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.
John Leguizamo brings his Tony Award-nominated show to Netflix
In the midst of this week’s midterm elections drama, two very different comedians released two wildly disparate comedy specials. The first was John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons, the actor’s Tony Award-nominated one-person show on Broadway that was taped by Netflix. Adopting a kind of professorial persona, the comic makes use of a classroom set (and actual classroom readings new and old, like Howard Zinn’s The Peoples History of the United States) to satirize American history from a Latino perspective.
Dennis Miller, meanwhile, takes his conservative politics to the stand-up stage
The second is Dennis Miller’s Fake News, Real Jokes! on the Comedy Dynamics network. The former host of Saturday Night Live‘s “Weekend Update” segment turned conservative comedy darling, Miller’s special is more of a traditional stand-up performance that, as the title would suggest, takes a somewhat different approach to contemporary events than Leguizamo does. Regardless of what your politics are, Fake News, Real Jokes! is a decent special from a proven comedian.
Of course, as divisive as content can be these days (political and otherwise), Miller’s new special might not be for everyone. Then again, Leguizamo’s might not appeal to some audiences either. As Miller explained it to Jimmy Kimmel this week, “I refuse to go through life defining who I’m gonna be friends with, who I’m going to love, who I’m gonna hang with, from this D or R after people’s names.” It’s a nice sentiment, to be sure, but one that’s easy for someone with Miller’s privileged position to espouse.
Lisa Lampanelli truly is quitting stand-up
Last week, Lisa Lampanelli revealed on The Howard Stern Show that she was going to leave stand-up comedy behind. It wasn’t a bit, there was no punchline waiting in the wings, and the veteran insult comic wasn’t about to turn around and try an only slightly different career in the same industry. Instead, she’s leaving it all behind to become a life coach. “I think the universe sort of was saying to me there’s this hollowness — not just from the loss [of my father], but from the lack of doing something exclusively for somebody else,” she told Vulture.
Nikki Glaser goes on the road for her next special
From her new-ish Comedy Central Radio show You Up to her recent stint on Dancing with the Stars, Nikki Glaser is all over the place. Yet that doesn’t mean the comedian isn’t doing stand-up. On the contrary, her move from Los Angeles to New York for You Up has also catapulted The Standups star into the east coast comedy scene, and she’s using that energy to work on the follow-up to her 2016 Comedy Central special, Perfect. Glaser just announced a string of dates before the new year and tickets are still on sale.
Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival gets its own docu-series on Amazon Prime
Examples of all shapes and sizes exist that prove just how crowded the “Peak TV” landscape still is, and the rise of stand-up comedy is no exception. Netflix has played a huge role in this, of course, but other streaming outlets have been trying to cash in on the rush, too. Like Amazon Prime, which is set to debut Inside Jokes, its upcoming docu-series about Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival, on November 30th. The six-episode series follows Rosebud Baker, Robert Dean, Kellen Erskine, Simon Gibson, MK Paulsen, Alzo Slade, and Daphnique Springs as they audition for the celebrated festival’s New Faces showcase.
How Did This Get Made? celebrates 200 episodes of bad movie-watching glory
Pretty much anything Upright Citizens Brigade alums Paul Scheer and Jason Mantzoukas do together is comedy gold. FX’s sports-y comedy The League? Awesome. Torturing Chris Gethard relentlessly on the infamous “One Man’s Trash” episode of The Chris Gethard Show? Fantastic. Of course, along with fellow comic (and Scheer’s wife) June Diane Raphael, they also make How Did This Get Made?, one of the premier comedy podcasts in operation today. It just celebrated 200 episodes with a clip show and it’s great.
Austin’s Moontower Comedy Festival announces its 2019 lineup (so far)
The next edition of Austin’s Moontower Comedy Festival is scheduled for the final weekend of April 2019, and according to a new press release, the first headliners and performers have been announced. Jenny Slate, David Spade, and Sal Vulcano will be leading the annual comedy event, while the rest of the lineup will include Adam Ray, Andrew Schulz, Bonnie McFarlane, Bowen Yang, Brad Williams, Carmen Lynch, Chris Redd, Dan Soder, Emma Willmann, Gareth Reynolds, Jak Knight, Jessica Kirson, Jon Dore, Loyiso Gola, Marina Franklin, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Matt Rogers, Mike Vecchione, Nicole Byer, Orlando Leyba, Rich Vos, The Sklar Brothers, Taylor Tomlinson, and Tim Dillon. More information is available at the festival’s website.
Trevor Noah’s new Netflix special gets a trailer
Aside from the at-least-one-new-comedy-special-a-week model that Netflix has deployed for its original stand-up content, another result of the streamer’s intense focus on the art form has been more comedians being able to release new hours every year. Like The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, whose follow-up to 2017’s Afraid of the Dark, titled Son of Patricia, just got its first trailer. Anyone familiar with his work in Afraid of the Dark or on The Daily Show will most likely dig it.
Louis C.K. takes his non-apology tour abroad
As Louis C.K.‘s inevitable comeback continues, it seems the ex-Louie star has opted to go international while trying out his latest material. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Louis performed a 70-minute set at Le Theatre de L’Oeuvre in Paris, France on Tuesday. Like his most recent Comedy Cellar performance in New York, the show included the comedian’s name on the billing — this time for an English-language event dubbed “New York Comedy Night.” THR notes that there were no hecklers at the show or outside the venue, adding that Louis received a “warm welcome.”
Orlando Leyba proves just how Adorable he is on HBO Latino
If you haven’t heard of Orlando Leyba before, you’re about to hear a lot more about him. That’s because the co-star of HBO Latino’s comedy series Entre Nos is getting his first standalone special, titled Adorable, on the premium cable channel. At half an hour in length, Adorable will presumably be the first of many shorter comedy specials that HBO Latino wants to start pumping out in the near future. Uproxx spoke with Leyba about it, as well as his recent The Tonight Show appearance, for an interview out next week.