Funny or Die‘s Dark Justice has reviewed favorably among members, but how does it fare in this news writer’s opinion? For one, it’s probably not the same “Dark Justice” you’ll find if you google the title. Give it a chance anyway.
Despite its current lack of fame, this internet-based comedy series is a six-part collection of five to eight minute episodes, about the time it normally takes for any average network TV show to reach its first commercial break. If you don’t have much time on your hands, I’d say still give it a watch and see for yourself.
In a time when racism appears to be at its worst in years, Mike Gerbino tells the amusing story of a black police officer (played by comedian actor Che Holloway) dealing with a small town’s police department as a new recruit. As Black Lives Matter rallies across the United States, Gerbino’s comedy series dares to poke a comedic finger at how white people often act when faced with a black stranger, especially after years of avoiding them.
This review of Dark Justice will be honest and unbiased, the impression of a professional news writer and storyteller asked for critique.
Che Holloway plays the role of Amir Johnson, a rookie police officer in a small town, and generally the straight man in a pool of nearly stereotypical white and black roles. We see the police department through his eyes as he gains his first partner, and on a routine visit to a crime scene (a theft), the white officer (Tim O’Connor) initially plays along, but eventually shoots him, mistaking him for the criminal. The partner’s reactions appear realistic enough, but there are moments when you can tell he’s part of a bigger problem. This applies to every main white actor in the series.
The lack of a laugh track is greatly appreciated at this point, as many comedies aren’t really that funny when you take it out. Dark Justice reviews its humor through the veil of a director who is making a point that racism is alive and well today, yet isn’t afraid to go for some genuine laughs. It does go for the low-brow tension relief in the form of a fart joke, and the occasional funny face.
As the show progresses, you can tell the white officers are going out of their way not to basically stare at the black man in their presence. Johnson’s partner blames shooting him twice on “reflex,” and later explains that “racism was there for him in his darkest times.” Even the police chief, played by Mooney Faugh, seems confused in how to handle this newcomer who just happens to be black.
This is basically a social parody on a very real problem, and Dark Justice does its best to review it and make us laugh at the same time.
The genuine laughs also come from a stereotypical activist (Jon Cesar) character who seems to want nothing more than to exploit racism in the community. This is compounded by his white followers (Crescenzo Scipione, Elaine Cost) who constantly act like they can’t see other black people in the community as he seeks “dark justice” and reviews the actions of more blatant racists.
Fantastic write up about DARK JUSTICE!https://t.co/V0Z7qpcZ17
— Dark Justice (@DarkJusticeShow) February 21, 2016
There is a running gag throughout the series where white people confronted with their racism act like Johnson is either not black or not an officer. Dark Justice reviews how they act stupid while endlessly going out of their way to ignore the diversity around them.
Dark Justice doesn’t tell you when to laugh, which is a huge positive. It’s obvious there is an agenda behind it, but it goes for laughs rather than brow-beating the point home. See the six episode series for yourself on Funny or Die and YouTube.
[Image via Dark Justice/People With Teeth]