alibi online
Free Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.20 No.3 | January 20 - 26, 2011 
Play Youtube Video

Idiot Box

Mock On!

“Onion SportsDome” on Comedy Central

Trendy, franchised joke newspaper The Onion hit the big time with the book Our Dumb Century, a best-selling compilation of fake headlines and made-up news articles published in 1999. That was followed by the 2008 direct-to-video comedy feature The Onion Movie, which did nobody any good. Things are on the upswing again, though, with the debut of “Onion SportsDome” on Comedy Central and the soon-to-debut “Onion News Network” on IFC.

“Onion SportsDome” makes for a fine addition to Comedy Central’s lineup alongside faux news shows “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report.” Whereas “Daily Show” is a satire of nightly news shows and “Colbert Report” is a satire of personality-driven punditry, “Onion SportsDome” is an all-out parody of sports highlight shows. Unlike its two Comedy Central companions, “Onion SportsDome” doesn’t rely on actual headlines. Rather than wryly comment on the news of the day, the show creates elaborate fantasies that feel unnervingly, hilariously real thanks to their dead-on duplication of news industry tropes. The shouting commentators, the ridiculously overblown graphics, the breathless pace, the meaningless hyperbole: “Onion SportsDome” nails shows like ESPN’s “SportsCenter” to the wall. Amusingly enough, the Jan. 11 debut of “SportsDome” earned a higher nightly rating than “SportsCenter,” the show it mocks. Boo-ya! (Note use of bombastic editorial commentary.)

The strength of The Onion has always been its spot-on headlines. Articles can be amusing, but long-form comedy isn’t the paper’s strong suit. Which is why “SportsDome” works so well. The short attention span of sports clip shows lends “SportsDome” a blistering pace. Jokes fly faster that you can absorb them. Some of the humor is built around actual clips. A sketch about Shaquille O’Neal braving multiple heart attacks during a game is given its comedic heft thanks to multiple shots of the hulking O’Neal sweating and grimacing horribly. Other sequences go straight for the absurd. A play-by-play commentary describing a fight between a meth addict and some invisible snakes is one of the highlights of the premiere ep. Others still get their subtle humor from common sporting attitudes. “Soccer: That’s still happening,” notes one commentator introducing a sport he’s none too eager to explore.

Admittedly, the show is best absorbed in bite-size chunks. A full 22-minute dose is apt to leave viewers worn out. Still, the hit-to-miss joke ratio is high enough here to warrant repeated viewings. Obviously, sports fans will get the most laughs out of “Onion SportsDome.” But even non-fanatics are apt to get the joke when the anchors straightfacedly announce that Major League Baseball plans to “charge a fee for childhood memories.”

“Onion Sportsdome” airs Tuesdays at 11:30 p.m. on Comedy Central.


Trash at National Hispanic Cultural Center


After three boys picking trash in the slums of Rio de Janeiro find a wallet in the daily detritus of their local dump, they little imagine that their lives are about to change forever.


Trolleywood at Albuquerque Museum of Art and History


New Mexico Labor Film Festival at Center for Progress and Justice

More Recommended Events ››

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.