Insomniac with Dave Attell has been exploring the after-hours occupations of the world's insomniacs and promoting wanton alcoholism to late-night viewers since 2001.
Using his Comedy Central-patented night-crawling, bar-hopping routine, Attell has attracted a steady buzz. Everyone's seen an episode, thought it was funny and moved on with their lives. The show is best suited to stoner cults and Comedy Central elitists, and, unsurprisingly, Attell is some sort of god to these people.
His latest escapade follows him as he takes on the world with his loveable alcoholic/average-guy schtick. He had the clever idea of keeping the novelty alive but not overplayed by limiting production to quarterly, hour-long specials. "Achtung Baby!" is the fourth international installment. The show begins with stand-up at a USO base in Germany, and training footage is strangely interspersed throughout. He has a comedic foray in a whorehouse ("10 x sex = 1 time gratis"), he visits a BMW factory and he goes to stereotypically German sex clubs.
There's a lot to learn from this special, namely that most Germans have some kind of fetish and are able to channel a Joel Grey-esque persona. Berlin is deliciously Euro, and Attell is so wonderfully American. And best yet, the kind of American that Penn students can relate to: the Long Island Jew.
Attell exposes the raw, seedy side of nightlife, and makes himself look good in the process: weighed against witless, camera-shy and just plain strange characters, Attell's normalcy becomes loveable. The weirder the city, the more clever and witty he appears. In other words, the gritty Berlin landscape does a lot for the comedic value in "Achtung Baby."
The nightclubs are odd, but the army base stuff is so out of place that it borders on creepy. In addition to showing stand-up footage, Attell tags along on tank mock-maneuvers, drinks Jager with the troops and even dons a protective suit in order to help train a military dog. He closes the show by giving his support to the troops "all over the world," and his last line, bizarrely enough, is "God bless you all." Why the political message, Dave?
Still, even random and surprising army support isn't exempt from Attell's patronizing treatment. Case in point: he gets a female officer to say, "Dave, show me something kinky."
Dave Attell's Insomniac special "Achtung Baby!" is funny. Not necessarily memorable, quotable or laugh-out-loud funny. Nobody said you have to love something to appreciate it. Inside or outside Comedy Central's elitist circles, Dave Attell deserves respect.