Initially just billed as “Amy Schumer & Friends” at the Netflix Is A Joke: The Festival, the stand-up showcase hosted by Schumer turned out to have a theme, as all of the comedians on the lineup were asked to joke about their family lives. Hence, the new name for the Netflix special. Does this “advisory” mean the comedy is not safe for your kids? I mean, probably?
The Gist: Schumer, fresh off co-hosting the Academy Awards, flew back to Los Angeles to preside over this showcase of stand-ups making jokes about their parents and, for many of them, being parents themselves.
The lineup featured Ron Funches, Jaye McBride, Christina P. Rachel Feinstein, Chris Distefano, and Lil Rel Howery.
Memorable Jokes: Considering how COVID cases were on the rise a month ago in Los Angeles, Schumer addressed the pandemic in the room head-on in her opening remarks, joking that if anyone in the audience hadn’t gotten infected yet, then now they would be. She also made light of the folks who’ve remained COVID-free after two years and become smug about it.
For her own part on the parenting tip, Schumer made fun of herself for naming her first-born son Gene Attell Fischer without thinking of what her son’s future classmates might make of it, and noted how watching old Disney movies might feel problematic.
As for the rest of the comedians:
Ron Funches got a lot of mileage out of only learning what love meant thanks to his second marriage, and what he’s also learned about raising an autistic son. Christina P., who put out her own solo special on Netflix on Mother’s Day, had more jokes up her sleeves about raising her sons. In raising a daughter, Rachel Feinstein has begun to realize just how differently her mom raised her. Lil Rel, meanwhile, has discovered as a single father how he’s out of his element in different ways with his tween son versus with his tween daughter.
Perhaps the best set of the night, though, came from Jaye McBride, a trans woman with no kids of her own who simply delivered a strong eight-minute batch of jokes about transitioning.
And if you’re wondering, yes, Schumer also provided her perspective on the Will Smith Oscars slap.
Our Take: Schumer introduced some of the comedians as better friends than others, about midway through, which seemed weird, except for the fact that Chris Distefano actually performed first on the lineup during the tapings. Even weirder? Christina P., going up after McBride, using part of her set to say: “Stop telling me that gender isn’t real.”
Despite the theme of families and parents, the show didn’t feel cohesive at all.
Unless you want to make the case that families are rarely as cohesive as we’d like to think, either. The chaos is the point?
Nah. I think that’s giving Netflix too much credit.
The platform’s top comedy programmer, Robbie Praw, told Decider on the eve of the festival that “we’re always looking for different ways of taking stand-up and putting it in front of people.” Not all of those ways are going to work as specials, even if they might succeed for some of the individual comedians being showcased.
Our Call: STREAM IT to hear actually funny jokes about being trans from a trans comedian (McBride), or because you’re a super fan of Schumer. Otherwise, SKIP IT as a whole and seek out clips of the individual performers online instead.
Sean L. McCarthy works the comedy beat for his own digital newspaper, The Comic’s Comic; before that, for actual newspapers. Based in NYC but will travel anywhere for the scoop: Ice cream or news. He also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts half-hour episodes with comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic Presents Last Things First.