‘My Brother, My Brother And Me’ Is The Best Comedy You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
"Watching this show feels like mainlining happiness."
The McElroy brothers are not experts, and their advice should never be followed. They’re just three brothers who have made a TV show. And from a strange alchemy of silliness and mayhem, they’ve managed to create what could easily be 2017’s best comedy.
Despite that, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve never even heard of them.
Who Are The McElroys Anyway?
The McElroys are three brothers — Justin, Travis and Griffin. Between them they’ve made about 3,000 podcasts and almost as many YouTube videos, and have somehow turned this into a viable career.
Justin and Griffin make a YouTube series called Monster Factory. They have a long-running Dungeons and Dragons podcast with their dad called The Adventure Zone. They’ve just started a new podcast called The McElroy Brothers Will Be In Trolls 2 which (as far as is possible) does what it says on the tin. These are just some of the 24 current projects listed on their website. The sheer quantity of media they release on a weekly basis is mind-boggling.
Since 2010, the McElroys have also been making a podcast called My Brother, My Brother and Me, “an advice show for the modern era”. MBMBAM (pronounced muh-BIM-bam) is comprised of the three of them answering questions, giving dubious advice and regularly devolving into hysterical giggling.
At this point it feels like the McElroys are borderline a cult. You’re either super into them or you’ve never heard of them and there isn’t a lot of middle ground. One of the reasons for this is that it’s almost impossible to know where you should jump on.
Given their output, it would be pretty easy to consume literally nothing except McElroy content every day for the rest of recorded time. Even the MBMAM podcast (which seems like a good starting point) has almost 400 episodes. Apparently you can pretty much skip the first 150, which is very helpful and not at all overwhelming.
What Is This Show?
Earlier this year, Seeso (NBCUniversal’s comedy streaming service) turned My Brother, My Brother and Me into a six-episode TV show, and it just hit Australian iTunes. You can watch the entire series in the time it takes to leisurely drink a bottle of pink wine (citation: me, last weekend). And you don’t need to know anything about the McElroy’s ludicrous body of work to fall in love with it.
Justin, Travis and Griffin return to their hometown of Huntington in West Virginia. They continue giving dubious advice, each episode attempting to answer a question from one of their fans by embarking on a quest-like series of misadventures. Filmed in and around Huntington’s historic landmarks, the boys embroil the Mayor, the Chief of Police, numerous local business owners, a dozen teens and their extended family in their elaborate plans.
Watching this show feels like mainlining happiness.
They rebrand tarantulas by running a semi-impromptu spider parade; take a possessed clown doll and a couple of ghost hunters into a college dorm; and descend into Lord-of-the-Flies style anarchy in a miniature village. The show is a rollercoaster of chaos and absurdity, spiralling from one ridiculous situation to the next.
Why Is It So Nice And Good?
This is the kind of show that I wanted to watch again the second it finished. I want to watch it over and over, whenever I’m sick or sad or lonely. In the same way that Parks and Recreation was just relentlessly positive, watching MBMBAM feels like mainlining happiness.
The brothers do everything with such earnest enthusiasm, that everyone in the show (up to and including the actual Mayor of Huntington) finds themselves buying into the McElroys’ out-of-control world view. They’re never laughing at anyone (except each other), accepting real-life ghost busters, secret societies and cupcake bakeries with open hearts and open arms.
At it’s heart, MBMBAM is a show about these three brothers loving each other unconditionally. Usually they’re scattered across the US, working together remotely. “I don’t know why it takes a camera to get all of us in the same place,” says Justin as the other two neg him for being emotional. Watching them revel in being physically together is a very happy thing; most of the best bits are just the three of them making each other laugh.
People don’t say ‘I love you’ unromantically on television very much. In bad rom-coms it gets thrown around like rice at a wedding, but as soon as you’ve got two friends expressing affection for each other (especially if they’re men) it’s all ‘thanks pal’ while standing at least five feet apart. But in MBMBAM the McElroys say ‘I love you’ a lot. They rest their heads on each other’s shoulders, and put their arms around each other, and clutch at each other in moments of fear or excitement. Multiple times per episode, they express love so openly and easily that it seems like the simplest thing in the world.
The thing MBMBAM says the loudest is this: tell the people in your life that you love them like it’s no big deal. Because actually it isn’t. And if for no other reason, that takeaway makes it worth watching this show and getting on board the runaway McElroy train. MBMBAM is filled with love and hope and joy. And we’ve never needed that more than we do in 2017.
My Brother, My Brother and Me is available on iTunes now. You can also watch a whole episode for free on YouTube.