Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer’s Drive Share Is a Master Class in World Building

Comedy Reviews Drive Share
Rob Huebel and Paul Scheer’s Drive Share Is a Master Class in World Building

If the events of the last week are indicator, we’re looking at the beginning of the end of Uber. Just kidding! Uber will be be fine. And even if the strike that led to #DeleteUber does have some lasting effect, we’ve hardly heard the end of ride-sharing apps in general. Not by a long shot. This should come as good news (and no surprise) to Paul Scheer (The League, How Did This Get Made?) and Rob Huebel (Transparent), whose nth collaboration Drive Share is now streaming on Verizon’s digital platform go90.

Drive Share operates within a simple anthological premise: “Every day, millions of people use ride-share apps. These are their stories.” Each 8ish-minute episode tells two or more discrete stories featuring a delicious array of guest stars; Andy Daly, Jason Mantzoukas, Jack McBrayer, Adam Pally, Natasha Leggero, Paul F. Tompkins and seemingly every other UCB alum the starring duo has ever worked with. But the participation of famous friends is no metric for success, as any number of web series prove. Thankfully, Huebel and Scheer steer the semi-scripted Drive Share in unpredictable directions, veering between sketch and improvisation to strike a dizzying variety of tones. A rotating slate of drivers mean this is far from “High Maintenance With Cars,” though it does start with that show’s leisurely pace, coasting on its stars’ chemistry—and their boundless skill for slowly ratcheting up the awkwardness—without fully exploring each story’s setup. The series really lifts off in its second episode, when a passenger suffering from a gunshot wound takes a ride with an aspiring Meisner actor (Scheer).

The overall result is uneven. Some set-ups—a driver who used to date her passenger, a guy whose hook-up is his long-lost sister—allow you to get ahead of the episode, which becomes a drag, frankly, resembling a 201 improv class more than anything else. But when it’s on, it’s on, as it is in episodes featuring Scheer, Natasha Leggero and a driver (Andre Hyland) who can’t find his passenger. As the series progresses, the premises escalate higher and higher—two cult-y missionaries test out their moves on a driver; a self-driving car is weirdly racist—and the improv gets stronger, bolstered by excellent guest turns from Jack McBrayer and a dick-handed (no, really) Ken Marino. Like any good comedy, it gets exponentially better as it finds its footing, exploring new characters and possibilities within its limited world. One particularly excellent episode riffs on Mad Max, placing Scheer and Huebel in a dirt-smeared dystopian future that could easily make for a feature film (cc: Gary Sanchez).

Ultimately, Drive Share reveals itself to be more than a vehicle for awkward dialogue between unlikely scene partners. On a deeper level, it offers a surprising look at the uneasy power dynamics of the sharing economy, wherein each side has unpredictable leeway to assert itself over the other. Both sides, of course, are dwarfed by the looming capitalist structure that brought them together. As one episode that culminates in a drone strike suggests, we rarely have as much power as we think.

Drive Share is currently streaming on the go90 app.

Graham Techler is a New York-based writer and actor. Follow him at @grahamtechler.

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