Work Week: A New Comedy Webseries That Rocks
I was somewhat disappointed with myself because my turnaround time on reviewing has gotten quite long by online standards. After Rich Camp contacted me via email, it took me two weeks to get around to watching the new comedy web-series, “Work Week,” by Camp and his friend and creative partner, Louis Waxman. I use the past tense in expressing my chagrin because, as it turned out, I was able to watch the complete series because of the delay. Some of the episodes were uploaded to YouTube after Camp tipped me off to the new project. Turns out that my tardiness (due to being overloaded with the day job and after-hours personal projects, yadda yadda yadda) was serendipitous (SAT word – score!). Camp and Waxman have produced a comedy series that is worthy of comparison with the original self-reflexive, self-mocking, “show about nothing” itself. Yes, “Seinfeld.” Why? First off, the episodes are very focused: brief (sometimes less than a minute) and to the point. Second of all, the concept itself is deceptively simple. It works because, like “Seinfeld”, it draws on the lives of its creators, two very funny guys who portray themselves and derive their comedy from their own work lives. They have a kind of Mutt and Jeff simpatico that reminds one of the comedic pairing of Jerry Seinfeld and Jason Alexander. Finally, the production value in the series is high. Many web-series can look amateurish (you know, like I made it), but this one does not. In a word, “Work Week” rocks.
It rocks because each episode is short and sweet. Camp described the series as
a super short form comedy series that follows two characters in their everyday in the office. My partner, Louis Waxman, and I wrote, starred, shot and edited it. We did this all after hours at our offices in NYC, we’d wait around until everyone left and shoot sketches until midnight. There’s 25 episodes that range from 30 seconds to two minutes. Simple, short, sketches that aim to establish characters and the world they live in.
While the sketches are simple and short, they are all rooted in the central concept: two guys — best friends — who work in the offices of an NYC production company and the annoying, hilarious things that they do to each other. Prior to seeing this video series, I was already a fan of Camp’s, based on his work on “A Guy Going Crazy”, which takes a wise-guy look at the trials and tribulations of an indie director and his motley crew. Camp, of course, plays the director in that series. Here, he is often the straight man for his partner, Waxman, who I have not seen on camera before (which doesn’t mean much, since I am not an all-seeing, all-knowing critical guru of indie film and video). Nevertheless, Waxman’s physical comedy is excellent. He also delivers punchlines with sardonic understatement. His character’s thinness and fussiness complement Camp’s character’s size and relative sloppiness. Together, they have the makings of a great comedic duo.
Finally, “Work Week” rocks because of its obviously high production value, which belies the “we did this in our spare time after work” humility with which Camp described the project in his email to me. Clearly, a lot of work went into these videos, from script-writing through post-production. Some of the features that impressed me were:
- the catchy theme music, which also serves as an audio cue marking the beginning and ending of episodes
- the cold opening segments (even in very short episodes)
- skillful use of an available office space as a set, including:
- framing and angles of shots
- using common office objects in sight gags
I could go on, but I don’t need to, since the series finale offers a self-parody in which Camp and Waxman decide to do a web-series, then proceed to show in detail the wrong way to do it. Clearly they are aware of the quality of their work, even as they make fun of it.
Somebody should offer these guys a contract. Mo’ better, they should stake them so they can fund their own production company. Check out the series playlist on YouTube (or individual episodes on Tumblr) to see what I mean for yourself. Follow the series on Facebook, too, while you’re at it.