Fans of Squigglevision rejoice- the doctor is back in! Dr. Katz Live, is a stage performance (recorded in January of 2008) of the Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist animated sitcom. The show was staged with the amazing original cast that included Laura Silverman as his bored receptionist and Jon Benjamin as his son, Ben. BJ Novak, Eugene Mirman, and Andy Kindler appear as the guest star patients, and show co-creator Tom Snyder shows up as Dr. Katz’ personal therapist. Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist was a wildly successful, innovative, and hilarious show on Comedy Central that ran for six seasons and popularized the Squigglevision animation style. In it, Jonathan Katz performed as the therapist to a host of big name comics coming to terms with their neuroses.
- Childhood Sweetheart
- Andy Kindler
- Eugene Mirman
- Bear Attack
- B.J. Novak
- Anger Management
- Bill Nye
- Disapproving Glance
It’s been years since I’ve even thought about the show, Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, but I was an avid fan when the show originally aired between 1995-2002. Comedian Jonathan Katz’s titular character’s deadpan responses to his patients (other comedians) was always I looked forward to watching week after week. Unbeknownst to me, Jonathan Katz was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis around the same time that Dr. Katz went to series in the 90’s. Given that he was an animated character on his show, I never knew this about him. When it came to doing a live appearance of the show for an audience, this became more and more of a struggle as the years went on. A live show from 2008 was recorded and has just now been released.
In typical Dr. Katz fashion, the show features the relationship between Dr. Katz, his patients, and his son, Ben (played by the hilarious Jon Benjamin). As an audio experience, this live recording plays well as a typical episode of the TV show minus the visuals. I was happy to hear that Katz never really losses any of that magic from the original TV show, and his banter with his patients and son shines on this recording as well as it ever did in the course of the show.
Given that this show was recorded in 2008, there are some jokes that are already dated. Andy Kindler makes a joke about Myspace, but at least it’s not hard to remember what things were like on that defunked social network. There’s even a surprisingly satisfying guest spot by B.J. Novak (The Office) and of course the always solid performance of Jon Benjamin as Dr. Katz’ son Ben. Also, Eugene Mirman (Eugene from Bob’s Burgers) turns in a pretty good set/session with the doctor as well.
Towards the end of the show, Katz is talking to his own therapist (played by show creator Tom Schneider) and he mentions that Ben isn’t taking the doctor’s pending retirement well and he touches upon having MS. The show ends on a slightly subdued note, but otherwise this live performance was extremely entertaining.
Fans of the original TV show will be happy to hear that the show’s sharp humor is still intact in this audio release. Dr. Katz Live is a great swan song for the series as there probably will not be much more in terms of new material from this series after this.