Comedy Central may well have found a niche in crudely produced programming based on trailing celebrities as they wander through life. Dave Attell’s “Insomniac” has proved a consistent and comical winner as the comedian spends a graveyard shift exploring a city, and now “I’m With Busey,” in which Gary Busey takes a nebbishy fan on philosophical and physical roadtrips, is so off-the-wall, it could become addicting.
Busey is a stream-of-conscious philosopher who rambles on about subjects that most philosophers wouldn’t consider worthy of study and debate. His accomplice is Adam De La Pena, a pantywaist who brings absolutely nothing to the table beyond a fondness for Busey’s films. “I’m stupid,” he says in the pilot, and it’s a good thing he acknowledges it because it delineates the polar opposites these two represent.
In the first two episodes, much is made of Busey’s fascination with Native American culture and eating foods that leave drippings on one’s face (oysters, ribs and, what else, roasted donuts). He also gets in touch with his feminine side when he goes clubbing in drag and taps into his own machismo by playing paintball.
Twisted as it may play out, Busey is attempting to venture on a spiritual quest and shake the bejesus out of Adam, who’s probably content living his admittedly sheltered life. There are actual intriguing nuggets that come out of Busey — they’re usually gnarled by bits of philosophy that don’t belong. When he goes on his occasional tirades, he seems to be trying to shock Adam into seeing that there’s a greater purpose in life then getting a TV show or a film made.
Project is about as low grade as television will allow. Editing communicates Busey’s outrageousness, but amateurish camerawork enhances the sense of “reality.” Part of the second episode, in which the two encounter the “magic Indian” in Sedona, Ariz., appears crafted — owing in part to a trio of editors and an extra writer — and production levels rise.