How does Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, sleep at night? On a large pile of money with many beautiful women? Actually, no. More like on top of a few pairs of shades with an empty bottle of Jameson and some spent nitrous cartridges.
OK, technically, that’s not Stuart, but his power-douche alter ego Chad in one episode of his new satirical web series, Shaky Ground. A creation of Schuffman’s along with comics Drew Platt and Jared Swanson, it’s a thoroughly devastating look at contemporary S.F. issues that’s way less boring than Looking and much truer to life than the perpetual golden hour and unsettlingly spotless Tenderloin in the new Tales of the City reboot. It kinda feels a little like Broad City, in brief snippets.
“San Francisco Tech Bros’ Fav New App: Motherly” starts out as a commercial for an irritating app — part Alexa, part Hello Alfred — that caters to the petulant, helpless man-child developer stereotype, the kind of people who need to go to a physical restaurant in order to get a grilled cheese. “Chad” talks to it like an abusive brat — think Jonah from Veep being a jerk to his mom — while slaloming around his unkempt loft on a Razor Hovertrax 2.0 Hoverboard like a total asshole. If, halfway through, you start to think that the creators might be swinging their spiked bat at an obvious target, watch till the end.
That’s the best part. Unlike so many takedowns of S.F. that traffic in the same set of easy, burrito-Zeitgeist-Karl the Fog references, Shaky Ground goes further into freewheeling absurdism. Two characters’ multi-episode roommate search involves a freegan who wants to pay rent in Nicaraguan friendship beads and a guy who uses the restroom only to go completely apeshit for no discernible reason. It’s hilarious.
The entire thing seems to revolve around a nonexistent app called Sleeparound, which Chad works for and whose CEO has apparently evicted another Stuart character, who’s forced to use Sleeparound to pay rent on the tent he’s pitched outside his former Alamo Square Victorian. Yikes: sidewalk tent humor. Best to tread pretty carefully there, right? But as with “Motherly,” this episode takes a turn and aims its ire in exactly the right direction. And it hits at an uncomfortable truth about 2019 San Francisco. What if everybody cool really did move away already, and literally every single one of us that’s still here are insufferable douches? Oh, boy. Just watch.