There are some out there who think we’ve had enough comedy mockumentaries. And you know what? I don’t disagree with them. But when done right, the genre can be quite hilarious. It’s like a found footage horror film, done to death but still capable of sneaking up and surprising you.
I hope HBO’s 7 Days in Hell sneaks up and surprises us. The comedy, which I hadn’t heard of at all until today, premieres on HBO on July 11th and released its first trailer today. It’s short but you get the idea: it’s essentially a feature-length SNL sketch with a stacked cast and silly plot. But how about that plot? Two tennis pros (Andy Samberg and Kit Harington) duke it out in a match that lasts an entire week. Not the most high brow story but put in the right hands, that could be out-and-out genius. The hands running this production happen to be Jake Szymanski, of Funny or Die and SNL fame.
Samberg was hit-or-miss on SNL (though Hot Rod is delightful) but he’s grown on me tremendously since landing on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. The guy’s got comedy chops, even if he’s always playing the loud, immature buffoon. It’ll be interesting to see Harington try his hand at comedy, especially since we all know him as the mopey, quiet Jon Snow. Everyone enjoys seeing an actor known primarily for drama nailing it in the comedy world. Then again, they don’t always nail it (did you see Jeremy Renner host SNL? Oof).
Lastly, it’ll be fascinating to see if HBO tries its hand at more comedies. They’ve created amazing documentaries and dramatic films but their comedy slate has been lacking. If 7 Days in Hells hits, who’s to say it won’t be the first in many successful comedy feature-lengths for the network. We all know they could do it. They’re HBO, they can do whatever the hell they want.
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