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SNL Off-Shoot Channel ‘Above Average’ Is Far From The Mean
Michael Record
Nov 28, 2013 (Modified: Dec 2, 2013)

What else? The film trailers are so-so. Mock trailers spoofing a particular movie genre isn’t exactly new, but when it is done right it is usually down to finding a clever twist which plays on the tropes we all know and recognise. Hence, Ghost Tits is superb, as it effectively and hilariously parodies every horror movie trailer ever by playing with the tale of a man whose large chested girlfriend suddenly wakes up with an ironing board front, bereft of cleavage. No-one, not even his friends, remembers her previously ample charms. Is he going mad? Or is there something more sinister at play? It’s spot on stuff.  However, the other trailers are less inspired, with not particularly clever twists and far less genre intelligence. Like a Step Up rip called Clap it Up that plays the entire thing straight but simply replaced dancing with childish patty cake. This joke alone is not strong enough to carry the parody through.

A particular highlight on Above Average is Storytime, in which real famous people relive an amusing story from their past whilst also playing every character involved via a full, costumed, re-enactment. Novelist Jonathan Ames shares the moment he found himself boxing with someone he met through the personal ads in the newspaper, whilst presenter and comedian, Eric Andre shares with us his experience of sleeping with a prostitute for the first time. The natural storytelling ability of these people, combined with a well thought out and funny set of ridiculous visuals, makes for a winning show.

But then Sound Advice – in which Janessa Slater (played by Saturday Night Live’s Vanessa Bayer) acts as ‘media coach’ to real bands in a mock interview style – is full of deadpan swing-and-a-miss jokes that never really connect. Although clearly talented, with plenty of  comic timing and verbal verascity, the lack of laughs in Sound Advice prove the skill of the ‘host’ alone does not the show make.

All in all, it is really difficult to assess Above Average. With as many losses as wins, the median opinion would be that it is a lukewarm channel, but that would be a disingenuous summary. Like all ‘sketch’ based formats, not every idea will resonate once it leaves the page and becomes a reality. But what is commendable is Above Average’s dedication to throwing as much spaghetti against the wall as possible, because the strands that stick are satisfyingly juicy.

Most videos on Above Average have tens of thousands of views, and this video (in which modern Batman is paired with 60s-era Robin) has nearly 2.5 million views, so audiences are clearly connecting with what is on offer. It would be wise to keep on eye on Above Average. Should they filter through their quality control better, this is a channel that could seriously upset the bell curve for all concerned.

Above Average can be expeirenced through their YouTube Channel, which is linked here for your convenience.

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