5 Comedy Team-Ups That Need To Happen
Comic books have known a fandom secret for years--we love to see our favorite characters team up. Spider-Man partners with the Human Torch? Hell to the yeah! How else are they supposed to take down the sinister Sandman?
So if works for comic book cats, why not match up comedy’s mightiest heroes as well? Here are five comic team-ups that we think could hilariously save the day.
Bill Murray and Natasha Lyonne
What happens when a tornado meets a hurricane? We’re not exactly sure, but we’re ready to get swept up.
Both Lyonne and Murray are comic forces of nature, the kinds of actors who blow into a scene and knock the glass out of the windows. Think Murray in Rushmore, heater in one hand, Hennesey in the other, chucking golf balls into the pool before joining them at the bottom. His party guests are transfixed by the ticking bomb in the Budweiser swim trunks, afraid of what he might do next.
Lyonne has always been a roman candle; Russian Doll gives her a chance to throw up colorful sparks on a regular basis. She’s the type of lady who calls out “Hey bartendress, more drunk please.”
So what would happen if we threw Murray and Lyonne together? It wouldn’t be a romance, at least not the smoochy romantic kind. But … two con artists working against one another to dupe the same mark? Corrupt corporate executives angling for the same job? Or maybe slimy tech entrepreneurs working together to get venture capitalists’ cash before a phony discovery is found out? We’re already lining up.
Melissa McCarthy and John Mulaney
The best comedy teams feature opposites -- think Chris Farley’s combustible bluster paired with David Spade’s subtle snark or Richard Pryor’s jittery cool coupled with Gene Wilder’s buttoned-down anxiety. So let us pitch this: How about a comedy team featuring the foul-mouthed, take-no-prisoners Melissa McCarthy with the uncomfortably polite John Mulaney?
Heck, while we’re at it, let’s pull a story right out of real life. What if Mulaney plays an uneasy marketing exec just released from Adderall rehab, only to be paired with McCarthy moonlighting as a sobriety coach? We’ll let your imaginations write the rest -- it’s pretty much that easy, yes?
The pairing could jumpstart both careers. Mulaney’s stand-up tour is selling out everywhere, but he’s never been able to parlay his stage success into something that works onscreen. (Anyone remember the Seinfeldian Mulaney?) As for McCarthy, she’s leaned into critically panned properties like God’s Favorite Idiot with partner Ben Falcone. We’re sure Falcone is a nice guy, but it’s time McCarthy got back to working with a different comedy counterpart.
David Wain and Mike Myers
The Pentaverate was Mike Myers’ return to comedy after a long absence, but it unfortunately doubled down on all the tropes that caused Myers to fall out of favor in the first place: multiple characters, recycled accents, and layers of lamentable latex.
But here’s the thing--we like Mike Myers. The guy’s a comedy genius but desperately needs someone to rein in his most self-indulgent impulses.
So here’s a weird idea. How about writer/director David Wain? He shares Myers' affection for pop-culture nostalgia (the 80s kid camp vibes of Wet Hot American Summer) and general weirdness (Children’s Hospital). But he somehow keeps those profoundly goofy ideas grounded in reality, a trait missing from Myers’ work since the first Wayne’s World.
Plus, both guys came out of the sketch comedy scene (Myers with Second City, Wain with The State), so comic collaboration should come naturally.
Nathan Fielder and Samantha Bee
Man, could these two get into trouble together.
We’re thinking some kind of gonzo public theater, one that combines Bee’s subversive sass and Fielder’s itchy talent for getting uncomfortable. Imagine a scenario where both are conducting man-on-the-street interviews about some hot-button topic. And then Bee turns on Fielder, dressing him down for being terrible at the job. As Fielder wilts under Bee’s public aggression, the surrounding onlookers, who surely will recognize their faces, will have no idea what’s real and what’s comedy. In a perfect world, we won’t exactly know either.
Really want to get meta? We can go back to the ‘offices’ where the two fight over the perceived authenticity of the public fight. Does Fielder cry? Maybe! But is the argument real or are they just playing us again, with the conflict meticulously planned out ahead of time? By the last episode, they could let us in on the joke--or at least, let us think that’s what they’re doing.
And don’t confine it to television. Have them battle it out on social media! Get their stans in on the fight! Team members defecting! Anonymous leaks! We’ll subscribe to whatever streamer wants to pick this up.
Bo Burnham and Trey Parker and Matt Stone
You know what used to be big in comedy? Musicals. You know who could pull off a 21st-century musical revival? Well, actually, Stone and Parker already did it with the sidesplitting, inflammatory Book of Mormon. But pair those two anarchists with comedy man-of-the-moment Bo Burnham? Now we’re talking something huge.
All three have directing chops (Eighth Grade for Burnham, Team America: World Police and South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut for Parker and Stone). So how about a musical that combines live-action and animation? It worked for Mary Poppins, so let’s update that idea with more self-loathing and dick jokes. Burnham can handle the live-action, Parker and Stone get to do the cartoon stuff. And when the inevitable fights break out? They can write funny songs about it!
Can you guess what the number one song of the year so far? The goofy We Don’t Talk About Bruno from Encanto. No offense to Lin-Manuel Miranda, but we’re pretty sure Burnham, Parker, and Stone can come up with something funnier than that. Get to work, fellas.
For more ComedyNerd, be sure to check out:
For ComedyNerd exclusive content and more, subscribe to our fancy newsletter:
Top image: Shutterstock