The Special Without Brett Davis is one of New York's greatest oddities. It's a completely volunteer-run public access television show that's "not" hosted by the Andy Kaufman Award-winning comedian Brett Davis, but rather by a seemingly limitless variety of atrocious characters he's developed. Every Wednesday at 11pm, it features a who's-who list of New York's most obliquely funny comedians as guest stars, plus live music from acts like M. Lamar and The Thermals. It's broadcast live on Manhattan Neighborhood Network's television channel (TWC 67 & 1998; RCN 85; FiOS 36), and streamed online. You can also catch a great archive of episodes on Davis' YouTube channel. They're celebrating their 100th episode this Wednesday, and you can attend the live taping by checking out the details on the Facebook event here. Can't make it this week? Not a problem. They tape it every Wednesday at Manhattan Neighborhood Network and it's free to attend.
All of the episodes of The Special are completely outrageous, but a recent one, "What Could Possibly Be Amiss...", has completely fucked me up. Newlyweds Ruby and Chip head out to an open house on Cranberry Island, and things go from WASPy to weird immediately. From their awkward meeting with the realtors showing the house to a fight scene that I think is actually longer than the battle for Helm's Deep in The Two Towers, I was howling and cursing at my television the entire one-hour run time. The cast on this episode is a fucking dream team, including Lorelei Ramirez, Amy Zimmer, Ana Fabrega, Patti Harrison, Ruby McCollister, Colin Burgess, Joe Castle Baker, Ikechukwu Ufomadu, Andrew Tisher and Lena Einbinder, with a live score from Tommy MacNamara, and musical guest Stuyedeyed.
The whole time that I was watching it, I was like, "I'm going to write a review of this episode." But what is the point? It's perfect. I don't go into Jimmy John's and tell them how to bake French bread all day, serve it within four hours of when it was baked, and then top it with locally purchased produce and all-natural meats that are all sliced in every store, every day, resulting in sandwiches that are not only Freaky Fast, but Freaky Fresh. I don't run my mouth to the Jimmy John's team about how they should be using Hellmann's® real mayo, Grey Poupon®, pure olive oil blend, red wine vinegar, and oregano-basil. I'm not about to lecture them on using only wild-caught tuna, and real cheese that's genuinely fresh. It's just simply not my place. And it's not my place to say anything about episode 95 of The Special except that watching it feels like what I imagine Bob the Minion felt like for that brief, soaring moment when he was declared King Bob right in front of Stuart and Kevin's jealous ass faces and all of Great Britain.
But don't take my word for. Set aside an hour for yourself this evening and cue this up. If you don't think it's funny, I'm sorry that you're such a coward.
While you're here, check out the menu at Jimmy John's below. Prices and availability vary by location.