Alternative comedy fans have long been enamored with the explosive John Early and biting Kate Berlant’s collaborative friendship, but now the up-and-comers will bestow their rapid fire eccentricities on a wider audience in “555,” a new Vimeo original series which released its trailer today.
In five standalone episodes, Berlant and Early cast their keen satirical eyes to Hollywood, and the outlandish and groveling figures they encounter on their quest for stardom. Each part of this mini anthology series lampoons the greed, egotism and ignorance of ambitious stage mothers, naive acting students, and an agent fallen from grace, among others. Blink and you’ll miss it, but the trailer promises guest appearances from Jane Adams and Kristen Johnston.
Early has wracked up an impressive array of credits in the last few years, announcing himself quite resoundingly in “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp” with a show-stealing number from the musical Pippin. He plays Elliott in TBS’s critical darling “Search Party,” and has made appearances in “Girls,” “High Maintenance,” and “Difficult People.”
Sundance audiences will meet Early this month, when he appears in Miguel Arteta’s “Life as Beatriz.” Famous for his Britney Spears impression, Early’s boyish enthusiasm for celebrity culture makes him a less cynical Billy Eichner — if Eichner did impressions.
A fixture on the experimental comedy scene for years, Berlant’s fearless wit has echoes of Rory Scovel, Maria Bamford, and Margaret Cho, but her bizarreness is unmistakably her own. With small parts on “Transparent,” “Comedy! Bang! Bang!,” and “Search Party,” this latest endeavor aims to propel her into Early-level ubiquity.
“555” is produced by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, of the comedy duo Tim & Eric. It is directed by Andrew DeYoung, a three-time Vimeo staff pick filmmaker who boasts Werner Herzog as a fan. As comfortable with comedy as he is with art house film, DeYoung recently directed the first season of TruTV’s “Jon Glaser Loves Gear.” If the trailer is any indication, DeYoung is a visionary new presence.
“555” debuts exclusively on Vimeo on January 31st. Strap in.