Welcome to Comedy Now, a weekly column cataloging what comedy fans should know about what’s available in the streaming world. Whether it’s a brand new special, an old classic, or the oddball show that defies categorization, we’ll list as many as we can for your enjoyment right here. Who knows? We may even throw in a few non-streamable bits on occasion, like tour announcements from our favorite comics. You can check out last week’s column here.
Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery (Netflix)
Norm Macdonald never left stand-up, per se, but the Saturday Night Live alum has spent more time tweeting and appearing on late night television than making new comedy specials. Hence why his Netflix debut, Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery, is sure to grab some attention when it streams on Tuesday, May 9th. And judging by the first trailer, the Canadian comic’s penchant for wordplay, wit and surreal observational humor hasn’t dissipated in the slightest. Macdonald’s first hour since 2011’s Me Doing Standup is part of a huge swathe of new original comedy hitting Netflix this month.
Chris Gethard: Career Suicide (HBO)
Though we already previewed Chris Gethard’s new one-man show, Career Suicide in a previous column, the fantastic hour from the host of The Chris Gethard Show finally premieres this Saturday, May 6th at 10pm ET on HBO. To promote the Judd Apatow-produced show, Gethard sat down with fellow comedians Wyatt Cenac, Aparna Nancherla, Patti Harrison, and Phoebe Robinson for a short video discussing the importance of mental health. Seeing as how Gethard’s numerous bouts of depression make up a core component of Career Suicide, it’s both a clever and insightful way to advertise the hour while also drawing attention to an important issue.
Maria Bamford: Old Baby (Netflix)
We also wrote up the then-new trailer for Lady Dynamite star Maria Bamford’s followup to her 2012 hour, The Special Special Special! last week. But that was before Uproxx spoke with her about Old Baby‘s unofficial mascot (Arnold the pug) and the comic’s decision to film in six different locations. Bamford’s latest premiered May 2nd on Netflix, where it’s currently available to all Lady Dynamite fans eagerly awaiting the upcoming second season. Sadly, she wasn’t able to share any concrete details about when new episodes will be available, though Bamford did reveal her own parents — who starred in Special Special Special! as the audience — will appear. (Along with practically everyone else.)
Al Madrigal: Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy (Showtime, then Hulu and Amazon)
Also worth catching, Al Madrigal’s Shrimpin’ Ain’t Easy, which premieres Friday, May 5th at 9pm ET on Showtime. The former Daily Show correspondent’s latest is one of the first stand-up comedy films of 2017 to dive straight into the current political melee in America, and his jokes about everything from Trump’s poorly conceived Cinco de Mayo tweet to immigration are on point. Madrigal addresses why he went an explicitly political route in an upcoming interview with Uproxx, as well as his acting and writing work in Showtime’s upcoming series I’m Dying Up Here.
Richard Pryor: Icon (Netflix)
After adding Live & Smokin’, a 1971 stand-up set released on VHS in 1984, to its comedy queue in early April, Netflix’s May additions throw in a PBS documentary about Richard Pryor for good measure. Titled Richard Pryor: Icon, the 2014 television special consists largely of footage collected from the comedian’s concerts, scripted film roles and television appearances; interviews with comedians, entertainers and others who knew him; and a general biographical survey. Hardcore fans of Pryor probably won’t be too interested in Icon as a result, but those unfamiliar with his career may find it appealing.
The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell (book/tour)
Aside from jumping back into another season of United Shades of America on CNN, comic and activist W. Kamau Bell also released a new book this week. Titled The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell, it catalogs his life before, during and after becoming a socially-conscious entertainer in modern America. It also includes a series of related essays about everything from why Denzel Washington is the greatest actor of all time, to Black superheroes and the comic book stories featuring them. Awkward Thoughts is available for sale online and wherever books are sold. You can also pick up a copy at one of the many stops along Bell’s current book tour.
Just For Laughs (festival)
Jerry Seinfeld’s headlining gig at Comedy Central’s Colossal Clusterfest and his massive Netflix deal aren’t the only two ways in which the Seinfeld star is making a big return to stand-up. The Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee host will also take the main stage at the 35th annual Just For Laughs festival in Montreal this summer — a venue he hasn’t appeared at since 1989. Seinfeld will be co-headlining the festival with French comic Gad Elmaleh, whose bilingual Gad Gone Wild premiered on Netflix earlier this year. Judd Apatow, Trevor Noah, Ali Wong, John Mulaney, Laverne Cox, David Spade and Howie Mandel will also be performing or appearing.