Fewer trends in modern comedy are more welcome than the new willingness of seemingly non-comic personalities being willing to savage themselves for the sake of laughs. One great recent example is 2015’s 7 Days in Hell, HBO’s tennis mockumentary that pitted Andy Samberg against the unlikely comic foil of Kit Harrington in the retelling of a famed (and fake) weeklong tennis marathon between two elite players. As the abbreviated film went on, it was Harrington who got the most laughs as a straitlaced alpha-champion descending rapidly into madness.
The general success of that modest project seems to have garnered HBO’s attention, because the 7 Days team of writer Murray Miller and director Jake Szymanski has reteamed for another mockumentary, their focus this time around trained on the dark, seedy world of professional cycling. Tour De Pharmacy appears to be none-too-subtly influenced by documentaries like The Armstrong Lie, harrowing tales of the dirty tricks used by its cyclists to achieve peak form. And with everyone from Samberg to Orlando Bloom to Dolph Lundgren to John Cena in the hunt, it’s clear that the sport has changed.
Speaking of cycling’s most disgraced onetime hero, there’s even a cameo from a familiar “informant” that suggests it’s never too late to get back into America’s good graces, if you’re willing to savage yourself in the right ways. (Tyson did it, and he’s here too!) Tour De Pharmacy premieres on HBO on July 8th, and until then, you can hold yourself over with the first teaser, which even manages to squeeze a couple jokes in between the deluge of star guests and big names.