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.
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