The average, tragically unhip American knows of Jenny Slate from her work on Saturday Night Live — first, as the girl who dropped a live F-bomb during her first appearance on the show, followed by her joining the ranks of Janeane Garofalo and Joan Cusack as a funny lady who only lasted one season on the show.
However, if you are not tragically unhip — which means, for the purposes of this exercise, that you hang out in the New York comedy scene — then you already knew that Jenny Slate’s work on SNL barely scraped the surface of her talents, which especially shine when she works with her friends.
For the record, I am tragically unhip, but there’s this thing called Tumblr that lets me know what all the cool people are talking about, which is how I learned that yesterday, a new episode of Slate’s long-abandoned web series Besties x Besties had come out.
Slate first collaborated with comedy-making partner Gabe Liebman and director/boyfriend Dean Fleischer-Camp on this short and strange web series two years ago, under the Gabe and Jenny Vimeo account. The premise boils down pretty much to “Gabe and Jenny goof around for a minute and a half,” but while the sense of this being a giant inside joke does permeate each episode, the performances are captivating and it’s hard not to enjoy watching them. And this newest installment shows both a definite upgrade in Fleischer-Camp’s technical skills as well as Liebman and Slate’s comedic timing.
I like Besties x Besties more than the first project Slate rolled out this summer, immediately after the announcement that she wouldn’t be returning to SNL. Don’t get me wrong, the stop-motion Marcel the Shell With Shoes On is charming and well-made, but as cute as the little guy is, it’s just slightly too random and distant for me. It’s either an issue of personal taste, or yet more evidence of my tragic unhipness.
Either way, though, it’s clear talent at work here, a unique point of view that it’s not surprising didn’t make an impact at Saturday Night Live, which rarely strays from the middle of the road. Slate might not have been the right fit for SNL. But that just makes her all the better suited for the Internets, which can hopefully expect to see more from her soon.
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