Conner O’Malley, a comedian whose greatest hits include helping “raise awareness for 5G” by smoking 500 cigarettes, boosting the economy with homemade Powerade, and hosting the world’s foremost aquatic talk show, has become the avatar of an increasingly unreal world. Words tinged with unhinged desperation, his voice hoarse from delivering frantic jokes, O’Malley is doing a far better job of summing up the zeitgeist than any of the late night hosts who might be willing to do their shows from home, but would never dare to take their work into a lake or on a series of nighttime bike rides across New York City.
After three previous episodes of his livestreamed “Bike Talk Show,” O’Malley has returned with a new edition that amps up everything that makes these videos work. Dressed in full Joker regalia and a Marge Simpson wig (“I thought that I was ordering the Joker wig”), O’Malley rides around the nearly-deserted city streets, where he blasts butt-rock, blames Greg Kinnear for turning him into “Joker Guy,” and describes Audioslave as “Rage Against The Machine but none of that fucking politics bullcrap.”
Near the beginning, O’Malley stops in front of the Ed Sullivan Theater—despite the danger of all the talk show guys “trying to put a bullet in [his] head”—to read jokes about Pete Buttigieg and Pope Francis from some crumpled pieces of paper. Things go on like this for nearly 40 minutes, with O’Malley discussing “short-haired Metallica” cover bands, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s new collaboration with Domino’s Pizza, “G.I. Joe Biden,” and so much more.
“Y’know, as talk show hosts it is our job to get you guys through this, okay?” he says in a Joker voice between panting for breath and singing along to a Temple Of The Dog track. “We’re basically philosophers, doctors, and stand-ups all in one these days.” He’s not in any way serious, but, hey, if a talk show host is going to get us through this moment in time, we could do worse than O’Malley.
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