Tag Archive: comedy central

Gonna have ourselves a time

Sick and tired of licensing out their beloved series to game developers who constantly failed to capture the essence of the show, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker eventually decided that the only way to do it right was to do it themselves. Enter The Stick of Truth, a project the comedic masterminds helmed from the get-go. They handled all the writing, personally picked a developer, and even navigated the bankruptcy of their first publisher, THQ, and the transition to Ubisoft—all in the hopes of finally conquering the last realm of media they hadn’t been able to strike gold in.

One big reason The Stick of Truth works so well? Parker and Stone penned a tale that puts players themselves in the middle of the crazy Colorado mountain town. As the New Kid, you’ll begin your adventure with the most innocent of tasks: making some friends. And it’s not long before you stumble upon Cartman, Kenny, and all our favorite foul-mouthed youths. Because you refuse to speak, however, the boys resort to calling you “Douchebag” in lieu of a real name.

The refusal to speak isn’t some cruel joke, though. It’s intentional from a game perspective and helps portray your avatar as somewhat of a blank slate. This allows you to customize your character and have some say in how he’ll look, as well as which one of four classes (Fighter, Thief, Mage, or­—appropriately, for the series—Jew) he’ll represent. I ended up making my particular “Douchebag” a Fighter that looked like Walter White from Breaking Bad for most of the game. The only typically standard customization feature locked in stone? Your character must stay a boy, even if you want to dress him up as a girl. Before you get up in arms, this actually makes sense when you analyze it from a plot perspective, because pre-teen boys (especially Cartman) would never want to play make-believe with girls.

After your class and customization options are set, the boys welcome you into the fold with the official title of “Sir” Douchebag. Being named “Douchebag” and having Cartman tell you that if you choose to be a Jew, you can never be true friends is just the beginning of a near-constant barrage of crude humor that might rub more casual fans the wrong way. But as a huge fan of the show, I laughed throughout. Every story beat helps The Stick of Truth feel like an extra-long episode and makes for a joyous celebration of what’s kept South Park such a cable staple for nearly two decades.

The writing isn’t the only thing that makes the game match the mayhem any fan of the show would expect. Parker and Stone clearly spent copious attention on even the tiniest details—you’ll be amazed at how much the animation and art style resemble an actual episode. So much so, in fact, that I actually felt I was a part of the town as I explored familiar landmarks like City Wok, South Park Elementary, and Stark’s Pond.

The old-school, turn-based combat, meanwhile, took me back to my days playing Super Mario RPG, complete with similar timing-based blocks and attacks. Each character has hysterical special attacks appropriate to them, like Cartman farting on a match to roast the entire field of foes. The New Kid’s comparable flatulence-based abilities, meanwhile, can be used as standalone attacks or to bolster normal moves, providing a bit of nuance to what starts out as a simple, straightforward system. But the more I battled, the more I noticed the lack of balance caused by overpowered status effects. If I didn’t knock enemies out in one hit, they’d often die after their first attack due to all of the freezing, burning, bleeding, and “grossing” (the game’s equivalent of poisoning) I’d stacked.

The New Kid’s farting is at its most interesting outside of battle, however, providing four of the ways you interact with the world. “The Sneaky Squeaker,” for example, can be used to distract enemies, while the “Nagasaki” can break down obstacles blocking your path. I just wish it were easier to switch between the different abilities. I’d have preferred if this mechanic were handled by the D-pad, which is instead used to quickly open up tabs in the cluttered menu screen.

The Stick of Truth offers other ways to feel immersed in the South Park universe beyond how well you can clench your sphincter, though. Some are simple, such as firing your toy bow and arrow to hit far-off switches. Others are more complex, like activating an anal probe to teleport between two points (OK, so even some of your other powers deal with your butt). When you use these abilities in tandem with your farting prowess, the world in The Stick of Truth opens up and shows a lot more depth than you might see on the surface.

The only thing about The Stick of Truth that left me truly disappointed is that it’s easily the shortest RPG I’ve ever played. I was able to finish nearly every sidequest, the main campaign, and max out my abilities in only 10 hours. The story felt like it had a natural ending and didn’t feel rushed at all, but I sure do wish there were more to it. If they left me begging for more, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, right?

The Stick of Truth is finally the game Parker and Stone have wanted to represent their beloved comedy series. Not only does it pay tribute to some of the show’s best moments, but it also builds new lore on top of that. As a game—and not just a story—it certainly could be better, but South Park fans will still feel immensely satisfied with the effort.

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment, South Park Digital Studios • Publisher: Ubisoft • ESRB: M – Mature • Release Date: 03.04.14
Finally, fans of South Park have a game worthy of the TV show. The writing, animation, and little details are all outstanding, and while a few balance issues surface during combat and the main quest is a little short at around 10 hours, those aren’t dealbreakers. No South Park game has captured the sleepy Colorado mountain town quite like this, and show creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker delivered on their promise to create a gaming experience that matches the Comedy Central hit.
The Good The Stick of Truth is a game finally worthy of the South Park name.
The Bad A bit short, a bit easy, and a bit unpolished.
The Ugly The poor odds of getting a sequel.
South Park: The Stick of Truth is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Primary version reviewed was for the Xbox 360 using a retail code provided by Ubisoft.

The VGX (formerly SpikeTV’s VGAs) have released the full list of nominees across their 21 awards categories.

Twenty of the awards are voted on by an advisory panel of 23 experts from around the videogame industry, with the last award, Most Anticipated Game, being voted on by the public.

Leading the way this year is Grand Theft Auto V with nine nominations, including Game of the Year, Best Soundtrack, and a Studio of the Year nom for Rockstar North. Bioshock Infinite has the second most with eight nominations, and The Last of Us comes next with seven. Both are also up for Game of the Year. To see all the categories and nominations, you can head over to the official VGX website.

The VGX is a rebranding of the long-running videogame awards show meant to coincide with the advent of next-gen consoles and a move to live, digital streaming across a variety of gaming platforms and Viacom Properties including Spike.com, ComedyCentral.com, MTV.com, GameTrailers.com, and more.

The new digital format will allow the VGX to focus an entire day solely on gaming, including the world premieres and breaking news the show is known for. The awards kick off live Saturday, December 7, at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, 3 p.m. Pacific.

How do you like your warlock roasted?

The Comedy Central roasts, much in the tradition of the old-school New York Friars’ Club ones, have seen some of pop-culture’s biggest names put their sense of humor to the test as they’ve been dragged through the hot coals by some of their closest friends, today’s up and coming comic stars, or washed-up has beens who are looking to get their name back out there. Pam Anderson, David Hasselhoff, Bob Saget, and Donald Trump are just a few of the chosen that have been called upon to be humiliated in front of a live studio audience by their pop culture peers. But never have so many comedians been chomping at the bit to be given a stage to roast so easy a target.

Tonight marks the world broadcast premiere of the Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen, a man who we’ve seen go from making millions an episode on a mediocre sitcom to living with a pair of goddesses and claiming to be a warlock, a rock star from Mars, and to have tiger blood running through his veins. Yes, Charlie will be an easy target indeed.

Serving as Roastmaster for the third time is Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame and this move has many calling for him to become the official host of these events, although I’m sure Roastmaster General Jeffrey Ross, who is amongst tonight’s panel of roasters (like it was ever in doubt), might have something to say about that. Also on the panel is Jon Lovitz, William Shatner, Mike Tyson, Kate Walsh (Yeah, the one from Grey’s Anatomy. I don’t know why she’s there either), Amy Schumer (who?), Anthony Jeselnik (see previous roaster parentheses), Steve-O from Jackass, and Patrice O’Neal who finally caved in and decided to do a roast.

Suffice to say, like in previous roasts, some people will bring their A-game and others will bomb horribly (although I was there and can attest to the fact that no one bombed as badly as “The Situation” during Trump’s roast, he reached a whole new comedy low that will not be seen again for generations to come). You probably think you can tell from the list of roasters who should do well and who shouldn’t. But you’d be wrong. Trust me when I say that some people will surprise you, or at least they hired really good writers to surprise you, while others will shock you with how little their shock humor works when dealing with a subject like Charlie Sheen.

All in all, for the most part the show is a good, solid laugh so if you’re interested in seeing one of Hollywood’s elite get completely trounced in-between a lot of censored swear words, then be sure to tune in tonight at 10 PM ET/PT to Comedy Central.

Originally Published: August 30, 2011, on EGMNOW.COM

Publisher: 345 Games
Developer: Backbone Entertainment
Platforms: XBLA, PSN

Release: 08.30.11

Players: Single Player, 2-4-player local and online co-op

ESRB Rating: M – Mature

The Good: Fans of the show will be laughing from the opening cut scene to the end credits
The Bad: Camera angle makes aiming difficult, game play can be repetitive
The Ugly: Huge steaming piles of manbird droppings

Based on Comedy Central’s hit TV show, Ugly Americans: Apocalypsegeddon is an original adventure featuring all your favorite characters from the cartoon. You choose to play as series protagonist Mark Lilly, his girlfriend Callie Maggotbone, bumbling wizard Leonard Powers, or the D.O.I.’s top cop, Frank Grimes. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, but the game features an RPG leveling-up system that can help balance them all out or really stress those advantages depending on your play style. After making your character decision, you’ll grab yourself a BSU 2000 (Blow Sh*t Up 2000, Frank’s newest toy that allows you to stick whatever isn’t bolted down into the chamber and fire it as a projectile) and start getting down to the bottom of all the trouble in New York City.

The first thing you’ll immediately notice is the game went with a less traditional side-scrolling view instead of the ceiling down view seen in most other dual joystick arcade style shooters. This was meant to try to give the gamer more of a sense as if they were watching an episode of the TV show, but it is a little difficult to get used to at first, especially in terms of aiming your BSU 2000 at the various manbirds, zombies, and demons you’ll come across. Some items have a spray effect where the aiming difficulty doesn’t seem as obvious, but with a lot of other projectiles, like the boomeranging hammer or arcing crystal ball, misjudging the aim can get tedious fast.

The game does do a lot of things right though, especially in the presentation. If you’re a fan of the show, you’ll love the fact that all the voice actors reprise their roles in the game and there is more than 20 minutes of original animation and dialogue in cut scenes, meaning that the game is just dripping with the humor that makes the show itself great and has enough animation for a stand alone episode by itself. The best part probably comes from being able to play the game with friends locally or online though as it helps to break up the redundancy that is typical of most arcade shooters.

All in all, the question you have to ask yourself is ‘are a fan of the show or not’. If so, the writing and animation will outshine the minor game play annoyances and is definitely worth your $10. If not, you may want to avoid this as knowing the show seems critical to your overall enjoyment of the game.

Score: 7.5

Originally Published: December 6, 2010, on Youtube.com/CGRUndertow

As a part of CGR Undertow, I reviewed South Park: Let’s Go Tower Defense Play for the Xbox Live Arcade.

Comedy Gone Ugly

Originally Published: March 9, 2010, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

The efforts of Comedy Central to bridge the gap between South Park and Daily Show on Wednesday nights have been well documented in my column. Starting with Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, and continuing on to Michael and Michael Have Issues, and Secret Girlfriend. I have previewed all of these shows before they came out and predicted that they were never destined for a long life (although I did think Michael and Michael Have Issues would have lasted a little longer than it did) due to repetitive potty humor and a lack of comical subtlety that people are starving for in today’s overpowering shock value comedy landscape. I think Comedy Central’s latest effort though might finally bridge this seemingly impossible to fill 10:30PM gap.

Ugly Americans, which premieres March 17th at 10:30 PM after the start of the brand new season of South Park, sees a young, optimistic social worker in Mark Lilly hitting the hard streets of New York City in an effort to help new citizens acclimate to the greatest city in the world. But there’s one major catch to this seemingly straightforward concept. Mark doesn’t live in our reality. He lives in an alternate universe New York City where monsters, demons, and people coexist in a hysterically twisted vision of the Big Apple. From regular folks from Croatia to zombies and chicken-men, Mark must analyze each one on a case-by-case basis and try to help them acclimate as quickly as possible before they get deported by his rival, Officer Frank Grimes, who is trying to meet his deportation quota. As if his job wasn’t difficult enough, he must also balance an affair with his she-devil boss Callie (literally, she is a she-devil, with a tail, and horns, and…you get the picture) and deal with the antics of his zombie (again: an actual zombie) roommate, Randall.

Ugly Americans is a refreshing change to what Comedy Central had been pitching into the 10:30PM abyss on Wednesday nights and I think it will be able to find an audience and hold its own. Ugly Americans has its fair share of shock value and potty humor, but it also has enough subtle undertones and room for character development that people can really get behind Mark and his hopeless quest to help the people of his demonic New York. From traversing into Hell to meet Callie’s dad (assumingly accessible via Hell’s Kitchen), to helping Randall buy new body parts as they rot off, the sky is the limit for the possible situations and different twists on classic situations that Mark can find himself in.

The only knock against it is that the animation is average at best, but Ugly Americans is so funny that only the most critical eye (like my own) will pick a little at the animation style. The voice acting and comedic timing is top notch and as long as the writing can keep up to the high bar that is set with the first episode, I can see Ugly Americans serving as the perfect transition from South Park into the Daily Show.

To help prove my point, Comedy Central has also come out with, by far, their greatest flash game yet to coincide with the launch of Ugly Americans. This standard point and click problem solving game is a great way to kill time at work (not that I would know, of course) and get a quick glimpse at some of the characters Mark will have to interact with in every episode.

CLICK HERE to check out the Ugly Americans flash game and get an idea of what it is all about before its March 17th premiere.

So, aside from the usual pints of Guinness and/or green beer you have to look forward to on St. Patrick’s Day, remember: starting at 10:30 PM, you can look forward to the premiere of the next great Comedy Central original show, Ugly Americans, immediately following the premiere of the new season of South Park.

-Ray Carsillo

The Life You Wish You Lived

Originally Published: October 28, 2009, 1050ESPN.com (Now ESPNNewYork.com) and Lundberg.me

As mentioned in my article on the new South Park video game, there is also a new season of South Park going on now. Unfortunately, Comedy Central’s show to bridge the gap for last season between the foul-mouth youths of South Park and the satirical wit of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart was Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire, and as predicted by yours truly, sputtered out after only a season as they burned through the same jokes over and over again.

Well, you can’t have a gap in your strongest block of programming, so Comedy Central has taken their chances this time with an even raunchier comedy, Secret Girlfriend.

The basic premise is that this sitcom revolves around YOU. At least, it is supposed to. Shot in a first-person perspective, you live somewhere in California where the sun is always shining and the ladies are always wearing something skimpy. Along with your two roommates/best friends, the sitcom follows you as you attempt to attain all that most guys in their 20s think about: booze and babes. All the while you also try to keep your hot, but bat-guano insane, ex-girlfriend from mucking up your life. You also find a meaningful relationship early on, but must keep her hidden from your ex-girlfriend to protect hers and your safety (hence the title of the show).

The show follows you to parties, clubs, strip clubs, and your apartment complex as your roommates try to use get rich quick schemes and viral videos to help them on their quest for their ultimate one-night stand where as you don’t have that difficulty due to your natural good looks and charm. You are thrown into constantly sexually provocative situations with random girls at bars, the yoga practitioner across the hall, and even on the car ride to wherever you are headed that day. All in all, you live a pretty sweet life.

I’ve watched the first three episodes of Secret Girlfriend because I wanted to see if there is more to it than just potty humor and hot women. There is not. And that might just make it a success. Of course, there is also a more probable chance, much like it’s time-slot predecessors, that it will burn through these jokes much too quickly and grow old in the minds of its viewers. That’s probably why the hot women are there, to help cover up the quickly aged jokes and situations. Then again, many of us have cable modems at this point and can see much more than what this show gives us for free.

So there really isn’t a lot of substance in Secret Girlfriend. In fact, Secret Girlfriend makes me frustrated in many ways. For example, I am not handsome and I am not charming and, in fact, most women find me kind of creepy (“Mua ha ha ha ha” seems to be a bad pick-up line). It really ticks me off seeing guys like the guy you’re supposed to be in the show, who have no job, loser friends, and no life, chasing every piece of tail they see and succeeding. Especially since I know guys like that in real life. I don’t want to see that on my TV!

Also, none of my neighbors practice yoga. And if they do, I sure don’t want to see it because I am surrounded by geriatrics in my neighborhood. They’re sweet people, but there isn’t a single, hot, 20-year-old in spandex among them. And don’t even get me started on the hot chick who just wants to hang around, eat pizza, and play GTA 4.

Since I believe most guys fall in-between the “playa” you are in this show and my own relationship-challenged category, I don’t see a lot guys being able to relate at all to the character we are supposed to be in this show.

I see a lot of guys turning Secret Girlfriend off and heading over to their broadband PCs for their hot chick fix. The jokes will get tired very quickly and the insane situations the characters find themselves in will run out faster than the writers can come up with them and so my official prediction is that I don’t see Secret Girlfriend lasting more than a season or two.

New episodes of Secret Girlfriend can be seen (for now) at 10:30 PM every Wednesday night after South Park on Comedy Central.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: July 17, 2009, on 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

Wednesday nights have always traditionally been a powerhouse for Comedy Central; with South Park at 10PM, the Daily Show at 11PM, and Colbert Report at 11:30PM, Comedy Central could always breathe easy.

The problem, though, has always been finding the right comedy to bridge the gap between the four foul-mouthed youths from the Denver suburbs, to the biting, tongue-in-cheek, current events mockeries that are the Daily Show and Colbert Report.

Finally, someone has come along and attempted to bridge the gap.

Michael and Michael Have Issues is best described as a sketch show within a sitcom that follows the hijinx of a pair of comedy veterans, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter, as they try to write their weekly comedic masterpiece. During this process, insane hilarity always seems to ensue as you watch them go from one extreme to the other. In the blink of an eye, Michael and Michael transition seamlessly from the professional atmosphere of cracking jokes in the voiceover production room with producers and directors, to a sophomoric competition over the imagined affection of their intern as he writes an article about the comedy duo for his school paper.

While watching the premiere episode, I could not stop laughing. The show’s flow was very smooth from bit to bit while maintaining the overall plot of the episode. Michael and Michael and their supporting cast were able to convey some great humor in not just their words, but their actions as well. You could tell from watching their interactions with each other that Michael and Michael are indeed both longtime friends and colleagues, even though, sometimes, they were trying a little extra hard to come off as enemies. Their natural rapport with each other is evident, and will probably determine the long-term fate of the show, since their relationship is the key component to the show’s premise. With a little more polish, I could see this sitcom becoming a Comedy Central staple, if it can garner enough support that is.

To talk more about the premiere episode of Michael and Michael Have Issues, Robin Lundberg and I chatted with Michael Showalter about everything from going through the process of getting the show green-lit by Comedy Central to being a Jersey boy, like myself.

– to listen to Robin Lundberg and me interview Michael Showalter.

From the board room meeting that opens the show with Michael and Michael trash-talking each other, to such instant classic bits like “The Farting Butterfly” and the “Worst Word in the History of the World,” Michael and Michael Have Issues will keep the belly laughs flowing and keep Comedy Central’s Wednesday night dominance at an all-time high as they attempt to successfully bridge the gap.

Be sure to check out Michael and Michael Have Issues every Wednesday night after South Park on Comedy Central at 10:30PM EST.

-Ray Carsillo

Originally Published: April 9, 2009, on Collider.com and 1050ESPN.com (now ESPNNewYork.com)

It was March 25th, 2009, a normal Wednesday afternoon by most standards. Being an uber-geek like myself, I was counting down the hours to when I would be allowed to escape work and go the comic store for my weekly fix when I saw a new e-mail from a contact of mine on the west coast. He wanted to know if I was interested in covering a special preview of the new Comedy Central show, Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire. I had seen commercials and was intrigued, but not sure if I would be up to it. I explained my hesitation and he explained there would be an open-bar and free food.

Two minutes later, I was on the guest list.

The preview was scheduled for Thursday, April 2nd, at Professor Thom’s at E. 14th St. and 2nd Ave.

Professor Thom’s was an interesting place, with a regular bar on the first floor and a private screening room on the second, which was where the party would be held. Since I was eager for the free food and beer and since my unfamiliarity of the area drew me to leave with ample time to spare; I arrived a half hour before the preview party was to start.

The pretty lady who held the guest list complained that nothing was ready yet and was shocked at my effrontery since most press members tend to arrive closer to the planned time. This not being the first time that a pretty lady had complained that I arrived early; I was unfazed and simply sat at the bar and finished some work I had begun at the office.

When I was allowed up to the second floor, I was a little surprised by the lack of places to sit and the amount of press that was already beginning to show up. This was going to leave for a rather cramped viewing experience. I made sure to claim to my space with my coat and backpack and then proceeded to the open bar. When I asked what was available, the bartender explained only one beer was on tap. I frowned at this, until she said it was Yuengling, my favorite beer.

With a smile on my face and a cold one in my hand, I proceeded back into the viewing area to find that Krod Mandoon preview comics had been littered about the place. I was in geek heaven, free beer and food, free comic books, a projector screen, the fairer sex floating about the place in abundance. Even though I knew I would never mount the courage to talk to any of the pretty ladies, I knew my night was nearing its peak.

After my second free beer, the preview was finally about to start (just like the purpose of this article). Would the ploys to satisfy my geek-dom by Comedy Central, Wiredset, and the Onion (who all sponsored the party) actually work? They wouldn’t have to because I actually enjoyed the show.
The first episode, that will air Thursday, April 9th, at 10PM on Comedy Central, is a special one hour episode to get the series to hit the ground running, with regular half-hour episodes following each Thursday thereafter. I had it in my head before the preview that this would be Robin Hood: Men in Tights: the Sitcom, and I wasn’t that far off from this assumption.

Set in medieval times, Krod Mandoon, is the story of a freedom fighting band of misfits who must liberate their kingdom from the tyrannical fist of the evil Xanusian Empire and its Chancellor Dongalore (Matt Lucas). In the first episode, Mandoon (Sean Maguire) is joined by his pig-faced ogre-ish bodyguard Loquasto (Steve Speirs), a wannabe mage in Zezelryck (Kevin Hart), and the lovely, but rather loose (Read: Nymphomaniac), love interest Aneka (India de Beaufort) as they attempt to free their rebellion’s leader from Dongalore’s prison. (A nymphomaniac homosexual named Bruce, played by Marques Ray, joins the bumbling troupe later on in the one hour premiere.)

Matt Lucas as Chancellor Dongalore steals the show as the villain. Even looking at him you have to stifle a laugh as he looks like some sort of albino woodland creature and his careless killing of extras is a joy to watch. India de Beaufort is absolutely ravishing (India, if you’re ever in the New York City area and want to grab a cup of coffee or something, feel free to drop me a line via the link on the upper-right hand side of my page) and has all eyes drawn to her when she’s on screen, for…several reasons. Kevin Hart, Steve Speirs, and Marques Ray do a great job as the bumbling sidekicks for Krod Mandoon.

The only real disappointment was Krod himself. I thought the character was more whiny and wimpy than swashbuckling, which would have been a better fit for the show. You already have two bumbling sidekicks; the main character should’ve been as far a counter-balance to them as possible to provide a larger array of comedic situations. Having too much of the same thing on one screen is going to exhaust the audience quickly and wear out plot situations to the point that the Flaming Sword of Fire may burn itself out before Season 1 even makes it to DVD.

The most complicated thing about this show is everyone’s names. If you can get past those, you’re going to have some physical comedy and some potty humor mixed in with swords, shields, bows, and arrows. The first episode quickly grew on me as all the characters played well and the show set the stage for the rest of the series. Although I predict the series will begin to run out of plot ideas pretty quickly with a weekly half hour show, I think that at least for a season or two, Krod Mandoon will be a winner.

I really did enjoy this show, and the party was great, but I think Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire will be snuffed out before it can truly gather a fan base to appreciate it. It was a valiant effort for some more original programming in Comedy Central’s solid nightly lineup. After the preview, I gathered my belongings, smiled at all the pretty girls, who were all way out of my league, and headed home, looking forward to the show’s network premiere on Thursday, April 9th, at 10PM, on Comedy Central (so that I could see India in action again).

-Ray Carsillo