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 last week’s column here.
Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive (Netflix)
While last year’s Picking Up The Pieces tour doesn’t count as a stand-up special, per se, we still put it on our best-of list for 2016 based on Tracy Morgan’s commanding stage presence. The Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock alum had no trouble convincing audiences he was back in action following his brush with death in 2014, and if the new trailer for his Netflix debut Staying Alive is any indication, that is still very much the case. Based on the aforementioned tour, Morgan’s first comedy special since 2014’s Bona Fide wastes no time diving right into the car accident that killed friend and fellow comic James “Jimmy Mack” McNair. Hilarious anecdotes about his recovery, his family and other Morgan punchlines drop May 16th.
Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King (Netflix)
Between his recent performance at the Donald Trump-less White House Correspondents Association Dinner, last year’s viral soap box moment from the Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner, and his rising profile on The Daily Show, it’s difficult not to know who Hasan Minhaj is. If you’re a Netflix subscriber who still isn’t sure, however, that will all change when Minhaj’s one-man show, Homecoming King premieres May 23rd. The new special, the culmination of several years’ worth of touring, demonstrates Minhaj at his best while discussing his personal connections to immigration and similarly politicized topics.
Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery (Netflix)
If you haven’t watched Norm Macdonald’s Netflix debut or read our chat with the man who swears he’s not an “anti-comic,” then you should do both immediately. Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery, which premiered April 9th on the streaming platform, is a perfect time capsule of the SNL alum’s signature stand-up routine. Witty wordplay, long diatribes dedicated to unassuming topics but riddled with well-crafted jokes, and more populate the new hour. Longtime fans will immediately recognize the more traditional type of comedy the regularly touring comic displays throughout, and newcomers just might appreciate the break from political satire it affords them.
The Jim Jefferies Show (Comedy Central)
After Comedy Central decided to cancel The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, the network announced multiple new current events programming spearheaded by other comedians to fill the void. The President Show and Problematic have already debuted with varying degrees of success, but unlike Wilmore’s program and its recently announced replacement headed by The Daily Show‘s Jordan Klepper, these are short orders. So too is Australian comic Jim Jefferies’ self-titled program, which will attempt to funnel the outspoken performer’s penchant for tackling pervasive issues with his popular style when it premieres June 6th at 10:30pm ET on Comedy Central.
Rory Scovel: Tries Stand-Up For the First Time (Netflix)
In 2011, comedians Jon Dore and Rory Scovel appeared together on Conan in a segment alleging the show had accidentally double-booked them for the same episode. It’s one of the talk show’s more entertaining sketches of the past few years, especially for the hilarious interactions Dore and Scovel have with each other. The latter, who recently appeared in Undateable and Modern Family, will make his Netflix debut on June 20th with Rory Scovel Tries Stand-Up For The First Time. Scovel, whose previous set The Charleston Special was released last year, earned high marks from New York Times comedy critic Jason Zinoman.
Larry Wilmore: Black on the Air (Podcast)