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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Business Work employs a potent mix of the absurd and banal

Illustration for article titled Business Work employs a potent mix of the absurd and banal
15 Minutes Or LessIn 15 Minutes Or Less, The A.V. Club looks at the best in web series and short-form TV, recommending entry points that will take up no more than a quarter-hour of your time.

Having an office job is a drab reality for most 9-to-5 employees. No matter how great a job might be, there’s something inherently dull and depressing about the cubicles, fluorescent lights, and forced chatter of a standard American workplace. Perhaps this is why offices have historically been such a fertile ground for sitcoms: Comedy is built on smashing patterns, and there are few places with as much ritual and stagnation as an office building. This drab stability makes the high jinks of Michael Scott or the Workaholics crew all the more outlandish and destructive by comparison.


Business Work is “a web series about an office,” as its YouTube channel boldly proclaims, yet in truth it has no interest in corporate culture. Written and directed by UCB performer John Purcell, the series follows a team of co-workers as they embark on quotidian office tasks—closing deals, getting lunch, taking a sexual harassment seminar. Yet these are merely jumping-off points, and each episode quickly escalates into an inspired collection of non sequiturs and fake outs. In the world of Business Work, jokes can come from any direction. Onlookers’ doughnuts become impossibly huge, bagged lunches disguise bags of heroin, bosses read books called How To Pronounce The Word “Interesting.” This joke-a-second writing style, combined with a game cast, yields an office comedy that’s energetic, bonkers, and above all, surprising.

Keywords: strange company, career comedians, fun employment

Where to start: Most Business Work episodes are under 90 seconds, meaning you can knock them all out in an afternoon. To get a taste for the series, consider “Office Romance” (embedded below), in which Frank (Nick Guercio) tells Edward (Malin Von Euler-Hogan) about his disastrous attempt to ask a co-worker on a date. Though the central gag of this entry is telegraphed a bit more than a typical episode, the surrounding attention to detail and pitch-perfect performances push this beyond a one-joke sketch. The first five seconds alone are worth the price of admission (which is zero, but still).

Where to watch: Business Work has its own YouTube channel and has also been featured on Funny Or Die.