SO LET’S ACKNOWLEDGE the elephant in the article: It was Valentine’s Day yesterday. But really, what could be more TV section than to release this a day late. Still, let’s pretend that you’re reading this 24 hrs ago, you’re looking for something to kill time until you see your significant other, you need it to kill roughly an hour and preferably, set the mood for the evening. Well, if this was you, look no further at something completely inappropriate for such a purpose in the form of Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Valentine’s Day Special.
MB’sBSVDS as it’s going to be referred to, in a misguided effort to save time is the brainchild of Scott Aukerman and Akiva Schaeffer, the face and main voice of hit podcast and sadly missed TV show Comedy Bang! Bang! and one third of comedy megagroup The Lonely Island respectively. The general premise is that Santa Claus visited Michael Bolton and asked him to make the sexiest Valentine’s Day variety special in order to generate 75,000 more babies in time for Christmas so the over-produced presents aren’t wasted. Yes, really. If you’ve seen any of the TV show of CB!B! (which if you haven’t, do. It’s on Netflix and it’s proper good stuff), you’ll be immediately at home with this bizarre spin on traditional TV specials, if you haven’t, prepare to be further confused from here.
Much like Netflix’s last holiday special, A Very Murray Christmas, it involves a cavalcade of modern US comedy stalwarts including The Last Man On Earth‘s Will Forte as Michael Bolton’s twin Michael Fulton, The Lonely Island‘s Andy Samberg as Kenny G, A Very Murray Christmas’ Maya Rudolf once again showing she might be the most talented singer to be not cast in actively musical roles and many more for whom I really don’t want to ruin the jokes of their appearances beyond honestly, it’s worth watching for Michael Sheen alone. What works well is that while almost every one of the guests are playing big, broad characters, they all appear in cameo form and rarely outstay their welcome. It also provides a nice counter-balance having them go big to Bolton’s presence which is to say that he somehow works perfectly despite seemingly having little-to-no comic timing. It’s hard to explain how I’m saying that as a compliment but suffice to say it works, even when all conventional logic of comedy says it shouldn’t.
It’s worth complimenting that writer/directors Aukerman and Schaeffer have managed to capture the styling and oddness of classic variety specials near perfectly, while adding a modern sheen to everything. It feels like what we see is only about 10% more ridiculous than reality and it adds to the joke how even with how blatantly ridiculous the paper-thin premise is, they never let it descend into knowing winks and keep it straight, even with the comedy histrionics going on around it. That said, while no segment goes on longer than would be necessary, as is always the case with sketch and variety, not everything works and there are going to be a lot for whom the constant weirdness may be just too much alt-comedy hipster shit (my words not there’s).
I should warn you, the one thing this entire endeavour definitely isn’t is sexy (unless this is your thing in which case, carry on) but for my money, it’s very funny. Ultimately that’s all it needs to be. There’s no need to overthink what it’s doing, it’s a series of comedy people and Michael Bolton having a lot of fun and standing back while Bolton continues to have the smoothest voice in Adult Contemporary. I don’t know why it happened (beyond an opportunity to revive the classic ‘Jack Sparrow’ song that Bolton and TLI performed on Saturday Night Live) but quite simply, I’m glad it did. You might not normally watch this kind of thing, and you might not like it, it also is almost certainly not Valentine’s Day by the time you do but hell, did you have a better plan for your Wednesday evening than this? I thought not. Also, if you do, do check the ‘Trailers and More’ section for a very fun deleted scene.