Welcome to Comedy Now, a weekly column cataloging what comedy fans should know about what’s available in the streaming world. Whether it’s a brand new special, an old classic, or the oddball show that defies categorization, we’ll list as many as we can for your enjoyment right here. Who knows? We may even throw in a few non-streamable bits on occasion, like tour announcements from our favorite comics. You can check out the previous column here.
Too Funny To Fail (Hulu)
In 1996, former Saturday Night Live cast member Dana Carvey launched a new sketch comedy series on ABC titled The Dana Carvey Show. The series featured a swathe of then-unknowns like Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, and Louis C.K., and the network extensively promoted it, even giving it a prime-time slot after Home Improvement. In the new Hulu documentary Too Funny To Fail: The Life & Death of The Dana Carvey Show, which streams Saturday, October 21st, Carvey, Colbert, Carell and others discuss their brilliant venture’s short life and its significance in the realm of television sketch comedy.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (Netflix)
Speaking of comedy documentaries, Netflix has one about Andy Kaufman — specifically, Jim Carrey’s portrayal of the surrealist, character-driven stand-up in the 1999 film Man on the Moon. Titled Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, the film festival favorite combines new interviews with Carrey and others involved in the production with behind-the-scenes footage previously withheld by Universal Studios. Why? “[They] didn’t want the footage we took behind the scenes to surface so that people wouldn’t think I was an asshole,” Carrey explains. It streams Friday, November 17th on Netflix.
Night of Too Many Stars: American Unites for Autism Programs (HBO)
The following day, Night of Too Many Stars: American Unites for Autism Programs will air live at 8 pm ET (5 pm PT) on HBO. In addition to host Jon Stewart, the comedy television event will feature scheduled performances by Louis C.K., Stephen Colbert, Abbi Jacobson, Jordan Klepper, Hasan Minhaj, John Mulaney, Olivia Munn, John Oliver and Adam Sandler. Other performers are expected to be announced in the coming month. The event will raise money for NEXT, a non-profit that strategically designs, launches and supports innovative programs to improve the lives of people living with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Chelsea Handler Ends Chelsea (Netflix)
After nearly a year and a half of production, Chelsea host Chelsea Handler has decided to end her Netflix talk show once its second season concludes. The program went through a major overhaul between seasons, but according to a statement tweeted out by Handler on Wednesday, her decision to end Chelsea had less to do with the show’s success (or lack thereof) and more to do with politics. “I’ve decided not to return for another season of Chelsea, and instead devote as much time as I can to becoming a more knowledgeable and engaged citizen and to focus on projects that have significance to me.”
Lady Dynamite: Season 2 (Netflix)
Maria Bamford is a wonderful stand-up, and her Netflix show Lady Dynamite is a stellar, far-out comedy. So it came as no surprise when Netflix announced the series would get a second season in 2016, but their announcement came well over a year ago. Thankfully, we now have a first trailer for Lady Dynamite‘s triumphant return on Friday, November 10th, and of course it features Bamford’s semi-autobiographical character and Ana Gasteyer‘s foulmouthed Karen Grisham (Agent). Judging by what’s seen here, the pair’s chemistry hasn’t faded, though there’s no indication of a “Cradle the Balls” encore.
Jack Whitehall: At Large (Netflix)
If you’re at all familiar with British television’s fascination with having comedians host travel shows, then Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father is tailormade for you. If not, both it and the young comedian’s new Netflix special, At Large may interest you anyway. Whitehall’s latest special combines the stand-up viewers are used to seeing with a variety of sketches and other spectacles, some involving-pyrotechnics. At one point, the comedian dons a Jolly Green Giant-like suit for some reason. At Large streams Tuesday, October 24th.
Patton Oswalt: Annihilation (Netflix)
If you haven’t already watched Patton Oswalt: Annihilation, you should probably take the time to do that. In conversation with Uproxx, the acclaimed stand-up and pop culture connoisseur discussed our modern fixation on Twitter-relegated news stories (“There’s no chill. There’s no slack. There’s no hang.”), Trump, and his late wife Michelle McNamara (“I don’t want to have this deal with it. ‘Is it therapeutic? Is it a healing journey?'”) Annihilation is by no means an easy watch, but it’s definitely a necessary one.
The Daily Show: Undesked (Comedy Central)