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.
Vir Das: Abroad Understanding (Netflix)
The majority of American Netflix subscribers probably have no idea who Vir Das is. In his native India (and practically the rest of the world), however, the Bollywood actor and comedian is one of the most recognizable faces in existence. Hence why his streaming debut, Abroad Understanding, creatively combines two different shows from New Delhi and New York into a single stand-up special debuting April 25th. Wearing the same suit while addressing each crowd from similarly designed stages, Das focuses his comedy on an international array of subjects — religion, language barriers, and the proper pronunciation of the word “Muslim.” Donald Trump even gets a few mentions.
Maria Bamford: Old Baby (Netflix)
Late Show host Stephen Colbert called Maria Bamford his “favorite comedian on planet Earth,” which makes since to anyone familiar with her previous special, The Special Special Special, or her acclaimed Netflix series Lady Dynamite. Anyone unfamiliar with either, or with Bamford in general, may find themselves at a loss if they decide to watch her latest comedy non-concert, Old Baby, on May 2nd. If the uninitiated are willing to sit still for an hour and follow Bamford’s lead, however, they’ll find themselves transported to an outdoor patio, a bowling alley, a book store, and many other locations. Almost literally so, as the comic and her director, Jessica Yu shot footage of the new routine at six different spots.
United Shades of America — Season 2 (CNN)
Comic, podcaster and activist W. Kamau Bell shocked CNN viewers in 2016 when he — an African-American man who lives in Berkeley, California — interviewed members of the KKK and attended a cross burning in United Shades of America. “We were looking for those moments,” he told Uproxx at the time. “There will be moments of humor in [United Shades], but it’s not a comedy show.” Yes, the former Totally Biased host’s program — the second season of which premieres April 30th at 10pm ET — does include stand-up bookends. Yet its true purpose is to find those “moments” in otherwise deadly serious cultural and political issues.
Waiting for the Punch by Marc Maron and Brendan McDonald (Book)
When he’s not too busy interviewing former President Barack Obama or managing the “gorgeous ladies of wrestling” in Netflix’s GLOW, Marc Maron writes. Jokes, obviously, since he’s a working stand-up comedian, but books too. The autobiographical Jerusalem Syndrome and Attempting Normal currently populate the WTF podcast host’s bookshelf, but come October 10th, he and his fans will be able to add Waiting for the Punch: Words to Live by from the WTF Podcast to their collection. Co-authored with producer Brendan McDonald, and featuring a foreword by Last Week Tonight host John Oliver, the new book collects Maron’s most memorable interviews from the popular show.
Lenny: America IRL Tour (Tour)
Despite the recent (and divisive) end of HBO’s Girls, star Lena Dunham and showrunner Jenni Konner’s Lenny Letter lives on. In fact, the feminist newsletter recently announced it would embark on the Lenny: America IRL tour — beginning with its first stop in St. Louis, Missouri on May 31st. With five more dates scheduled for early June in Chicago, Milwaukee, and other Midwestern cities, the show will feature Dunham and a selection of Lenny contributors — including Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata, whose new special Pizza Mind is on Seeso. Fellow comics Charla Lauriston (People of Earth, Why? with Hannibal Buress) and Jacqueline Novak (The Late Late Show with James Corden) will also be there.