Done with the dishes and wrapped up WFH for the day? It’s bingewatch time! And what better way to wind down than with a dose of laughter because laughter is the best medicine and these specials will tickle your funny bone even though comedy is serious business and we’ve reached that stage in the sentence where we’re wondering if we’ve left out any timeworn cliches yet.
As the saying—or book title—goes, life isn’t all ha ha hee hee right now, but if you’re looking to catch a quick break between the madness, may we recommend some comedy (because what the hell else would we recommend)? Vir Das’ 10-episode web series about a killer comedian, Hasmukh released on Netflix last weekend, ditto for Chris D’Elia’s special, No Pain. And here are six others you should line up.
Baggy: Kung Fu Bonda
Released 24 April on Amazon Prime Video
Baggy was all set to release his comedy special Kung Fu Bonda on YouTube last month. The promos were out, the trailer had dropped, and excitement was in the (social media) air. But three hours before the special dropped, the folks at Amazon Prime Video called and insisted he release the special on their platform instead. So if you’ve been wondering wth happened, there you have it.
In the special, Baggy deals with the horrors of getting older and the insights (wisdom?) that come with it. The trailer provides a small glimpse into the Chennai-based comic’s reaction at being called an Uncle at the age of 30 (when he wrote the hour), and the five stages of grief associated with hearing that word directed at you for the first time.
Kanan Gill: Yours Sincerely
Released 24 April on Netflix
Yours Sincerely is Kanan Gill’s hotly anticipated special, his very first on Netflix. He spent the better part of last year touring it across India and around the world (as Teetar)—from the Melbourne International Comedy Fest in Australia to the Gramercy Theatre in New York—before finally returning to home base to film it for a worldwide release.
Directed by Neville Shah, the special was shot in Bangalore, where Gill has a huge fanbase of loyalists. The hour comes together through a letter Gill had written to his future self when he was 15 years old, with a list of life goals. But as we all know, life has its own plans. Gill reads aloud from the letter through the hour, contrasting each point in an expectations versus reality format that’s packed with observation, insight and wordplay. The stories promise to be a riot. Streaming now!
Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill
Releases 5 May on Netflix
Jerry Seinfeld is back, this time with a comedy special 23 Hours to Kill. (Vintage cars and fellow comedians not included.) Shot at the Beacon Theatre in New York, Seinfeld’s second Netflix special “tackles talking vs. texting, bad buffets vs. so-called “great” restaurants and the magic of Pop Tarts.” If you’re a seasoned fan, you already know that it’s going to be an hour of no sex-no swearing, laidback ramblings about everyday life. And that his jokes come from exaggerating everyday conflicts to dramatic conclusions and turning his weird observations into quotable one-liners.
Cool aside: According to the press release that everyone has now copy-pasted into their reports, the title alludes to something the comedian has been saying for years: that a standup comic spends one hour on stage, and the rest of the 23 waiting to get back up on it. A particularly devastating reminder for current times.
Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything
Releases 19 May on Netflix
Two years after Annihilation, the Emmy and Grammy-winning comedian is now gearing up to release his next special I Love Everything. His wife, actress Meredith Salenger tweeted yesterday, “When you fight with your spouse does he tell the entire world the story? Mine did!” hinting at what we can expect to see in the hour. That and turning 50, remarrying, how buying a new house “is like hiring a suicide squad of superhuman subcontractors”, and experiencing existential dread at Denny’s.
Stick around for the post-credits, and sit back all over again for a bonus special, Bob Rubin: Oddities & Rarities. That’s right. Two for one. Consider it a lockdown happy hour—it’s the only one we’re going to get for a while.
Hannah Gadsby: Douglas
Releases 26 May on Netflix
Ok, so she didn’t quit comedy after Nanette. Two years after her global hit, the most talked about through 2018, which in many ways defied the norms of standup and compelled the comedy community worldwide to think again about turning personal pain and trauma into “art”, the Tasmanian comedian takes stage again with Douglas.
This time, she takes on her haters, who dismissed Nanette with eloquent arguments like, “Is this even comedy, bro?” insisting it was more TEDTalk than standup. “Nah, I’m not having that,” she declares. “I’ll give you a fucking lecture.” In Douglas, she talks about life after Nanette, and being diagnosed with autism after being misdiagnosed with being simply—sigh—“hormonal”.
“Safe to say I did not quit,” she tweeted on 1 March 2020. “Instead…I did 147 shows over 369 days in 40 cities across 12 countries and 432 NYT Monday crosswords from the archive: the Douglas Tour is done! I had a very nice time. I hope y’all did too. Wash your hands on the regular and be as well as you can.” At least until the special drops.
Chelsea Peretti: Foam and Flotsam
Releases in June
Standup comedian and Brooklyn Nine-Nine star Chelsea Peretti just dropped an EP from her debut musical project, Foam and Flotsam. “A concept album about coffee”, the Kool Kojak collaboration also features Kathleen Hanna, Nick Kroll, Hannibal Buress, Wale, Juliette Lewis, Chika, Terry Crews, Andy Milonakis, Will Schwartz, Reggie Watts and Patti Harrison, among others.
The first five tracks are out (two even have videos), including the surprisingly catchy Oatmilk (Do you have oatmilk? / Do you do you do you have / …oatmilk? / I need oatmilk) and plot twisty Late (how you gonna waltz in here / iced coffee in hand / big smile on your big dumb face); and what we predict will be lockdown season’s topical hit, Chore (coffee ain’t working anymore / life is a chore).
A second EP is expected before the full project releases in June. Until then: