Best Comedy of 2021 – The New York Times | Local News

Best Comedy of 2021 – The New York Times

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Comedy turned dangerous in 2021. No dangerous undo-culture (although after creating one of the loudest controversies of the year with his Netflix special “The Closer”, Dave Chappelle might not be in. ‘OK). More like “I could contract Covid at this dangerous spectacle.” After a (hopefully) one-off stop from the live performances, audiences returned to the indoor shows and the comics picked up where they left off. These are some of the highlights.

One night at the Comedy Cellar, Dave Attell said to a guy in the crowd, “I’m glad you’re wearing a mask because we need a survivor to tell the story. But in the basement of the West Side Comedy Club, Bill Burr shot the elephant in the room even faster: “I’m happy to be here working on a new variation.

Tig Notaro isn’t the first stand-up to turn into a cartoon, but his HBO “Drawn” special was the most ambitious attempt, using a different animated style for each track – realistic one moment, whimsical fantastic the next, deviating from the public perspective to a cockroach. Imagine if Pixar stood tall.

This is the year that visual humor caught up with the verbal genre in comedy specials. Bo Burnham invented a new comedic vocabulary with his Netflix hit “Inside,” a filmic meditation on isolation, the internet, and ironic distance itself. It was so melodic and thematically well done that a successful musical is surely in its future.

In “Imperfect Messenger,” a Comedy Central special filled with polished comedic gems, Roy Wood Jr. begins by discussing things that aren’t racist but to feel racist. Things that have, as he puts it, rubbing his thumb and fingers like he’s clinging to something, “the residue of racism” – like when whites use the word “ancestors”, or when you go. somewhere and that there are “too many American flags”, which he calls “too much freedom”. He rubs his fingers and thumb again and asks, “How many American flags equals one Confederate flag?” “

With a horror soundtrack, claustrophobic close-ups and the menacing humor of a Pinter play, the movie “Shiva Baby” offers a modern take on the postgraduate angst of “The Graduate”. Its director, Emma Seligman, has been the most promising comedy writer in years.

In the original Audible “May You Live in Interesting Times”, Laraine Newman describes studying with Marcel Marceau, dating Warren Zevon and farting in front of Prince. She gives you what you want in a “Saturday Night Live” memoir, but what makes her audiobook excellent is her agile voice, mimicking a collection of characters, none more charismatic than hers.

“Mentally Al” catches up with the little-known comedian Al Lubel as he is nearly broke, disheveled, and struggling with an incredibly dysfunctional relationship with his mother. On stage, however, he’s still hilarious, even when audiences don’t think he is. After countless documentaries of how a truly funny person became a star, there’s finally one revealing one exploring why we didn’t.

Sometimes the strongest punch is a blow. In “Oh My God, One Hour on Abortion” – a low-key, humane and deeply funny examination of the experience of unwanted pregnancy and abortion – Alison Leiby uses observational comedy to reframe a question policy at a critical time for reproductive rights.

Since Chaplin fled the police, he hasn’t been as funny as Tiffany Haddish in “Bad Trip,” a scripted Netflix movie that features unscripted scenes, such as Haddish emerging from under a jail bus dressed in an orange jumpsuit, forcing a male passer-by to enter. an uncomfortable decision.

There has never been a better year for hunk comedians making jokes about their crumbling sanity. With Bo Burnham unraveling onscreen and John Mulaney describing the depths of his addiction in live entertainment, British comedian James Acaster delivered his masterpiece, “Cold Lasagna Hate Myself 1999” on Vimeo. It’s an insanely funny, deeply felt nearly three-hour long show that pokes fun at how easily mental struggles can be turned into entertainment before doing just that.

There were propeller missiles, shiny diamonds and a huge sign announcing “World War III” in the lights. I’m still not sure what the battle was about, but as soon as born artist Katt Williams loaded into Barclays Center the yellow sneakers were blurry, it was clear he had won.

Naomi Ekperigin is a natural – a comic that can make you laugh about anything: summing up Nancy Meyers movies, vaccines, clichés (why LA sucks), the way she says “OK”. In a half-hour set, as part of “The Standups” collection which hits Netflix on December 29, she even has two different jokes about the color beige that make her laugh. It’s a delight.

In describing how the porn industry launched everything on the internet, from user-generated content to casting diversity, Danny Jolles, in his Amazon Prime Video special, “Six Parts,” finds a new way to describe fragmentation and filtering. news: fetishes. All news, he argues, has become “perverse news,” responding to our narrow, even perverse, whims.

Last year ended with the release of “An Evening with Tim Heidecker”, a humorous stand-up parody that was a bit too vague to really resonate. Now Heidecker has hit the nail on the head with his recent YouTube parody of The Joe Rogan Experience; its 12 hour battery life (really an hour in a loop) is its first joke. So precise, so meticulously sensitive to the details, cadence, and lingo of this podcast, his conversation with two sycophantic guests (performed with perfect smarm by Jeremy Levick and Rajat Suresh) is a masterclass in sounding absolutely overwhelming while not say nothing precisely.

No comedy that started in 2000 should be so funny yet. Part of the reason for this achievement is the consistent supporting performances of the elite, none more important than Susie Essman, who has shone this year. Famous for its volcanic fury, it can just as easily be dry and sober. I haven’t laughed louder on a TV show this year than after hearing her say the word “caftan”.

Jim Gaffigan has published so much material for so long that it’s easy to take it for granted. The fact that he’s family-friendly probably doesn’t help his press either. His new dynamite special, “Comedy Monster” (premieres Tuesday on Netflix), is perhaps his best, showing Gaffigan at his most dyspeptic. It suits him. Who would have thought that he would gut so satisfactorily the marching bands and parades? Or do the most unexpected props joke of the year (keep an eye out for a grand piano).

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