Welcome to Unaired Pilot Theater where we spotlight the first episode of a TV series that was barely given a chance! Have you seen the Lonely Island’s unaired Fox sketch show pilot Awesometown?
Before Andy Samberg was on SNL and the Lonely Island invented the model that online sketch comedy would build off of for the next decade/gave SNL back its young audience/pretty much made Youtube a thing, they were just three dudes from the Bay Area who wanted to make weird, funny videos. After cutting their teeth at Dan Harmon’s monthly LA film festival Channel 101, they made a TV pilot out of their best internet sketches as well as some new content.
Fox ordered the pilot first. It gave LI a bit of a budget that they used to shoot a catchy intro (featuring Channel 101 alums Jack Black and Jeff Davis) and some broadly appealing live segments in front of an audience, Chapelle’s Show style. It also makes use of some of their previously shot sketches like Just 2 Guyz and their Channel 101 series The ‘Bu. Look out for some silent cameos from Kal Penn, Phil Lord, and Chris Miller!
After Fox did not order the pilot to series, they created the “Dudes cut” which was more their style. It got rid of the live segments and focused more on their weirdly esoteric style of comedy. This cut was to pitch the show to edgier networks like MTV. It was not picked up on cable either, and the project was presumably forgotten as the same year Andy, Akiva, and Jorma would hit it big on SNL as their digital wunderkinds.
Dudes cut (contains some very pixelated nudity):
Just like with Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s failed pilot Time Warped, which you can hear about on our Laser Time episode about their work, or Bryan Fuller’s Mockingbird Lane, which was his last project before Hannibal, if this show had been picked up the TV landscape would be totally different!
Do you wish this show had gotten its chance or is the world better off with The Lonely Island on SNL? What are some of your favorite pilots? Let us know in the comments! You can hear all about some more shows canceled before they even got a chance on the Laser Time episode about the best unaired pilots, get more Lonely Island love with our Hot Rod movie commentary on Bandcamp and Patreon, and hear about more ways Channel 101 influenced the TV you loved in our podcast about the pre-Rick and Morty works of Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland!
Want more sketch comedy? Check out some of the best Mr. Show sketches ever on our Youtube channel!