopes for The Writers Room, as it stars TV’s Frank from Mystery Science Theater 3000, but those hopes crashed like the satellite of love. The Writers Room “stars” comedian Kevin Pollak as the rude host of a late-night talk show who berates his writing staff, but so far Pollak only appears via speakerphone (it probably cost too much to have him in person). It feels like it’s trying to be a mix between The Larry Sanders Show via The Office, and failing miserably to be even a bit of either.
Then there’s Gaytown, featuring comedian Owen Benjamin as the only straight man in a town that’s, well, gay. The show just moves from one stereotype to the next, never delivering anything insightful (or funny).
Of all the shows in The C-Spot, The Roadents was the best. It’s an animated bit about two guinea pigs driving a Winnebago. The animation is top-notch and the voice acting is excellent. The jokes are a little stale, but the delivery more than makes up for it.
And finally there is the Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, which The C-Spot press release claims pulled in a total of two million views in 2007 for its first two episodes alone. It’s a play on wacky Japanese TV, complete with perky host Kiko (played by Kim Evey, who produces The Guild) who “bewilders and abuses her guests.” The show is well-produced, but between reruns of Ninja Warrior on G4 and Lost in Translation — the latter being referenced in the press release — I just feel like I’ve seen it before.
While the C-Spot doesn’t fall prey to all top web series cliches, there’s enough of them in here to make you look elsewhere, and to realize just how hard it is to create a truly funny web show.