What does it take, being a good host? Being fast with the jokes? Managing to at least pretend to be interested in whatever the guest is promoting? Looking good in a suit? Not being afraid to poke a little fun at whomever they might be interviewing? If those are the qualities necessary for success, Bob Kushell looks to be off to a pretty good start.
Anytime with Bob Kushell, which is shown Thursdays on Crackle.com, is a well-condensed talk show experiment. The first episode packs two sketches, a Jon Cryer cameo, some monologue banter, and a pants-dropping John Stamos interview into a tightly paced and highly watchable five minutes. Even when a joke’s not working, no need to worry — it’ll be over soon.
Filmed in Kushell’s Van Nuys, Calif., garage (which actually looks more spacious than advertised), the show’s deliberately low production values mean jerky camera moves, poor lighting, and a laugh track that sounds like it’s being generated by one of those novelty keychains that also makes fart noises — a gimmick that could get tired quickly. But as far as hosts go, Kushell is actually pretty assured, demonstrating a confidence in front of the camera that you wouldn’t immediately expect from a career sitcom writer.
Kushell did get some on-camera experience during the writers’ strike last year, producing two videos with Christina Applegate about the strike’s effects on a marriage. The videos are notable for what they are — really funny — and what they’re not — sanctimonious, a feat, since most shorts created by writers during the strike were typically one or the other. And he looks likely to get the best out of the connections he’s made after 18 years as a TV writer — upcoming guests include Neil Patrick Harris and Jennifer Esposito. It’s unlikely that he’d be able to convince his regularly scheduled guests to drop their pants had he been working the desk on Late Night. But those who step into Kushell’s garage are friends amongst friends, which in the world of comedy writers means anything goes. So, depending on how many buddies Kushell has, Anytime could have a long, healthy and hilarious run.
This review, along with more details about the show, can be found at NewTeeVee Station.