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Amazon's 'The NFL Pile On' Has Potential

Stephen Douglas
The NFL Pile On
The NFL Pile On /
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Amazon's football comedy show, The NFL Pile On, premiered on Wednesday evening. We watched it so you don't have to, but it wasn't bad so you can watch it if you really want. Here's a review.

How To Watch

Well, you can tune into Amazon at 7pm or you're probably going to have to do a little work. While the Thursday Night Football schedule is readily available on the Prime Video home page, The NFL Pile On was nowhere to be seen by 9pm. I had to look up the show's name and then search for it on Amazon. And the result said "stream ended" or something along those lines making me briefly wonder if I had missed my only chance to see the show. However, when I opened the show's page I was able to watch the replay.

Was It Any Good?

There are worse ways you can spend a half-hour. Killam is an enthusiastic host and he's not faking his fandom for football or the Los Angeles Rams. Sarah Tiana was used throughout the show any way they could get her on screen, including drinking something in the background backstage. The show is a cross between The Soup for the NFL with a panel segment featuring comedians that you would see on Tough Crowd or Chelsea Lately. Killiam, who currently plays King George III in Hamilton, sang a song about the rash of missed kicks this weekend. And there was a one-on-one interview-ish segment with friend of TBL Jerry O'Connell.

Killam made it apparent from the opening moments that the show is going to roll with the punches. It sounds like they're going to try whatever they think of and be open to letting the show evolve as they learn what works.

As of right now their biggest problem is that they're making a comedy show without a studio audience. This isn't something meant to be watched over and over with tightly written material that has jokes on jokes on jokes like 30 Rock or Community. This is live comedy with bits and jokes that are meant for a crowd. The utter silence is off-putting. If you're going to be The Soup and you don't have a studio audience at least let the writers in to laugh at their jokes. It's hard to do a sports comedy show. It's harder to do a comedy show without an audience.

Wait, Is 'The Pile On' a Pun?

Yes. Did you get it? I didn't get it until I saw the name in a pylon on the show. I'd take a screengrab but Amazon won't let me.

Were There Advertisements?

Good lord yes. You know how you need to give Amazon money to watch this? Well, they took your money and paid someone to set up a very intrusive ad campaign for Carnival Cruises and a Guy Fieri restaurant. After Killam, Fieri might have the second-most screentime during The Pile-On. You literally watch him make and eat an entire burger on a cruise ship two-thirds of the way through the program. I'm not kidding.

Should You Watch?

The show is kind of in an impossible spot. It's a weekly comedy show about things that mostly happened three days earlier. A lot of people are going to have made a lot of jokes about the things they're writing jokes about by the time the show airs. Putting it on Amazon Prime on Wednesday night makes it feel like I have to watch it before Thursday Night Football or it's basically expired.

The good news is that they can do things like have a Hamilton castmember sing about field goal attempts. People posting reaction gifs on Twitter on Monday morning can't really do that. Not everything worked, but they're still figuring things out. The question is, can they get some viral clips going or does Amazon want to keep all the eyeballs over where Guy Fieri can stare back at them?

There's potential. And I'll watch next week, if I have time. And that's probably any show's biggest issue these days. Between TNF and watching The Dude Perfect replay of TNF and another hour of Lord of the Rings every week and everything else on every other damn streaming service, is there time for 30 minutes of football jokes?

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