Five Stand-Up Specials for Memorial Day Weekend

Most American immigrant comedies are told from the point of view of assimilated sons and daughters who make fun of their ignorant, accented parents. The beauty of our present moment is the many new perspectives on old jokes. In the South Asian comedian’s fertile scene, Zarna Garg presents a fresh take on an Indian mother’s revenge. She has heard jokes about closed-minded Indian parents forcing their children to go to medical school. Now she fully embraces stereotypes, yet strikes back forcefully with enough brilliance to break them. Her ethnic and religious humor (she convincingly argues that Hinduism is the most ruthless religion) is unapologetically dated. The setting is fast, the punch line is rapid, and her name is written in huge letters on the back set. Behind the smoothness lies real warmth. You believe in her extreme pride that her daughter is going to Stanford as much as her operatic dread at the fact that she is studying ceramics. Garg has a presence that powers her sitcoms on the network. She’s tentatively competing with Netflix.


Have you ever wondered if porn ruined the uniforms of Catholic schoolgirls? Or Judaism and diarrhea? Or is it the many sexual connotations of the phrase “moral compass”? It wouldn’t surprise anyone what Sarah Silverman has. These are just a few of the scatological and sexual premises she calls out in her new hour (debuting on her Saturday). Silberman may be 52, but she looks and sounds like the classic 1990s comic book star. She’s evolved, of course, and the virtue of doing so is one of her signature funny feature themes, but it plays a minor role next to bits about masturbation and Hitler. She’s known for her juvenile gags and political humor, but what’s integral to her comedy is how uniquely insane she can be. No other cartoon has captured this aspect as well as hers. There’s a random charm to her that she yells hello again and again when she comes home. “Sparkle peanuts,” she says to herself before taking the stage, just before being introduced by her spiritual ancestor Mel Brooks.

She is shabby and casual. She can be too much at times. Did she have to leave the part where she interrupts the flow of the joke by pointing out the man who left? But her special is sandwiched between two fun sketches of hers. One is the final song about bad breath, performed with an incongruous, devoted grace, and the other is her opening scene with her (fictional) children backstage. She thanked the woman standing next to her and said she was wonderful, adding: “Everyone said, ‘Don’t hire a sexy nanny.'” Then she paused for an uncomfortably long silence.


My favorite punch line from Wanda Sykes’ latest special is the title, “I’m an Entertainer.” It sounds mundane or direct, but in the context of the joke, including her sexual awakening (she came out as a lesbian after sleeping with men for years), it’s surprising and a little unnerving. It will hit you with a shock that will become That’s Sykes at his best.As it happens, Sykes teeth Old fashioned entertainer. She can act, improvise, sketch, and officiate award ceremonies without losing her signature snap. Her stand-up In her special, she’s a topical liberal. I tend to stick to recipes that consist of (firmly interesting). Some tense wildcards. Then, to please the audience, she features Esther, a belly fat roll named after “Good Times” star Esther Roll. A voracious, serious, and fun-minded Esther always makes us laugh. But in this new hour, Sykes is considering a mastectomy, following the advice of a doctor who suggested creating new breasts from intestinal tissue. (Sykes doesn’t explain why.) In other words, Esther is moving around the neighborhood and gets close enough to her neck that Sykes fears he can strangle her.

Greg Warren boasts that he “was a big deal at the peanut butter game,” with the pompous intensity typical of high school football coaches and motivational speakers. He works in his Jif sales office and this time was filmed in Lexington, Kentucky. Because that’s where the company used to make their products. Perhaps he really had a hard time moving the bottle. who knows? But after this special, he comedically owns this nutty spread. A clean comic with a much milder temperament, directed by Nate Bergatze, Warren slams rival brands (Peter Pan, watch out) and crowd behavior within brands (“What peanut butter do you eat?”). ), and it becomes a political topic. He discussed how the Smuckers bought out a former employer.I now own peanut butter and “If only they could get their bread,” he tells us, before adding words mixed with heaviness and anxiety. By the end, Warren had another sale. What Jerry Seinfeld did with Pop Tarts and Jim Gaffigan did with Hot Pockets, he did with Peanut Butter.


If stand-up players can harness or channel the anger of the audience, they can light up the venue. But maintaining that anger is difficult. It can either clump and shit or simply exhaust its welcome. Lewis Black’s great talent is that behind his indigestion façade, you can find a perhaps slightly scarred, thoughtful and introspective side. Here he shows us even more of his vulnerable side, partly because of the pandemic’s isolation and introspection. The title refers to the viewer. Black says he wields a sharp political elbow to defend Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, while at the same time blaming himself over his past relationships and praising the friendship. Talking about his failed career as a playwright, he brought up the topic of theater “because I like to feel the audience’s attention leave the room.”

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