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In the pilot episode of Larry Charles’ Dangerous World of Comedy, the director of Borat and former Seinfeld writer timidly asks a reformed Liberian warlord known as General Butt Naked, “What does human flesh taste like?” 

The General answers that it tastes like pork. This is the moment when a two-drink minimum seems like a great idea. 

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Image result for master of none season two

Courtesy Netflix

There is way too much television content out there right now. While this could be an understatement, consider the following: “Comedians portraying a fictional version of themselves” is now a comedy subgenre. At least five of these shows have premiered since 2010, and there are probably more examples if you stretch the definition a bit[1]. All are set in urban environments and feature a famous comedian playing a not-yet-famous performer who is unlucky in love and life, and probably depressed as a result.

These shows are meta as hell, but they still expect the audience to empathize with the characters as if they were not just stand-ins for the comedians. It seems doubtful anyone would have understood how this could become a trend as recently as ten years ago, but now standup is practically a stepping stone to creating dramedies, not helming a sitcom. Comedians are now expected to be auteurs.

Aziz Ansari’s Master of None returned with a new season a few days ago, and it feels most akin to the show that truly started this trend, Louis CK’s Louie[2]. CK and Ansari both masterfully channel the same, neverending frustration of searching for a perfect partner, while also paying tribute the hilarious oddities and breathtaking beauty offered by Manhattan’s diverse expanse[3].

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