Step Into the Closet

By: Traci Taylor
October 2012

Saturday night is not the only time of the week people are able to see the work of comedian Mike O’Brien. O’Brien is a writer for Saturday Night Live and also the host of a Web show “7 Minutes in Heaven”.
The series features different actors, some of them comedians, being interviewed inside of a closet. Nostalgia rings true with the title of the series. Just like the childhood game O’Brien attempts to kiss the celebrity after the interview has finished.
Even though they are humorous and entertaining the interviews are suitable for a more mature audience. The interview banter is directed more towards adults than that of which you would see on a daytime television show. The type of humor in “7 Minutes in Heaven” is strongly similar to SNL.
O’Brien keeps the interviews fresh and entertaining by the spontaneity of questions he chooses to pose onto his guests. It is a unique style of comedic interviewing that is somewhat similar to comedian Zach Galifianakis Web shoe “Between Two Ferns”. The styling of the two Web shows may be similar, but they cannot be compared. O’Brien takes a different comedic approach to his interview than Galifianskis.
The comedians and SNL alumni that are featured on the series had quite peculiar, yet entertaining, interviews by O’Brien. Tracy Morgan, Jack McBrayer, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres, Amy Poehler, Kristen Wiig, and Seth Meyers to only highlight a list of an even longer list of comedians that appear on the Web show.
The comedic background of these actors and actresses seem to make their interviews more entertaining than the rest. At least it seems more laughs are attributed to their videos according to the higher viewer ratings on them.
“30 Rock” fans can appreciate the appearances of Morgan, Fey, and McBrayer. Morgan’s reputation for the humor he dishes out made his interview both apprehensible yet eager to view. Even in his interview with O’Brien it is unclear if  Morgan is ever truly serious with what he says. Bottom line is, it doesn’t really matter because either way it is entertaining. McBrayer is charming as usual, as well as Fey.
It was a delight to see DeGeneres being interviewed. She had guest starred on SNL in the past, but it has been awhile since she has made such an appearance outside of hosting her show.
Poehler’s loveable and humorous personality shines through in her interview. She even goes as far as to pull antics such as taking clothes from the closet and putting them on.
Wiig had the most views out of the other videos uploaded on the Web series on Youtube. Her ability to improvise on the spot demonstrates why she was so successful on SNL for the many years she was on the show.
There are two clips of Meyers, who is the current head writer of SNL, appearing on “7 Minutes in Heaven”. One is him being interviewed by O’Brien and the other is Meyers presenting O’Brien with a Webby award for the series.
The celebrities that appear in “7 Minutes in Heaven” are a wide variety and not only from a comedic background. O’Brien has interviewed other celebrities such as: Insane Clown Posse, Olivia Wilde, Christina Ricci, Patricia Clarkson, and Elijah Wood to name a few. Ricci’s awkward snorting made her interview somewhat uneasy to watch compared to the charming Clarkson. Clarkson was the only one to have ended the interview with the anticipated kiss. The few others made the kiss as uneasy and humorous as the interview itself.
Web series do not get as much recognition unless they are randomly stumbled upon or recommended by others. The great thing about the generation today is that there is the ability to access these types of clips online. There is a freedom of what can be shown on the Web as well.
Unlike television there is no limit, to an extent, of what can be said. This advantage helps to make the interviews on “7 Minutes in Heaven” unique and hilarious. Web success is very hit or miss and O’Brien has learned that the hard way as expressed in an interview with the New York Times regarding to the fact that three dogs passing gas has had more views than his videos.
O’Brien started out at Second City in Chicago like many famous comedians that have written or appeared on SNL have. He is still currently writing for SNL while making his Web series “7 Minutes in Heaven”. The Web series can still be found on YouTube, but the second season is now featured on Yahoo.

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