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VH-1’s Best Week Ever LIVE
June 17, 2005

Written by Jessica Cogan
Photographed by Evan Sung

On June 9th, VH-1’s darling child Best Week Ever went live at comic epicenter Caroline’s on Broadway. For the uninitiated, Best Week Ever takes a look back at the week’s events and makes a lot of fun. The war in Iraq and political crises in Bolivia are generally not on the table. Instead, Best Week Ever takes on pop “culture.” So for the show at Caroline’s, Russell Crowe, Tom Cruise and Paris Hilton were the topics du jour.

Jesse Klein

The TV version of the show is perfect: snippets of the week’s events interspersed with pithy remarks and comedic jabs from the best comedians VH-1 has at its disposal. In other words, the best of the best. And while the live show holds up admirably under the constraints of live, improvised comedy, the advantage of editing and juxtaposing comments that a pre-recorded TV show offers can’t be beat.

Sherrod Small

Still you couldn’t ask for a better lineup. Regular commentators Christian Finnegan, Jessi Klein and Sherrod Small each did a brief stand-up routine before joining Paul Scheer on stage for group pop-culture bashing. These guys are some of the best in the biz. Christian Finnegan is like the funniest guy in your high school class. Times ten. His comedy blends self-deprecation with incisive social observation to snort-out-loud effect. Jessi Klein is quirky, off-beat and cerebral -- and able to wield the F-word with remarkable efficacy. The standout of the night was Sherrod Small. Generally, I think of black vs. white humor as pretty dated stuff, with more than a whiff of stale Eddie Murphy material. But Sherrod manages to put a fresh spin on it, setting up “Us vs. Them” while participating both as Us and Them, laughing as much at himself as at whitey in the Hawaiian shirt seated up front.

Paul and Chris dissect Lindsey Lohan

After the stand-up bits, Paul Scheer, Best Week Ever’s gap-toothed poster child, brought the other three onstage to respond to a variety of pop culture “artifacts” supplied by the audience. The relics included New Kids on the Block paraphernalia and Harry Potter props and the whole setup was funny, if a bit forced. Then the group moved into more familiar territory commenting on video clips highlighting the previous week’s celebrity goings-on. Not every comment was a zinger and more than a few would have ended up on the editing room floor had the show not been live. But the foursome showed they can be terribly funny on the fly and respond to the live audience’s cheers and boos without skipping a beat.

Paul Scheer

VH-1’s Best Week Ever Live is heading out on tour with dates nationwide.

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