If your a fan of the soon to be returning (online no less) cult sitcom Arrested Development, the fake ‘next time‘ segments were always outlandishly over the top. Taking that idea to its extremes Alex Anfanger and Dan Schimpf creation ‘Next Time Lonny’ is easily one of the most original comedies you’ve never heard of.
At a first glance this may look like a generic looking faux reality series focusing on the unlucky in love Lonny. In a similar vein as the Ben Stiller produced parody series Burning Love takes a skewed look at the reality genre, if you’ve ever watched an episode of any reality show (of course you have) the over sensationalized ‘Next Time” previews they throw together are almost beyond parody, almost.
Each 3-5 minute episode begins with Lonny (Alex Anfanger) going through the motions of his daily life, these purposely mundane sequences (expertly spoofing tacky reality shows) last about 30-40 seconds and the bulk of the episode consists of the preview for the next instalment.
An Alien invasion, a drug fueled bachelor party that involves accidental canablism, multiple versions of Lonny traveling back through time to prevent himself from master-bating before a date, huffing human souls and Lonny coming to terms with a murderous housemate are just some of the highlights on offer in the six episode first season. I almost don’t want to tell you too much as the less you know the more you’ll enjoy this.
Alex and Dan share writing/producing duties with Dan also taking on directing/editing/cinematography, so this is very much a labour of love for these two talented New Yorkers who weren’t expecting the series to find much of an audience and made it purely for the fun of it. The format truly is a breath of fresh air and allows for a broad audience as each episode is completely self contained, although the only constant is the running gag that Lonny’s poor old housemate Garrett (Aaron Schroeder) can’t make it through an episode without being killed horribly.
I was completely oblivious to this show until Dutch suggested I give it a watch as it might be my sort of thing, not only am I now indebted to him for life for sharing this with me I can’t remember laughing so much in the space of 5 minutes. The fact that each episode pacts in so much is a huge testament to the writing and directing, you’re always left wanting more and the short running time means you can watch the entire season in the same time as it would take to watch one episode of a standard TV sitcom.
Since its launch on Cracked.com the series has attracted a loyal fan base, among those fans include executives at Adult Swim, Comedy Central and actor/director Ben Stiller who liked the series so much that he reached out to the creators and struck a deal with them to produce season two through his production company Red Hour Films. Clearly seeing the signs of a rising talent, Stiller also cast Alex in a small role for his upcoming movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty which co-stars Kristen Wiig and Shirley MacLaine.
There’s a wealth of extra content on their YouTube channel including extended episodes, outtakes and behind the scenes videos.
The future looks very promising for Alex and Dan, they are both keen to develop new shows together and season 2 of ‘Next Time On Lonny’ is expected to online sometime in the Spring.