Logo claims that there’s nothing gayer on TV than The Big Gay Sketch Show, and for the
most part, they’re absolutely correct. The aptly named series offers sketch
comedy à la Saturday Night Live or Mad TV, but with a decidedly queer
twist: Instead of simply parodying pop culture as a whole, gay icons and
stereotypes take center stage.
Thankfully, the second season of the show, which premieres tonight,
Feb. 5, is as funny as it is out and proud. With Rosie O’Donnell at the helm
and Amanda Bearse in the director’s chair, the new season improves upon the
already winning formula with tighter direction and a livelier atmosphere.
Season 2 brings back more of the same antics from the first
series, with a few welcome twists. A live audience adds a bit of life to what
was once canned laughter, and a roving backstage camera shows brief snippets of
the performers before and after the sketches. This tactic works perfectly to
break up the action and keep the audience giggling in between skits — evidence
of better pacing and overall direction.
Another welcome addition is the inclusion of celebrity guest
stars. In one early episode, Broadway legend Elaine Stritch marches out in the
middle of Nicol Paone’s pitch-perfect impersonation of her, making for one of
the funniest — and most meta — moments of the season so far. Thankfully, the
sassy Stritch is played to her strengths and not overused (a common problem in
many sketch shows).
Other guests set to appear in the new season’s eight
episodes include Kate Clinton and Christine Ebersole (Saturday
Night Live, as well as a recent turn as Lily Parrish on Cashmere Mafia). Best of all, Rosie
O’Donnell and Chastity Bono actually make an appearance at the end of every
episode, where they make fun of the show from their balcony seats, much like
Waldorf and Statler from The Muppet Show. The new additions serve the
inclusive, “big happy family” atmosphere and add a bit of sly
self-awareness to the proceedings.