Thursday, June 15, 2017

Inside Comedy on Cable

Two new television series have popped up recently exploring the world of stand-up comedy - "Crashing" on HBO and "I'm Dying up Here" on Showtime.

"Crashing" came first focusing on the semi-fictional life of comic Pete Holmes and was developed by Judd Apatow.  This anti-sitcom is based around Holmes' actual stand up, which if I'm being honest I never found all that funny.  This show however is hilarious, tragic, but hilarious.

Propelled by recurring guest stars like Artie Lange, T.J. Miller, and Sarah Silverman, it begins when Holmes' wife cheats on him and after leaving her, he begins to take his stand up career seriously while couch surfing with friends and strangers.  The tragedy of his life is countered by how funny the situations he finds himself in.  I loved it and hope it returns for a second season. 

"I'm Dying up Here" is more of a drama set in the early 1970s about much the same inner working of the comedian's world.  It's good, real good, but solidly a drama.  It is almost "Crashing" meets HBO's "Vinyl," and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Melissa Leo, who I loved in "Treme," leads an ensemble cast, executive produced by Jim Carrey.  I'm looking forward to more of this, not so funny, but great performances. 

Both series offer intriguing insight on the industry, from two completely different eras, and both worth checking out. 

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