‘Murderville’: Marshawn Lynch is the Funniest Man Alive
Netflix’s Murderville is the type of show that appeases folks who are intrigued by the cast and annoy those who are not. The formula says it all — take Will Arnett in full Lego Batman mode as Detective Seattle, add a healthy dose of Curb-like improv, and make it all a celebrity whodunnit where everyone but the guest has a script.
During episode 1, Conan O’Brien tries to keep it together as David Wain does magic tricks in an interrogation room. It’s the perfect environment for a man whose Late Night Talk persona is always feeding off the guest. However, it’s in the second episode that something special happens and suddenly, Beast Mode activates.
It’s no surprise that Marshawn Lynch is hilarious. Ironically, one of my favorite moments of his was an old episode of Conan’s TBS show where he, Conan, and Rob Gronkowski played a new Mortal Kombat game. As Conan went into hyperdrive, screaming like a yeti and jumping on the care, Marshawn calmly subdued him and asked if he was doing alright. The genuine concern he had for Conan showed why non-football fans like me still love and root for him. Yes, he’s always been funny, but the earnestness behind every action makes him a refreshing, honest presence in the increasingly artificial internet age. From the moment he appears on screen, we’re reminded that while the charm and hospitality are nice, Marshawn Lynch also happens to be the funniest man alive.
Being funny on his own is no surprise for Lynch. The man has the charm and charisma to carry himself in just about any environment. He’s had his fair share of movie and television roles at this point, but here he’s the star of the show. His jokes are natural to what is happening and not done with Deadpool-style camera winks. This is the secret to his appearance’s success.
Where Conan tried desperately to keep it together, often turning crimson in the process, Lynch keeps his poker face strong for most of the episode’s run. Seattle needs him to carry his grandma’s urn? Great. Need him to pretend to be the very caucasian suspect’s reflection? Cool. Want him to go undercover as a bartender? Awesome. The only time Marshawn truly breaks character is when he has to say the pseudonym that Seattle prescribes.
Marshawn Lynch plays Detective Bagabiche with the audacity of Daniel Day-Lewis preparing for the role of his life. Within thirty seconds, he changes his name to Detective Bagabich, stating that it’s a name of Oakland descent. Murderville both hinges on the cast trying to make each other laugh and keeping it together until they can’t. Marshawn plays this perfectly.
That’s what makes this show work. It’s not Jimmy Fallon cackling like an inebriated hyena at everything that’s said. Sometimes, they break, but clever editing mostly keeps this facade alive. It’s not funny in the same way that Curb is funny. It’s funny because everyone but the characters is in on it. It sets a classic formula, plays it out, and lets both the guest and the actors show us what they have.
While the professional actors and comedians hold their own, Marshawn Lynch stands tall not because he tries to make us laugh, but because he’s natural, hilarious and committed to the “Yes, and?” principle; all while giving us one of the most charming on-screen performances that we will ever see.