Nick Swardson: Seriously, Who Farted?
by Jef Burnham
Now available on DVD from Comedy Central.
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Before co-writing and starring in the Happy Madison productions Grandma’s Boy and Benchwarmers, Nick Swardson was doing standup comedy and recorded his first half hour special for Comedy Central in 2000 at the age of 22, making Swardson the youngest comic to do so. Now, Swardson’s hour-long Comedy Central special, Seriously, Who Farted? is available on DVD with an additional 15 minutes of material not seen on television.
Though I am a Swardson fan, the title of this special discouraged my viewing at first, not being one for fart jokes. His set is assuredly on the immature side, but is more intelligent than such a title would indicate. His jokes reside mostly on the topics of drugs, alcohol, and masturbation, but often digress into long bits about video games or ninjas. When he briefly focuses on the latter topics, you can see a definite nerdy side peeking out, and I wish that happened more often. But perhaps he is leaving it to Patton Oswalt to drop the Jack Kirby jokes. One of the best moments in Swardson’s set is when he discusses the filming of Grandma’s Boy. Swardson’s impression of Happy Madison regular Peter Dante is hysterical.
The additional 15 of material is very nice, but perhaps not enough to sell you on this purchase. This is where the meager, yet brilliant special features come in. The first and least appealing feature is Swardson’s opening act from that night, Beardo and Dirt Nasty, who perform two songs to get the live audience pumped up. As a home viewer, I found this mildly amusing at best. Next is “28 Drinks Later,” a zombie-style, mock trailer starring Swardson and his gang in a Los Angeles overrun by drunks who want to get everyone else wasted. “28 Drinks Later” is the perfect length for the concept and offers a lot of laughs for its two and a half minutes.
Then we have what I found to be the best of the extras, “Nick Swardson: Timeless Comedian.” This is a mockumentary, placing Swardson as a comedian who has been working since 1924. We see his progression over the years, starting with silent footage of him performing and moving through his predictions for 2040, hitting a key moment in his mock career every two decades or so, such as his early-90’s Def Jam gigs where he walks out in a long t-shirt and hollers, “She got that stank bootay!” The humor in “Timeless Comedian” is very subtle in that the jokes can barely be considered jokes at all. It rides entirely on Swardson’s unique delivery.
The last of the features is an ad for a fake Christmas album from Swardson’s Reno 911! character, Terry, called “A Very Terry Christmas.” It’s funny if you know the character, but if you are unfamiliar with Terry, this will at least come off as absurdly random.
Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.
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