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The Telefile
HBO’s <I>Funny or Die Presents</i>: (Mostly) Back with a Vengeance

HBO kicked off the second season of Funny or Die Presents last night, and though it cruelly did not contain a brand new "Drunk History" like last year's premiere did (whyyyy?), it did put forth much stronger sketches overall. Kind of amazing, considering power hitters like Aziz Ansari, Paul Scheer and Will Ferrell were also absent this time around.

The sketches in this episode seemed a lot shorter than I remember being this show's norm, with most of them whizzing by at around two minutes each, which was mostly for the best. Rob Huebel's "Do You Want to See a Dead Body?" was hilarious, but it was also perfect for its brief running time. A minute or two longer and the gag -- involving Deepak Chopra trying to philosophize a dude-bro's juvenile interest in giggling at dead bodies -- would have worn gratingly thin. The two funniest bits of the night, "Juggalo News" and "United States Police Department," were also hysterical ("He has pussy for balls!" is our new go-to insult, I think) and again, perfectly paced and edited. I wanted more after each of them, and considering that mocking Juggalos and Law & Order conventions have both been done to death in this world, that certainly speaks to the performance and writing quality of these sketches.

But, of course, the episode wasn't without dipping back into last season's faults for a moment. The action figure theater piece "Brick Novax's Diary" was humorless and about twice as long as everything else in the episode. Really odd choice, but considering the strength of the episode as a whole, I guess it's OK to let them indulge in something approaching (and spinning off the road and crashing and burning, but still) artsy. They can't all be terrifically creepy winners like "Adam West Hits on You... Hard."

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