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Picks and Pans Review: The Big Room

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HA! (Sun., Aug. 26, 10:30 P.M. ET)


Team up old-school comedians like Jack Carter or Pat Cooper with new-school directors like Nicholas Roeg or Julien Temple for some dressed-up stand-up. That’s the novel conceit of this performance series. This week’s matchup puts Jan Murray in front of the microphone and Mario Van Peebles behind the camera.

The directors add little narrative flourishes and tricks of editing and perspective, but the shows still center around the comics’ routines and rim-shot jokes.

At its best, the series gives the well-worn showbiz shtick a surreal nudge (we’re not in the Catskills anymore, Toto) while showing the comedians in a new light.

Distinguished only by fluid camera work, the Murray/Van Peebles tandem is more conventional than most of the entries in this series. So it scores lower than most of its classmates.