My Brother, My Brother And Me: MBMBaM 497: Bugatti Boys
February 12, 2020 12:34 PM - Subscribe

We’ve officially polished all the rough edges out of this weekly entertainment product that we’ve been making for like 10 calendar years. We’re nearly ready to enter our Closed Beta phase, which basically means we’ve stopped talking about bidets so much. Suggested talking points: Relatable Content, Accidental Lunch Thief, Perfect Farmwear, Animal Trivia, Nude Changeover, Val Kilmer's Kickass Bat Wine, Genuine Sports Humor, Do Not Go In There
posted by ardgedee (22 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My guess: the person whose dinner was stolen saw what had happened but got way too embarrassed to say anything about it.

I mean, how do you go up to someone and tell them they're eating your dinner? What do you expect them to do with that information, anyway?
posted by meese at 6:31 PM on February 12


There's a story that Douglas Adams used to tell about eating what he thought were his biscuits and another guy from the same package, and it reminded me very much of that. Only without the "my packet of biscuits was under my newspaper all along, I had been looking a man in the eyes as I stole his cookies" twist ending.

Did everybody Play Along At Home? Because the sheer hatred that bit gets from the other brothers only makes it more powerful...
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 7:19 PM on February 12 [3 favorites]


Does Justin hate it? Justin seems to absolutely love how much it upsets Griffin.

And I do too.
posted by meese at 8:09 PM on February 12 [2 favorites]


If it's buffet style, the victim, walking back to the table with their drink or napkins or whatever, saw the food being eaten, and probably just got a new plate. But that raises a question that the boys really didn't dig in to - SOMEONE KNOWS WHAT YOU DID LAST LUNCH PERIOD.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:07 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


I can't tell whether Travis is deliberately angling for antihumor in the segments he comes up with or if he thinks they have potential and that his brothers are trashing it. Either way, yeah, the laughs in his segments tend to come from his brothers' negative reactions rather his own material. It's comedy either way, job well done, I'm just confused about the intent.
posted by ardgedee at 11:18 AM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Based on stuff like Riddle me Piss I think Travis just has a strong antihumor streak and enjoys being deliberately unfunny for laughs.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 1:28 PM on February 13 [2 favorites]


Travis' antihumor is making the show unlistenable for me.
posted by smasuch at 4:09 PM on February 13 [1 favorite]


a few McElroy-djacent facebook groups I'm in have been warring about play along at home for a few weeks now (or however long since the first iteration I guess). it's sort of weird to me that people would find the tension it generates to be a particularly new thing for mbmbam, since Griffin's "oh so I guess we're not going to be funny this episode" anxiety spasms are a regular staple

as opposed to some of Travis's other things where it just doesn't land despite all the strain (I kind of hate how much travis leans into drawing things out with riddle me piss) this one definitely seems to be Trav deliberately setting Griffin and Justin up to tear into the bit, and they do so with gusto
posted by Kybard at 5:51 PM on February 13 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I can believe the design of the audience-participation segment is not to itself be the comedy but to be the platform for comedy to happen. The mostly-retired "Sad Libs" sketches are another example, but in that there was more of a sense that everyone was on the same side of the joke.
posted by ardgedee at 4:26 AM on February 14


I'm going to have some deep armchair-podcaster takes about MBMBaM right now. I think Travis is really anxious that he is not funny, and it is making him lean into the antihumor stuff because it is "safer" than trying to be funny and failing. I actually think it would be fine on the show if it wasn't for Griffin's desperate insistence that the show must be blisteringly funny at all times, as it creates an uncomfortable tension. I think it would go over perfectly well if they were to just earnestly do a goofy trivia segment every so often. I suspect it would become funny more often than not, just because of the brothers' inherent funniness, but it would be fine if it didn't. The joy of MBMBaM is in spending time with the brothers, and not in non-stop manic laugh riots.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:01 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


He also has a new baby at home and might not be firing on all sleep, so leaning in to the anti-humor is a way of being involved. His best stuff tends to be the quick, almost overlooked quip and that stuff is hard to force is you're not up for it.

I hope he's okay. Travis seems to be the most likely to read the internet and between this and Graduation drama it must be a nightmare.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:15 AM on February 14 [6 favorites]


Yeah, no kidding. I should be clear, I think he is plenty funny, but it would be just fine if he wasn't funny, except for the fact that it seems like the slightest suggestion of dialing back the goof cannon really bothers Griffin. My favorite episode of the show all time was the one where they didn't answer questions and just spun some stories about when Justin was a drug kingpin.

Bless his heart, and I identify so much with his desire to world-build and have a huge roster of lovely friends, but Graduation needs to be retooled immediately. Have someone frame them for murdering Higglemas so they need to go on the run and track the real killers or something. Individual NPCs can show up along the way as helpers and/or big bads.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:24 AM on February 14 [3 favorites]


> His best stuff tends to be the quick, almost overlooked quip and that stuff is hard to force is you're not up for it.

Agreed. He might be the quickest-witted of the three of them, the one able to see more opportunities in a deadpan moment than Justin and Griffin can.

I feel like we've been dumping solid waste on Travis for a few days now, and I feel bad about that because I like him and he's an essential part of the family act. The problem is that he's also the point guy on a big project that's going kind of strange.
posted by ardgedee at 10:00 AM on February 14 [4 favorites]


i think griffin's anger and anxiety about the show not being funny comes from a real place but is hugely played up for laughs, just like travis is doing with his impulse to derail the show. they're playing a game to create comedy. it's weird that people think what we're hearing on the show is 100% genuine. it wouldn't be in the show if it was (there is precedent for them cutting out actual tension, see: the Gushy tapes). travis's antihumor doesn't always work for me (aged-beef was pretty bad) but i feel like codifying that impulse into a segment like Play Along At Home, that can be deployed and then ended at will, is a really smart move to keep the anti-humor from taking over the rest of the show. i can understand if people don't find the bit funny, i just don't know why people are taking it at face value.

also i don't mean to be rude to the guy but i don't think travis has the self awareness to feel uncomfortable about fan reactions to his choices.
posted by JimBennett at 12:54 PM on February 14 [2 favorites]


I just felt like there used to be more balance and more like esprit d'corps on the show, such that even when they weren't funny, somehow Griffin or Justin's freaking out about it was itself funny, maybe because they had other tools in their toolkit and it wasn't the whole show. They hardly ever do the kind of building a funny scenario together that they used to do like Nuthead or Detective Jigsaw.
posted by bleep at 2:39 PM on February 14


The thing that attracted me to the show a few years ago was that it felt like all 3 of them could easily get inside a shared vision and pilot it somewhere funny, and it felt good to feel like I could be inside that shared vision too. That's why I think that this new thing of playing around the line between funny or not is also playing around the line of real or not, because it doesn't have any of the old qualities of shared, easy, inviting, or funny. Which were also seeing play out in TAZ as mentioned above. Just feels like they're in a funk. It's totally understandable and I will keep listening and supporting them indefinitely. I just also think it's interesting that we're all noticing something that we can't really explain.
posted by bleep at 2:54 PM on February 14


> ardgedee: I feel like we've been dumping solid waste on Travis for a few days now, and I feel bad about that because I like him and he's an essential part of the family act. The problem is that he's also the point guy on a big project that's going kind of strange.

He's a paid entertainer, so personally, I don't feel too bad leveling some thoughtful criticism his way, but I hesitate to imagine what TAZ subreddits and Facebook groups are saying about Graduation. I followed some of the discussions around the introduction of Amnesty but noped out pretty quickly.

> bleep: The thing that attracted me to the show a few years ago was that it felt like all 3 of them could easily get inside a shared vision and pilot it somewhere funny, and it felt good to feel like I could be inside that shared vision too. That's why I think that this new thing of playing around the line between funny or not is also playing around the line of real or not, because it doesn't have any of the old qualities of shared, easy, inviting, or funny.

I actually think they should either dump the advice-giving gimmick or add a whole new facet to it (the way they currently have the listener/Yahoo facets).
posted by Rock Steady at 6:34 AM on February 17


> i think griffin's anger and anxiety about the show not being funny comes from a real place but is hugely played up for laughs

It's a thing that Griffin would also do during Polygon livestreams (such as the weekly PUBG thing they had for a while). Justin and a couple of the Polygon veterans would usually respond by trying to exacerbate whatever was grating him. It's a guaranteed bit but sometimes it feels like they're only doing it because it's easy. I think one of the reasons why Griffin and Nick Robinson worked well as a team (until Nick's problematic nature surfaced) was that Nick wouldn't prey on Griffin's anxieties, he would needle him in entirely other ways.
posted by ardgedee at 8:18 AM on February 17 [2 favorites]


I actually wish they would just stick to the advice! They're good at it and it's consistently funny. The segments are always kind of a drag to me no matter what they are. I remember when they were going to retire Munch Squad and I was happy. Now it's every week. If you don't really think that press releases about silly food are funny then it's like 10-15 minutes of nothingness until they go back to the other stuff.
posted by bleep at 11:02 AM on February 17


I agree bleep, I think they should stick to the advice and cut back on the recurring segments. As much as I enjoy Munch Squad, Haunted Doll Watch, and Play Along at Home I think they are best used as a light dusting to surprise and delight and not reliable work horse in every episode.

I also agree that adding another facet to the advice-giving would probably be a good idea - although I don't know what that would look like. Maybe broaden the sources for questions? That also sounds like it could be terrible so idk.

It also occurs to me that they're about to hit episode 500 and they're probably sick to death of mining comedy from the Yahoo Answers dungeons.
posted by Tevin at 11:40 AM on February 17 [1 favorite]


Munch Squad still hits more than it misses for me, although maybe because I share Justin's fascination for industrial food and PR efforts that struggle to support really bad marketing ideas. Haunted Doll Watch rarely works though, I think because the field's clogged with too many people trying to get in on a scam that they heard about on a podcast, and a lot of the Ebay listings are repetitive.
posted by ardgedee at 5:26 PM on February 17 [2 favorites]


I actually think they should either dump the advice-giving gimmick or add a whole new facet to it (the way they currently have the listener/Yahoo facets).

Obviously they should start reading and answering AskMes.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:14 AM on February 19 [4 favorites]


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