EEarlier this year, Louis CK proved his own “cancellation” on his big comeback special was a myth Sincerely, Louis CK not only landed a nomination, but also won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album.
Don’t be surprised if Dave Chappelle pulls off a similar trick at the Emmys.
Well, to be fair, hate speech isn’t the same as CK’s abusive behavior, but it now seems inevitable that Chappelle’s controversial Netflix special The nearer will be rewarded by the television academy when the nominations are announced this Tuesday.
In addition to Chappelle’s Netflix special, the Outstanding Variety Special (Pre-Recorded) nominations are also expected to include some non-comedy entries, including Adele’s Only one night concert and a similarly problematic one Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Reunion on HBO Max. But it’s comedy – and Chappelle in particular – that’s dominated the category in recent years. The comedian’s previous Netflix specials Equanimity, in which he defended Louis CK, and stick and stonein which he poked fun at Michael Jackson’s accusers, won the 2018 and 2020 awards respectively.
if The nearer among the nominees, this will be despite immense backlash at the center’s transphobic jokes — and the comedian’s enduring obsession with the subject. Even after being attacked onstage at the Hollywood Bowl, Chappelle was quick to joke that the attacker must have been a “trans man.” More recently, he attacked students who criticized him as an “instrument of oppression.”
But there will also come a time when Chappelle – much more so than Louis CK – has maintained the support of the comedy community by speaking on behalf of his friend Jon Stewart at the recent Mark Twain Awards ceremony – an honor himself in 2019 – and a surprise appearance at one of the stops on John Mulaney’s summer tour, which drew criticism from fans who felt bombarded by his anti-LGBTQ+ jokes.
So ahead of this week’s nomination announcement, here are five comedy specials that deserve a spot The nearer.
Jerrod Carmichael — Rothaniel
Of all the specials on this list, Carmichael’s breakthrough hour is (hopefully) the most likely to make it into the final nominees’ crop. Directed by his longtime collaborator – and the man who should have won last year’s award in this category – Bo Burnham, Rothaniel is a sneakily hilarious and moving set that promises to uncover and deliver multiple mysteries about Carmichael. Coming out as a gay man is one of the least surprising things the comedian reveals about himself over the course of the chilled-out hour that turns into a sort of public therapy session with the hyper-engaged audience.
Moses Storm — garbage white
When comedian Moses Storm stopped by the last laugh Podcast in January I called his HBO Max Special garbage white the first major stand-up special of 2022. Not only is it visually stunning with a set of literally white trash, but Storm has one hell of a story to tell about growing up in a doomsday cult and coming to terms with that bohemian childhood affects his ability to exist in the world as an adult. And on top of that, it includes a beautifully rendered, accidental tribute to the late Bob Saget, who played a surprisingly large part in Storm’s upbringing.
Ronnie Chiang — speakeasy
speakeasy, splendid Filmed in New York’s Chinatown The daily News Correspondent Ronny Chiang’s excellent sequel to the equally hilarious 2019Asian comedian is destroying America! Instead of complaining about “cancelling culture,” Chieng flips the script by asking viewers to “cancel” him so he stops being so successful, returns to Singapore, and sees his mother for the first time in several years. “If you commit a crime, you go to jail. It’s not an abandonment culture, it’s a crime,” he told me earlier this year. “When I was doing that part, I was making fun of the ‘woke’ people on Twitter trying to cancel everyone. And then I poked fun at the right-wingers who think the cancel culture is omnipotent.”
Taylor Tomlinson — look at you
In her first Netflix special Quarter Life Crisis, Taylor Tomlinson broke through the noise and quickly established himself as one of the most confident young stand-up comedians in the game. Its sequel in 2022 look at you proved it wasn’t a coincidence. Now, at just 28, she’s already fulfilling her wildest comedy dreams, culminating in her first major theatrical tour this fall. The Emmys will likely have many more opportunities to honor Tomlinson down the line, but they might as well start now. Her contribution alone, comparing unbalanced couples to chocolate-covered raisins, deserves some sort of accolade.
Roy Wood Jr — Imperfect Messenger
If you want to see what true stand-up comedy excellence looks like, few can top the rest Daily show Correspondent Roy Wood Jr. who has been at it for more than two decades and just gets better with every special he releases. For evidence of his mastery, look to the long run at Leonardo DiCaprio’s role as the evil slaver Django Unchained makes him an “underrated white ally”. But this joke is just one of many in Comedy Central Imperfect Messenger which intelligently addresses relevant issues in culture without putting down or upsetting entire groups of marginalized people.
Bonus: Naomi Ekperigin next The standups and river butcher shop A different kind of guy
So these two are some kind of scammers because they are part of Netflix The standups and Comedy Centrals Present while standing Series or the half-hour specials by Naomi Ekperigin and River Butcher don’t exactly qualify for this category at the Emmys. But I’d put both sets there with one of the hour-long specials released by more seasoned comics over the past year. Each comedian uses their 30 minutes to introduce themselves to the world in very different ways. By the time they inevitably land their own hours, there’s no doubt they’ll both deserve to really be a part of the Emmy conversation.
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