NAMCAR Night Race

NAMCAR Night Race Trailer

It's here. The NAMCAR Night Race Trailer. #TVMA #NASCARonACID #slotcarracing #comedy

Posted by NAMCAR Night Race on Wednesday, June 22, 2016

When I was a young man in the 1990s, creating experimental theater pieces in downtown New York, John Leguizamo and his producing partner David Bar Katz, for no good reason, gave me a job working on their sketch-comedy show House of Buggin.’ The rest of the writing staff was honest-to-goodness sketch-comedy professionals, and I was some weirdo who was thrown into the mix. One of those professionals was Lance Khazei, who, I recently learned, has now created his own mind-bending piece of TV-land hysteria, NAMCAR Night Race.

NAMCAR Night Race is a show about people who are way too into slot-car racing. NAMCAR (North American Model Car Races), in the world of this seriously bent half-hour, is a kind of shadow-realm of NASCAR, but more intense, because the stakes are so very very small. Like The Wacky Races, there is a cast of more-or-less insane drivers who, for various reasons, can’t stand each other. All have the desperate need to prove themselves out on the track, except, of course, that they can’t fit on the track, and the track would fall down if they tried.

The comedy is presented in a mock-sports-show format, but then that’s where the real world ends. Like NASCAR crossed with “Too Many Cooks,” the race-car-driver narrative will take sudden, bizarre left turns. An interview will suddenly turn into a sketch, which will then turn into a commercial, which will then melt down and explode into a graphics assault, all without warning, before suddenly swinging back around to the sports-show format. There is a narrative in there, but it unfolds in a kind of impressionistic Bugs-Bunny dream frenzy. Like Monty Python or Mr. Show, it’s impossible to predict what’s going to happen from moment to moment, only that it’s going to be weird.

And yet, the show also bristles with humanity. While there are characters who might suddenly shoot lasers out of their eyes without warning or imagine themselves to be robots from the future, the struggles that the racers have are as simple and direct as can be. One racer, Scout, is a homespun tomboy Dixie Chick who wants to reclaim her father’s legacy. She also has eyes for likeable dude Manny, who only has eyes for Pit Girl, who is a man-eating succubus who also spends a lot of time thinking about Lego figures. You see what I’m saying – just when you think “Oh, I get what this show is,” that’s not what the show is. The co-hosts, D’Arcy Fellona and Theo Von, are as likely to bicker about who’s forgotten to take their meds as they are to describe the race unfolding, and every one of the characters is prone to hallucinations. Interviews devolve into digressions on Jenga and Paula Abdul, HO-scale figures on the track unexpectedly come to life, and third-prize winners in the race receive a year’s supply of ransom notes. It’s a demented spin around the NASCAR track and a breath of fresh air to comedy TV.