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Insomniac with Dave Attell
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this comedic travelogue is hosted by Dave Attell, a comedian known for his explicit and politically incorrect humor. In each episode, he visits bars, clubs, and sexually oriented places like fetish parties or genital-piercing parlors and meets a wide variety of folks -- many of whom are drunk or otherwise engaged in edgy, adult behavior. Some episodes contain scenes or sounds of sexual simulation, topless (breasts blurred) dancers, couples making out, gay men or nearly nude women caressing the host, and genital piercings. Attell drinks and smokes cigarettes frequently and speaks fondly of both. Comedy material includes masturbation, gay sex, one-night-stands, drinking and driving, etc. At least one episode includes Attell handling a large dildo embedded with a crucifix.
What's the story?
In INSOMNIAC, comedian Dave Attell explores the freakier side of city life by staying up all night and documenting what he sees. Part travel show, part comedy series, Insomnaic eschews traditional tourist spots and instead heads for the gritty, the alternative, the sexy, and the intoxicated in various North American cities. Traveling from nightclub to 24-hour grocery store to pizza joint to fetish party, Attell -- who's known for his raunchy and politically incorrect humor -- shows viewers what they're missing while they're home snug in bed.
Is it any good?
Some of the show's funniest scenes are the ones that capture the mundane amid the odd. In New York City, for example, Attell drops into a gay foot fetish club, where several men are gleefully rubbing one another's feet. Though many viewers may well find this behavior strange, what's weirdest is how boring the scene seems. Attell knows this, and he does a good job hitting a mix of oddly dull and quirkily fun locations. Drinking is a central part of the show, as Attell travels from bar to bar meeting intoxicated folks from all walks of life. What's appealing about Attell in these different situations is how democratically he approaches people, whether he's speaking to a leather-clad gay biker, a homeless man sorting trash, or a drunken party girl.
While Attell's sharp wit mixed with a dark silliness is enormously appealing to some, he's not for everybody. His comedy routines (bits of which begin each episode) are peppered with masturbation jokes, semi-sexist humor, blasphemy, and near constant references to drinking and drugs. Insomniac certainly isn't for kids, and even older teens and adults may be offended or shocked by some of Attell's humor.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about envelope-pushing humor. What's the line between funny and offensive? Who determines how and where that line is drawn? And what's the difference between a joke that's smartly edgy and one that's just shocking? Is Attell making fun of the people he interviews? Are viewers supposed to laugh at the people he encounters? How can you tell? If you find Attell's humor appealing, do you understand why?