Unless you’ve been living under a non-Internet-enabled rock for the last couple of weeks, you’ve likely seen the notorious clip of director David O. Russell’s foul-mouthed freakout on the set of his film I [Heart] Huckabee’s. Was it amusing to see the unhinged auteur hurl a furious string of epithets at Lily Tomlin? You bet. But it was definitely humor of the disturbing, Borat-esque variety, especially on repeat viewings. Watching a real person taken over by such toxic, poisonous rage gives a whole new meaning to the term “viral video.”
Well, few know how to put the cringe in comedy like Stella‘s Michael Showalter, whose own take on the Russell/Tomlin fiasco surfaced online this weekend. (It’s viewable here — but be warned, both versions are very NSFW.) Showalter plays the incident more or less straight, screaming Russell’s obscene tirade almost verbatim; guest Paul Rudd (pictured) carps ineffectually and sits in stunned silence just like Tomlin did.
Don’t bother waiting for a punchline or an ironic reversal; there’s none to be found, and it’s hard not to wish Showalter had done a little more with the material. Still, his and Rudd’s deadpan delivery are both killer, and hearing them blow their tops about a jokey webcast instead of a big-budget existential puzzle film makes the whole thing a little funnier, I suppose. So what do you think, PopWatchers? Is Showalter’s skit twice as unsettling, twice as hilarious, or twice as blah as the original?