Review: 'Mr. Birchum'

The trouble with politically-oriented comedy is that it generally only works when you don't completely drink the Kool-Aid of one side or the other. Stand-up comedy is filled with the career wreckage of people who started out taking shots at someone else's politics and within a couple of years had an act filled with random conspiracy theories and mostly unfunny punch lines that aren't much more clever than "aren't those people just nuts?!!?"

Having reviewed a couple of the new Daily Wire programs recently, this is a problem that afflicts many of their originals. They are entertaining and often well-made. But they also often had the subtly of a ball peen hammer to the forehead. That might be the point, although it makes them a lot less fun for the rest of us to watch.

Mr. Birchum is a new animated comedy series co-created by Adam Corolla and I went into this expecting a show with comedy that is broad and bordering on the predictable. Corolla's humor has never been described as having a light touch and given that the vocal cast includes Roseanne Barr, Megyn Kelly, Brett Cooper, Sage Steele, Alonzo Bodden, Jay Mohr, and Rob Riggle, it's clear early on where Mr. Birchum is headed.

The series centers around high school shop teacher Mr. Birchum as he battles phone-obsessed teens, indifferent school administrators, and a new pony-tailed social justice warrior Karponzi, who is in charge of the "JEDI" department: "Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion." The premiere episode hits all of the expected targets: the world is screwed because everyone is "Woke," everyone on the left is some clueless girly-man, modern kids don't know how to do anything except complain and spend time on their phones. It's a show that often feels more like an extended "Get off my lawn, you young whipper-snappers" rant than an insightful and witty look at some legitimate issues in modern-day high schools.

And that is what frustrated me while I was watching. There is a good show buried in here somewhere. A few of the lines were genuinely funny and the overall production quality is solid. But because the point of view of the show is centered around "clearing out the Woke," the humor ends up being an endless recitation of the same punchline over and over again.

There is a really funny show buried somewhere in Mr. Birchum. It's fine to have a politically conservative point of view. In fact, I think it's a great idea. But a bit of nuance and the occasional shot at people other than the Left would have made the episode a lot more entertaining. We live in this social media-driven world where the loudest and most persistent person is often seen as the winner. And while that might make for a great career as a shitposter, it doesn't necessarily translate into a great TV comedy.

Mr. Birchum premieres Sunday, May 12th, 2024 at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. CT on Daily Wire+