Steve Carell's 'Riot' review: Goofy improv fun

From left, guest star and Executive producer Steve

From left, guest star and Executive producer Steve Carell joins Meryl Hathaway and Rob Gleeson in a game of "Slide Set" in the series premiere of "Riot." (Credit: Fox / Ray Mickshaw)

SERIES PREMIERE "Riot"

WHEN | WHERE Tuesday night at 9 on Fox/5

WHAT IT'S ABOUT You know you've been wishing for a sort of improv-comedy "Wipeout," and here it is -- an adrenaline-fueled ad-lib sketch game in which comic players dive into 22-degree-slope mud pits, get yanked to the rafters via hooks in their jumpsuits, and form alphabet letters on the floor like conjoined mimes.


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Subjecting themselves to these nonsense stunts are nuts like the premiere's Steve Carell (also a series producer) and "Office" co-star Andy Buckley. (Future faces include Cheryl Hines, Michael Ian Black, Mayim Bialik, D.L. Hughley and Andy Dick.) Four lesser-known laugh-seekers join the star pair in trying to keep their balance (a 22-degree set tilt is more extreme than it sounds), guess movie titles mimed in shadow, or sustain dialogue in which each sentence contains the title of a Michael Jackson song. (Pop culture obsession rewarded!)

MY SAY For performers, this is basically a "be funny while we mess with you" workout. For viewers, it feels like a drinking game, smoking game, your-vice-here game. Giddy host Rove McManus goads play in his Aussie accent till "Riot" dissolves into namesake bedlam.

Is there anything great here? No. Is it goofy fun? Yes.

BOTTOM LINE Silly fun in the summertime.

GRADE B

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