SMALL SCREEN – Kyle Wells

Comic trend continues

What’s the deal with stand-up comedians on television? Am I right?

In all seriousness, I’m a big fan of stand-up comedians, and you might be too without even realizing it. Television and stand-up comedy have been tight for a long time, mainly because most successful comedians at one point or another venture into the world of television and quite a few really thrive there. Think Roseanne Barr, Dave Chappelle, and, of course, Jerry Seinfeld.

The trend continues and stand-up comedians are still doing some of the most interesting things on TV.

It’s a hard show to get a hold of but if you have IFC or have somehow managed to access USA Netflix, then check out Maron, which has run for two seasons so far and comes back for a third starting May 14. Marc Maron is a stand-up comic best known for his podcast WTF (wtfpod.com), and he’s kind of been my spirit animal lately, which maybe doesn’t reflect well on me.

Regardless, I love his podcast, can’t wait to see him live in Vancouver on May 9 and really enjoy the show, in which he plays a stand-up comedian and podcaster struggling with a mix of self-doubt and bitterness. But, you know, funny.

Maron is an old friend of Louis CK, whose show, Louie just started for a shortened season five on FX. For those who don’t watch Louie, what’s wrong with you? It’s compelling, hilarious and unpredictable, so you should really get on that. And again, if you do have that USA Netflix access, season four just became available, just between you and me.

What I love about both Maron’s and CK’s shows is that they aren’t carefully delivered and safe, which is so much of what we see with half-hour comedies now. Sure, they don’t always hit gold, but the joy is in watching them try for something honest, personal and different. And when they do connect, which is often, it’s some of the best television out there.

If it’s straight up stand-up you’re after, there are good options coming up. Chris D’Elia’s has a new special on Netflix called Incorrigible. You might know D’Elia from the failed Whitney or current Undateable, but he’s pretty darn funny, so worth checking out.

And Jen Kirkman, who you might know from Chelsea Lately (I didn’t), also has a stand-up special coming to Netflix May 22, called I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine). I’ve watched some of her stuff on YouTube and she’s got some good material, so this should be worth watching.

 

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