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Sarcastic humor carries new comedy show

If watching Michael Showalter (Wet Hot American Summer) and Michael Ian Black (VH1’s I love the… series) sneer at each other and argue for half an hour sounds like an enjoyable experience, Michael & Michael Have Issues is the show to watch.

Unlike other popular comedy shows, Issues is not filled with crude language, gestures and connotations – instead, most of the humor is sarcastic and simple. However, a few times in the pilot, “Greg the Intern,” Showalter and Black take it too far and cross into the realm of stereotypical and overdone distasteful comedy.

The style of the episodes will remind viewers of childhood days watching The Amanda Show, in which “behind-the-scenes” footage – that is arguably scripted – takes up as much of the episode as short skits in front of an audience.

The pilot centers around high-school intern Greg, who attempts to write an article about the duo for his high school newspaper. Black does not want to participate.

However, after overhearing Showalter’s answers to Greg’s innocent questions, Black changes his mind, and a feud fueled by an article in a high school newspaper is born.

The scenes behind the sketches portray both comedians as egotistical actors searching for the spotlight, competing with each other to be the star “Michael” of the show instead of the “Ringo” or “Garfunkel” second man.

The sketches range from mildly funny to “wow, this is strange,” but because the comedy goes from sarcastic to vulgar to ridiculous and covers a variety of topics and pop-culture events, there is likely a sketch in each episode for everyone.

While most of the jokes don’t merit hilarious laughter, they are enough to generate a smile or get one chuckling. The simplicity and dry, serious humor makes the half-naked “fight” scene and annoying phone calls entertaining.

Blog posts and Twitter tweets have kept fans up-to-date with the making of this show, which makes its premiere all the more interesting. Black and Showalter have also encouraged fans to help in their “viral marketing campaign” by putting up posters across the U.S.

Even if viewers are against recent comedians’ distasteful fare, the few crude comments in Michael & Michael Have Issues aren’t enough to bar watching this show for moral reasons or cause groans of disgust throughout an episode.

Rating: B-