The new HBO series Dane Cook's TOURGASM struck me with a jolt of deja vu.
From the outset, the program bore a striking resemblance to Comedy Central's short lived series THE COMEDIANS OF COMEDY.
(Incidentally, director Michael Bliden also made feature film version called THE COMEDIANS OF COMEDY: THE MOVIE which is available in a Netflix queue near you.)
On Dane Cook's Web site, he describes his show thus:
What is TOURGASM?
This is the real deal, a life on the road story showing where a ton of passion and determination can lead a person to. This is showing you what it means to love what you do and like who you are doing it with. This series takes a look at me and my three best friends driving show to show on a great bus in order to perform our stand up comedy. Yet, it's also about driving through life trying to get somewhere that brings you joy and good vibe.
On the Comedy Central Web site COMEDIANS OF COMEDY is described:
Comedian Patton Oswalt takes to the road with his friends Brian Posehn, Zach Galifianakis, and Maria Bamford to tour indie rock clubs rather than conventional comedy clubs. We spend about half of the time watching their stand-up routines and the other half just following them around in their daily lives as they tour buying comic books, getting in trouble in the Cracker Barrel gift shop, and goofing around between shows.
(Photo: Austin Chronicle)
Neither show would claim to be the first comedy tour film. Christian Charles COMEDIAN did it in 2002.
In 1963 NBC broadcast a documentary series called COMEDIAN BACKSTAGE.
(Fun aside: Shelley Berman--Larry David's father on CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM--recounts a meltdown which became the centerpiece of the program which aired in March 1963.)
The idea of filming a group of comedians riding together on a bus tour across the US however, is another matter. Sure, THE COMEDIANS OF COMEDY is distinct in that Oswalt, Posehn and company sought out "alternative" performance spaces, but far more glaring are the similarities between TOURGASM and (The Original) COMEDIANS OF COMEDY.
Are those behind TOURGASM guilty of stealing the idea outright, or the similarities a coincidence?
That the TOURGASM pilot episode included a visit to COMEDIAN OF COMEDY comedian Brian Posehn's hometown of Sonoma, with a show at Sonoma State University, adds more "co" to the "incidence".