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6 stand-up shows to liven up your weekend

2017-04-08 08:00
 
Trevor Noah

Johannesburg - We’re looking for all kinds of silver linings in the clouds of our current political climate. Internet TV provides six of them, with stellar stand-up comedians bringing some much-needed light relief.

Will Ferrell: You’re Welcome, America

Filmed in 2009, this is Will Ferrell’s acclaimed one-man Broadway show, courtesy of HBO. Expect costume changes and a flawless “Dubya” accent as Ferrell portrays one of America’s most shameful presidents in all his hilarious incarnations, from Cowboy Bush to Flight Suit Bush. It’s a fun reminder of how much better things used to be - when the worst that politics could offer us was this bumbling idiot. (You can also see Ferrell in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, recently launched on Showmax.)

Watch the trailer here:

Available on Showmax

Katt Williams: Priceless … Afterlife

If you’ve only got an hour to spare, treat yourself to this 58-minute HBO comedy special, featuring the unique insights of Katt Williams. Directed by Spike Lee, this show is a fast-paced rollercoaster ride with the veteran stand-up comedian. He’s developed an aura of controversy around his pro-American stance, confronting hecklers at his live shows with profane tirades, and even climbing off-stage to take them on physically. But this has all added to his street cred, and his is one of the most sought-after live acts in the States today. (Catch Katt Williams’s voice as A Pimp Named Slingback in The Boondocks, also on Showmax.)

Watch the trailer here:

Available on Showmax

Chris Rock: Never Scared

He’s one of the world’s most celebrated comedians and he won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album for this HBO show in 2006. His humour hasn’t aged a day in the last 13 years. Here’s one extract from the show that would not be out of place in a stand-up show today, about accepted racism: “(People  started saying) ‘I'm American man, I'm American. Fuck all these foreigners!’ And that was cool. ‘I'm American man, I'm American. Fuck the French!’ That was cool. ‘I'm American man, I'm American. Fuck all these Arabs!’ And that was cool. Then they went to ‘I'm American man, I'm American. Fuck all these illegal aliens!’ Then I started listening. Cause I know (black people) and Jews is next. It's like any day now. That train's never late.”

(You can also see Chris Rock in Pootie Tang, directed by another stalwart stand-up, Louis CK, and in a more conventional role in What to Expect When You’re Expecting, both on Showmax.)

Watch the trailer here:


Available on Showmax

Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark

One of SA’s most successful showbiz exports does us proud in this one-hour Netflix comedy special, filmed earlier this year. He makes light of the pressing issues we’re facing in the world right this minute, from the rise of nationalism to all the ways we miss Obama (one of our favourite bits is where Trevor mimics Barack stepping out of Air Force 1 as if he’s emerging straight into a music video).

Watch the trailer here:


Available on Netflix

Amy Schumer: The Leather Special

This is “the baddest bitch” at her bawdy best. She’s poured herself into a skin-tight leather get-up and dominates the stage for 57 minutes, necking wine straight from the bottle and holding forth on all the things women want you to know about their bodies, about dating and about oral sex that we’re too ashamed to talk about. She’s also got a perfectly reasonable message about gun control, in the wake of the cinema shooting at the opening of her film Trainwreck in 2015, which left two women dead and nine people injured. (We were surprised when, at her mention of “gun nuts”, several audience members walked out in protest. America, man.)

Watch the trailer here:


Available on Netflix

Louis CK 2017

CK is, as usual, the “everyman” (or a cleverer, more cynical and lewder version of it) in his most recent comedy special - but this time, in a suit. He aims to make us as uncomfortable as possible, opening with the kind of straight talk we don’t usually hear on issues like abortions (“I think that women should be allowed to kill babies”) and suicide (“Life can get very difficult, very sad, very upsetting, but you don’t have to do it. You really don’t have to do it ... because you can kill yourself”). And then he goes on to share his grumpy observations about what life really means (spoiler: probably not much and love never lasts and you’ll never be able to satisfy or protect your kids as much as you want to). If you’re currently feeling weighed down with the disappointments of life in general, and with our politics in particular, CK’s dour outlook is sure to lift your spirits. 

Watch the trailer here:


Available on Netflix


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