Matt McMahon | Monday, November 17, 2014
Chelsea Peretti: “One of the Greats”
Former “Parks and Recreation” writer and current “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” cast member Chelsea Peretti recently debuted her new stand-up special “One of the Greats” on Netflix. With the benefit of experimentation from Netflix’s looser-than-cable structure, Peretti begins the special with an extended intro mocking the many veins of one-note characters into which many stand-up performers devolve. Her established brand of humor thrives on these norm-tackling observations, and is wholly on display throughout her set. Intermittent random cutaways to surreal audience members punctuate Peretti’s odd but accurate readings on up-to-the-minute social constructs. “One of the Greats” is never better than when Peretti can simultaneously knock down any of the very specific issues she takes with a pinpointed concept while making it laughable and relatable.
Eddie Pepitone: “In Ruins”
Following 2012’s highly-regarded documentary “The Bitter Buddha,” taking a look into the great alt-comedy resident Eddie Pepitone’s long, consistent stand-up career, Netflix released the 56-year-old Pepitone’s first taped special. Some may recognize Pepitone from his frequent guest roles on critical darling TV shows such as “Flight of the Conchords,” “Community,” “Bob’s Burgers” and “Conan,” to name a few. The longtime comedian has seen a recent surge in his career, often sought upon for his no-nonsense, curmudgeon persona. Here fans and newcomers alike finally get a glimpse to see him in his natural state, on stage behind a microphone.
Wyatt Cenac: “Brooklyn”
Similar to Sarah Silverman’s most recent, excellent “We Are Miracles,” Wyatt Cenac chose to film his sophomore hour-long special in a small Brooklyn venue named Union Hall. Performing in his home state for an intimate crowd lends Cenac a level of comfort and closeness, which allows him to delve into personal and sometimes serious material. The set has a more intimate feel than most grandiose comedy specials that aim to reach a larger audience, and Cenac’s decisions — including puppet reenactments that should be familiar to those who know his correspondent position on “The Daily Show” — offer a tone not only more akin to himself, but also to that of going to a comedy club.
Moshe Kasher: “Live in Oakland”
Released in 2012, Moshe Kasher’s “Live in Oakland” is a bit older than the three previous specials. Still, with his recent rise in popularity from experimental, alternative spots on “@Midnight,” “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail,” “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” and “The League,” Kasher’s first, and currently only, taped hour-long stand-up special should be cited along side the aforementioned. Kasher’s self-aware, off-kilter personality and viewpoints are fully on display as he performs in the self-described weird The New Parish nightclub in his hometown. His experimental bits and detached writing offer a look into the new kind of stand-up that is steadily gaining momentum and prominence in the alternative — and even now mainstream — comedy world.