In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, Comedy Central
Let’s put our cards on the table here: Corporate is without a doubt the funniest Comedy Central programme I’ve ever seen. I’ve had a look through the entire TMINE review database and Corporate is hands-down the funniest show I’ve reviewed on the network.
Four episodes in, that’s still true. A biting, nihilistic look at working for a giant corporation, it alternates between pastiching the soul-destroying, abusive nature of corporate culture and the desire for the sweet release of death from said culture.
Episode 1 introduced us to evil company Hampton Deville, its boss Lance Reddick, its put-upon and putting-upon junior executives Matt Ingebretson and Jake Weisman and the oppressive mid-tier executives Anne Dudek and Adam Lustick. Episode 2 then gave us a look at what the company actually does. As well as trying to sell a tablet eight times larger than an iPad, it seems it actually also makes cut-price weapons.
As its title The Powerpoint of Death suggests, the episode is mainly about Ingebretson’s work creating a PowerPoint to pitch the start of a new war to the CIA so Hampton Deville can sell it cheap weapons. It’s full of great one-liners, such as Reddick’s declaration that having lost the Iraq war contract to Philip Baker Hall, never again will he allow another man profit from destabilising the Middle East. The end-credits scene is probably the funniest thing you’ll ever see about fonts in a TV show, too, but a minor ongoing gag also involves all the effort and exploitation that goes into producing bananas, purely so they can sit and go brown in a communal work room.
Episode 3 then gave us various attempts by the amoral Weisman to trade his prescription drugs with employees for better perks. When perky guest star Aimee Mann shows up, he makes it his mission to make her unhappy and a pill addict, purely so he can get her parking space.
Episode 4 doesn’t let up either, taking on Banksy and manufactured anti-corporate rebellion with ‘Trademarq’ and craft beer. “People hate corporations, but they love buying things from us,” declares Reddick, before commissioning a subsidiary to sell anti-Hampton Deville merchandise to anarchist protestors.
Corporate is a hugely cynical, smart, bleak and very funny look at modern day capitalism. It’s not 100% accurate, sometimes feeling more like its critiquing the cultures of small businesses than large businesses, but it’s well worth your time and is probably the first jewel in Comedy Central’s crown.
Barrometer rating: 1