Admit it: You’ve always wanted to see Don Cheadle play a pregnant man, or Kristen Bell play a vicious service rep, but couldn’t conceive of how either scenario could ever come to pass. Enter House of Lies Live, an improv comedy special airing this week on Showtime, to make good on all your dreams.
As comedy nerds like myself can attest, television is the most difficult medium for long-form improv comedy. The performances that are so hilarious on stages in New York and L.A. and Chicago, or over the podcast airwaves on shows like Comedy Bang Bang, tend to fizzle when broadcast on the small screen. So it was a legitimate risk for Ben Schwartz (Parks & Recreation) to produce a half-hour special featuring cast members from the third season of House of Lies. Luckily, thanks to a group that includes improv veterans joining celebrities like Cheadle and Bell, the result was an excellent testament to the form. The fact that they pulled it off on television makes Schwartz’s success all the more impressive.
The half-hour special airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. on Showtime, but you can watch the whole thing—starting with Don Cheadle playing the part of a pregnant man—below: