Netflix, Your Online Comedy Club

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When you work as a tax preparer, I guess you should be prepared to not touch your Netflix blog for a month or two. When you’ve got a busy schedule, sometimes you don’t have the mental energy to watch a movie (well, one that requires you to use your brain). I certainly don’t have the time or energy to binge watch a tv show (we have enough to watch at the moment anyway with broadcast/cable television- Feud, The Americans, American Crime, and TIME: The Kalief Browder Story took up all our time this tax season).

Although Netflix certainly has its flaws, it is a master at doing just enough to keep you subscribed to their streaming service (although I have thought of the idea that someone does- subscribing just long enough to watch the new content they want to see, then cancelling, but that seems like too much work). That’s a good thing, as my Netflix bill went up $2 last month, and they should be able to justify that somehow.

Netflix has recently acquired exclusive comedy specials from big stars. It’s almost as if someone read my tired mind this last few months, and decided they needed to address the needs of the “too tired to think or not willing to commit to an entire TV series” online audience. Although they have all sorts of stand up comedy specials, we’ve had the chance to catch their high profile comedy specials. Humor is certainly a personal thing, so a straight up review of each is kind of pointless. But having enjoyed each of this comedian’s work in the past, I can at least compare it to some of their other work.

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As with Louis, your best bet if you want to see the best Amy Schumer material is her HBO Special Live at the Apollo. Although I found parts of this funny, if you read online reviews, you’ll find this to be very lowly rated by some critics and fans, not just the inevitable men who don’t find her or any female comedians to be funny. Nearly all the jokes have to do with raunch, sex, smelly body parts, etc. Although it’s not breaking new ground for her, she still knows how to sell the material. Her facial expressions often are funnier than the jokes themselves. I’m not sure Schumer is as “edgy” as she thinks she is. For me, it was enjoyable, if not disposable, special. It certainly shouldn’t be the reason for you to sign up for Netflix. Grade: C+

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Perhaps the return of Dave Chappelle would be a reason to get Netflix. A historical event on par with the return of Jesus himself, I’m sure if you’re at all interested in comedy the release of his two Netflix specials, The Age of Spin and Deep in the Heart of Texas, didn’t escape your attention. Also, if you enjoy his comedy, how have you not watched this yet? You must be busier than I am. As it stands, I only managed to watch The Age of Spin, less because of busy-ness or lack of interest, and more of leaving something to look forward to. Spin is well worth your time. Unlike the other comedians I’m reviewing in this post, you can easily see how much thought Chappelle gives to the structure of his act (I’m sure Louis does as well, although it’s less obvious at times). A joke that seems to be just a funny anecdote will come back around later in the act to make a joke about Bill Cosby funnier and more meaningful and insightful. Although his act definitely has a structure, he is obviously having fun with the crowd and interacting with them, so much so that he apparently forgets his last anecdote about the final time he met O.J. (periodically he’ll bring up these meetings throughout the act), having to do an “encore” for the crowd to complete his act. The funniest bits have to do with his retelling of fans who DIDN’T find him funny. Nothing can compare to what he did on his show, and I actually think his best  work recently was his monologue on SNL (and the rest of that show), but you won’t regret watching this special. Grade: A –

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Like Schumer, Louis is a comedian who can just make me laugh with just a facial expression (see above picture with his deer-in-the-headlight look, for instance). Luckily, he also can make me laugh by going to some weird, dark places. And while very much of his act seems off the cuff and ad-libbed, if you’ve watched his show, you know he’s a thinker, and probably carefully plans out everything he does. Perhaps even such a generic title as “2017” has meaning, especially since there seems to be nothing about this special that specifically addresses the issues we’re facing this year. Much of this could’ve been in a special three years ago. Even a bit about Christianity having “won” has nothing to do with the presidential election and the religious right getting their way with the current administration in power. But it’s probably the funniest bit in the show, and is probably Louie’s indirect way of addressing the current political climate – by putting it in perspective, or at least his perspective. Perhaps his bit about feeling a little gay when watching “Magic Mike” addresses the homophobia that much of the country still can’t get over. I’m sure his choice to change his wardrobe- from the ubiquitous jeans and black T-Shirt to a suit- was a conscious decision to distance himself from even the look of the typical, white Male Trump-supporter- the common-looking middle-class schlub that want to make America great again.

Or maybe not. I do know that Louis is obsessed with things that make us uncomfortable, and he loves to dive right into it. That’s why from the very first line of this special he discusses abortion, then follows it up with talking about suicide. Although not his best special, it’s a good one. Grade: B+

What is his best? Oh My God, an HBO special that you can watch for free if you have Amazon Prime. Oh My God Grade: A+

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