If you’re into raucous laughter and slacking off when you should be doing something productive, you’re probably familiar with a little show called Workaholics. The crew of lazy, hilarious telemarketers (played by Blake Anderson, Anders Holm, and last—but definitely not least—Adam Devine) have been making waves with their uniquely ridiculous antics on Comedy Central since 2011.
As of Thursday last week, a new program has emerged as a contender for the title of ‘funniest go-to party show.’ Adam Devine is its creator, writer, and star, and he has some help from Workaholics alumnus Kyle Newachek, in the director’s chair Adam Devine’s House Party is in some ways exactly what it sounds like—the world’s craziest party, hosted by Adam Devine in his extravagant LA Mansion. In other ways, it delivers a lot of unexpected laughs; the show’s primary purpose is to showcase up-and-coming stand-up comics.
Between bouts of Devine and his friends getting into mischief at his multi-million dollar frat party, three comics perform stand-up sets. The first episode showcases Ahmed Bharoocha, Andrew Santino, and Barry Rothbart, who talk about topics ranging from baby God to gay skydiving. In addition to performing live, each of the comics also appear in a scripted scene involving them at the titular house party—Santino, for example, shows up with Devine’s ‘ex-girlfriend’ on his arm, and Rothbart discusses defecating on Devine’s floor over a large glass of wine.
The second episode highlights comedians Liza Treyger, Josh Rabinowitz, and Sean Donnelly, all of whom deliver fantastic sets—the only downside that starts to emerge as you watch is that each comic looks like they could do with more time on stage. Devine himself, on the phone with The Tribune, comments that “We had to cut each of their sets a little shorter than we’d have liked,” due largely to the format and length of each episode.
The reason for the show’s format stems from Devine’s love of stand-up, and a dissatisfaction with seeing so many new comedians get passed on by audiences due to a lack of time to express their personalities.
“When a comic’s doing a set, and it’s only, you know, 15-20 minutes, the audience doesn’t really get a chance to know them the way they might if they got, like, an hour on stage,” he says.
Devine approaches the show with the mentality that the sketches interspersed with the stand-up are meant to give the audience a good look at each comic’s personality off-stage in a way that other shows really can’t. This concept really works in practice; by the end of each episode, I went from “Who the hell is this guy” to “Wow, I think I might actually have to see some more of this dude.”
It’s certainly an uncommon format, but Devine hopes that the show “is the tightest of buttholes, but I don’t know; it might be a weird butthole.”
What really ties the whole thing together, however, is Devine’s talent as a host. He plays a similar character to his Workaholics counterpart, acting as a narcissistic, overly emotional frat boy, upon whom the words “turn it down” have no bearing whatsoever. In his own words, the three adjectives which best describe him are “bodacious, radical, and gnar.” I struggle to think of someone more perfectly suited to the show than the ridiculous character Devine plays so well.
“It’s just sort of who I am,” he says. “I’ve got a weird, big dumb face, I can move in all sorts of different directions, so that helps me out.”
Adam Devine’s House Party is a really funny show, simple as that, and even if you don’t enjoy it—as some undoubtedly won’t—you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not checking out at least the premiere. In all likelihood, you’ll soon be waiting eagerly for more. To end with some parting wisdom from Devine himself: “Spread the gospel and don’t do meth.”
Adam Devine’s House Party is airing every Friday morning at 12:30 a.m. on Comedy Central.