So these aren’t technically “films”, but I didn’t really want to make a new category for such a narrow topic. I suppose I could’ve made a “miscellaneous” category, but I don’t trust myself with that kind of power. My tangents have tangents. A miscellaneous category would quickly veer from film-related things to angry rants about people who put lightweight trash in their truck beds (seriously, you know it’s going to fly out once you hop on the highway. Why y’all gotta make littering passive-aggressive?) So, Netflix. They’ve kind of been killing it lately in the TV show department, and I’m sure you’ll all be pleased to know that magic has (mostly) rubbed off on their comedy specials.
Generally speaking, I don’t watch much stand up. I was really into it during my high school years and then drifted during college. I have a handful of comedians I regularly seek out, but outside of those four-ish people I don’t usually bother. Enter Netflix’s comedy specials. I’ve watched three so far, and I’m going to go ahead and strongly recommend two and try not to angrily type in all caps for the third one. As we all know, comedy is subjective. In that spirit, please remember that these are just my opinions and that you’re welcome to watch whatever you want and feel however you want about it, okay?
So first up is Hasan Minhaj’s special. I gave this one a shot because I’d seen Minhaj on The Daily Show and thought his bits were funny. It also came highly recommended by my best friend of over ten years, whose opinion I value highly. Let me just say, I’m really glad I watched this. Part of the charm of Minhaj’s show lies in its structure. See, sometimes comedians meander through a series of funny stories with no real connection other than the fact that they happened to the same person. They’re humorous, of course, but they aren’t necessarily building to any kind of point. Minhaj’s show has clear themes that recur all throughout the special and build on one another. The special also had hella heart, which I’m a sucker for.
The second special I’m recommending is Dave Chappelle’s. Now, Chappelle was one of my favorite comedians back in the day (I mean, he was kind of everyone’s, wasn’t he?) so naturally I was very excited to see his special. The first one, Age of Spin, is great. Chappelle is in top form, and aside from some iffy LGBTQ-related humor I was all about it. The second one, Deep in The Heart of Texas, feels somewhat less sure-footed. The structure is a bit loose, and the jokes don’t land as well. It was still funny, but I kind of wished I’d watched them in reverse order. I’m still going to recommend both, but I think it’s better to watch them with the order flipped.
Last, and certainly least, is Amy Schumer’s special. Not going to lie, I was genuinely disappointed by this special. I’m not as familiar with Schumer as the others I mentioned, but I have friends who are big fans so I thought, “what the heck, let’s do it”. I’d also seen a few skits on YouTube from Inside Amy Schumer that were funny, so I went into this with modest expectations. Those expectations were not met, and I can’t decide if it was bad writing, bad delivery, or my own disinterest in the subject matter. If cornered, I’d say it was probably a mix of all three. I’m sure there’s an audience out there who found her spiel hilarious, but I can’t count myself among them.