You could actually see Game of Thrones star Kit Harington in the crowds at Wimbledon this past weekend, which definitely sparked some rumors, but Harington and tennis are coming together in a much more important and memorable way for HBO’s upcoming comedy special 7 Days in Hell. This could very well be the greatest thing that Harington has ever been a part of – indubitably – and it will hopefully spawn a neverending supply of similar specials. This shit is amazing.
Because it’s far from your average TV program, 7 Days in Hell is a hard surface sell as far as convincing people to watch goes, so here are the three main reasons why your asses should be locked to your couches this weekend when it premieres on HBO. More like Humor Box Office, amirite?
TV Spoofs Don’t Get Better Than This
“Spoof” is almost a dirty word these days, bringing to mind the downward spiral the comedic sub-genre has gone through in the 21st century, but 7 Days in Hell is pitch perfect in aping every facet of controversy-minded docu-series, particularly that of ESPN’s highly acclaimed 30 for 30. The story revolves around a once-in-a-lifetime tennis match between Andy Samberg’s egotistical legend-turned-hasbeen Aaron Williams and the latest badass on the court, Kit Harington’s Charles Poole. Viewers see their bizarrely unpredictable stories told through visual media like home videos, old interview footage, and talking head interviews with a long list of famous faces. (More on that later.) Thankfully, this special easily manages to stand out in a growing assortment of mockumentary-type shows on the boob tube, and with just a 45-minute runtime, it doesn’t outlast its welcome.
It’s One of the Funniest Things HBO Has Ever Aired
Written by American Dad and Girls scribe Murray Miller and directed by former Saturday Night Live vet Jake Szymanski, 7 Days in Hell is almost unlike anything that HBO has ever delivered, even though it’s basically a weird mix of Real Sports and Funny or Die, with just a little bit of Kenny Powers’ bravado running through. The places that the humor comes from are seemingly endless, as there are silly verbal jokes, clever sight gags, impossible situations, Taiwanese animation, an excellent sports training montage and hilarious self-awareness at every level. (Particularly when it comes to the name of the special, thanks to Will Forte.) And because this is HBO, this isn’t exactly a show for kids, as it features its fair share of four-letter words and dicks. That’s right, there are gym bags full of dick jokes in this, and they’re all giggle-worthy.
Michael Sheen and The Plethora of Guest Stars
There are a lot of celebrities in 7 Days in Hell, from both the comedy world and the tennis world, and there are two big standouts. One is the immaculate Michael Sheen, who plays a stuffy, pot-bellied, chain-smoking British talk show host named Caspian Wint that lecherously fawns over Poole in uncomfortable ways. The second is tennis icon John McEnroe, who is rather good as the “guy who’s been there” in talking about Williams’ career, and is a better line reader than David Copperfield, who has his own decent moments. Beyond those guys, we have Chris Evert, Serena Williams, Soledad O’Brien and sportscaster Jim Lampley all playing themselves; and then there’s Fred Armisen, Karen Gillan, Mary Steenburgen, Lena Dunham, June Squibb and Howie Mandel. It’s a smorg-asports-bord of hilarity.
Try not to get into any unwarranted threesomes this weekend, because 7 Days in Hell will make its grand premiere on HBO on Saturday, July 11, at 10 p.m. ET. For those who can't wait, it's actually hitting HBO Go and HBO Now a few days early, on July 8.
Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.
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