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Murderville has more comedy than mystery

Police procedural meets improv comedy

Lara Solanki/Netflix

Murderville has more comedy than mystery
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A magician is sobbing after he literally sawed his partner in half. Some bad guy switched in a real saw, but who?

Guest star Conan O’Brien is on the case in the premiere episode of this goofy whodunnit, in which crime procedural meets improv comedy. Which means O’Brien and each subsequent guest have no idea who committed the crime, no character to play, and no script.

“Did you think at any point when there was all that blood,” O’Brien ad-libs to the magician, “that maybe you should stop sawing?”

O’Brien has so much comedy in his blood, he’s oozing jokes as he leaves even the scripted actors in stitches. Unfortunately not every guest shares his improvisational gift. When that happens, Will Arnett reliably fills in the dead air as the cocky and clueless detective Terry Seattle.

Even when the show’s not funny, watching celebrities struggle for clever comebacks is part of Murderville’s reality-show charm. Without a scripted back story, guests fall back on the one person they know well—themselves. We learn that Ken Jeong naturally laughs a lot, and Sharon Stone is a bit of a diva.

Sadly, comedy’s rarely clean these days, and that applies in spades in this case. Murderville doesn’t kill it, but if you’re dying for a quick hit of humor—and you can stand foul language, vulgar jokes, sexual innuendo, and fake blood—you can give this a stab.

Juliana Chan Erikson

Juliana is a correspondent covering marriage, family, and sexuality as part of WORLD’s Relations beat. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Juliana resides in the Washington, D.C., metro area with her husband and three children.


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