Just like the immensely popular public radio show from which it cribs its title (among other things), this satirical, completely made-up version of This American Life begins with a brief guitar cue and an excitable, slightly nebbishy host promising fascinating glimpses into the worlds of our seemingly ordinary countrymen. And then it delivers a deadpan look at the quotidian and the absurd in these United States that’s meant to be laughed at.
Performed by Kasper Hauser, a four-man comedy troupe from San Francisco, each five-minute American Life episode spotlights unlikely subjects such as an office worker who has no idea how to use computers (“I literally cannot plug a plug into a plug,” he explains) and a high school that attempts its first semester at sea — with disastrous results. True Ira Glass groupies will appreciate the show’s attention to small details (such as the host’s idiosyncratic fast-slow-fast diction); the rest of us can just laugh at its sweet, imaginative portraits of sweet, ridiculous people too genial to realize how ridiculous they can be.
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