Roy Wood Jr. Talks About Empathy, Reflection & Searching For Happiness On ‘Imperfect Messenger’

By DA Staff 12 August 2023 2 mins read

Roy Wood Jr.'s 'Imperfect Messenger' is a special with empathy and reflection at its core.

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Across the 60-minute runtime of Roy Wood Jr’s third standup special Imperfect Messenger, the comedian frequently touches upon this idea, which serves as the overarching theme: we live in bleak times and everyone is searching for a sliver of happiness in their lives.

The special—which originally aired on Comedy Central in October, 2021 and is now available on their YouTube channel for free—serves as a time capsule of sorts, with the comedian meandering through topics such as police-dispatcher jargon, why the Fast & Furious franchise is the greatest of all time and the layout of civil-rights museums. But Wood expertly picks out moments in these jokes to dish out sharp and incisive commentary about cultural values, marginalisation of the Black community in the United States and humanity.

When the special was released, every comedian was mining the pandemic for jokes that had been done to death. Wood, however, acknowledges the difficult two years right at the beginning and uses it as an entry point to talk about all the other issues at hand while constantly reiterating, “People are just trying to feel good.” This becomes the foundation of the special and takes the form of jokes about American flags, police violence and watching too many civil-rights movies. The repetition gives it a sermonlike feel, with Wood playing the pastor who wants to drive his message home.

For people who have enjoyed Wood’s previous work, this will feel familiar, seeing a beloved comedian doing a stronger articulation of his worldview. For new viewers, it serves as a window into the kind of humour the comedian has dabbled with across his prolific career. Imperfect Messenger gives the viewers a lot to think about but doesn’t carve out new enemies for them. It’s a special with empathy and reflection at its core. At the end of the day, you’re going to feel a little better, a little nicer, and that’s precisely what Wood wants for the world.


DA Staff

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