DELRAY BEACH – Can the worst experience of a comedian’s life produce one of their best bits?
The answer to that question increasingly appears to be a yes.
The New York Times delved into the subject in a thoughtful piece that tracks several comics incorporating grief into their sets. When done properly and respectfully, bringing such personal content into their acts seems to make comedians more relatable. It also serves as therapy for the comedian.
It’s not a road most comedians can or should go down, but using personal grief – different from simple self-deprecation – does appear to be a growing trend in stand-up comedy.
Today’s Stand-Up Spotlight also includes a stories about another Chinese comedian who’s run afoul of his government; a woman about to become only the second Asian-American woman to have an HBO special; a feature on actor/comedian John Early and comedian Gianmarco Soresi discussing the balance between posting bits on social media and giving away the jokes.
We’re heading to a long weekend. There’s plenty of funny to be had.
STAND-UP SPOTLIGHT – May 26, 2023
That’s the Funny Thing About Grief
Are these the new five stages of grief? It can seem that way to those following the comedy scene. The past year has brought us specials and solo theatrical shows with jokes sandwiched between deeply felt thoughts on the death of a father, mother, girlfriend, boyfriend and sister.
Comic Uncle Roger banned on Chinese social media
He was performing as his stage persona Uncle Roger and joked that he was “about to get cancelled”.
Ng’s Weibo and Bilibili accounts – China’s Twitter and YouTube – were frozen at the weekend.
Atsuko Okatsuka Is Embracing Her Inner Child
When Atsuko Okatsuka learned that she was only the second Asian American woman to have an HBO stand-up special, and that it was coming more than 20 years after her friend Margaret Cho paved the way, she wasn’t all that shocked.
“It wasn’t surprising because I’m used to how things go in the industry,” she told Cut editor-in-chief Lindsay Peoples on this week’s episode of the In Her Shoes podcast. “It just lit a bigger fire in me to really, really crush it.” And crush it she did. The special The Intruder received rave reviews, and the comedian announced earlier this month that she’ll be heading on her first theater tour this summer. Seated in the audience during tapings was Okatsuka’s grandmother, Grandma Li, who now gets recognized in public herself thanks to her appearances in Okatsuka’s viral Instagram and TikTok videos. “She saw a whole production, a whole crew, a director, the audiences (there were two shows I did), and all these people working for me,” Okatsuka recalled. That’s not to say things have changed overnight for them — her grandmother is on EBT and relies on getting her SSI every month. “In all the glamour, we’re still grounded in reality.”
John Early Is Known for Search Party and Other Roles, But Stand-Up Lets Him Be Himself
Early has a strong foothold in some of television’s biggest cult hits, such as the criminally short-lived Netflix comedy anthology The Characters, Tim Robinson’s I Think You Should Leave and HBO’s Search Party, on which he played the pathological narcissist Elliott.
Stand-up comedian Gianmarco Soresi talks about the digital age of comedy ahead of Hilarities shows
Though he’s not even 30 years old, he’s already rubbed elbows with some huge names in the business thanks to acting gigs including Billy Crystal’s 2021 film “Here Today,” Jennifer Lozpez’s 2019 blockbuster “Hustlers” and Tracy Morgan’s television series “The Last OG.”