The Funny Dance Show, E!’s (124) absurd new Monday-night reality series, is light on its feet. The competitors are all comedians, and instead of judging them on technical challenges and mastery of dance steps and positions, it leans into physical comedy. Forget watching people swish about in ballgowns or doing the Samba and Tango in outfits that only a toddler pageant queen could love – we want to see a man dressed as a pot plant vogueing his little heart out.
But don’t expect complete tomfoolery, buffoonery and riggery. Some things in comedy are even funnier when you start from a serious place. Judges Loni Love (best known as Ellen DeGeneres’s guest DJ), Allison Holker (Devil Girl in the drama series Hit The Floor) and Justin Martindale (producer of Funny You Should Ask, currently airing on SABC3) give direct and en pointe critiques before getting as pun-tastic as possible.
And co-hosts Heidi Heaslet (Heidi in #Millennials and The Funny Dance Show’s co-creator and executive producer) and comedian Justine Marino (who created the original Funny Dance Show live comedy act with Heidi, which was then called Stand Up 2 The Street) do the usual thankless job of introducing the talent, keeping up the energy and explaining the rules of the show.
“We are the inverse of Dancing With The Stars, and we really, really mean it when we say ‘So you think you can dance?’” jokes Heidi. “All of our dances are comedy-based concepts. We have some of the industry’s best choreographers, Kat Burns, Chris Grant, Comfort to name a few. The winners on our show thankfully aren’t judged solely on their technical capabilities. It’s more of a Nailed It (referring to the amateur baking show) vibe on our show.”
Who’s getting footloose?
In each episode, two teams of comedians will have three to four days to work with a choreographer and a team of back-up dancers to learn their routines before competing in front of the judges. They’ll have to present a solo performance each and a duet, before facing the opposing team for a dance-off. And we’ll go behind the scenes to watch the rehearsals. But at the end of the day, the crown will go to whichever team gets the judges and audience rolling the hardest. Here’s a quick peek at just a few of the 32 comedians who are putting their best foot forward:
Name: Flula Borg (episode 1)
Claim to fame: German DJ, actor, comedian and YouTuber. But most notably, Pieter Kramer, leader of a cappella group Das Sound Machine in the movie Pitch Perfect 2.
Secret skill: Flula, an inherently absurd person, started his performance career as a Schuhplattler. “It’s a very south German thing. It’s a dance when you’re slapping your legs, heels and feet,” he explains.
Name: Kel Mitchell (episode 3)
Claim to fame: The Man. The Legend. The actual Kel Kimble in 1990s sitcom Kenan & Kel.
Secret skill: Kel came second on the 2019 season of Dancing With The Stars. He is fresh and in shape.
Name: Solomon Georgio (episode 7)
Claim to fame: Comedian and writer of Adam Ruins Everything.
Secret skill: While not a trained dancer, Solomon is a club dancefloor enthusiast. He once tweeted, “Dance like my gay black ass is judging your every move.”
Name: Esther Povitsky (episode 8)
Claim to fame: A-dork-able loser Esther in comedy Alone Together.
Secret skill: If you’ve watched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, you’ll know that Esther – aka mousy Maya – can hold a tune and turn some choreography to comic effect. She majored in theatre and dance at college.
With this kind of talent hopping across the boards, viewers can’t lose.
Watch The Funny Dance Show S1 on Monday, 4 May on E! (124) at 21:30
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