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Comedy

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After years of making us laugh at our pain, the most likable man in comedy focuses on the most painful thing of all: our jobs

Photo courtesy Roy Wood Jr.

Roy Wood Jr. is the kind of guy who makes everyone comfortable. He has a talent for making strangers feel as if they grew up with him on his street in Birmingham, Alabama. Even if you have dissimilar viewpoints and values, you’d still want to sit and have a beer with him. It’s part of how Wood has been able to spend his career tackling difficult topics. It’s also why the 42-year-old comedian has remained busy, even in the midst of a pandemic.

In addition to being a correspondent on The Daily Show, Wood recently launched Roy’s Job Fair, a…


The ‘Bad Trip’ duo talk chemistry, almost dying on set, and the magic of Tiffany Haddish

“Bad Trip.” Photo: Netflix

“First of all, are you safe? It looks like somebody kidnapped you.”

Lil Rel Howery has just beaten me to the punch. Not to be outdone, Eric Andre quickly follows up with, “Blink twice if you’re in a hostage situation.”

We’re about 20 seconds into our conversation and we’re already laughing. I’ve forgotten the questions I’d prepared, let alone their sequence. But the laid-back air and laughter also confirm a suspicion I’ve had since watching the duo’s new film: These two have genuine chemistry.

That chemistry is the driving force behind Bad Trip, which lands on Netflix on March 26…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

Do the funky Charleston!

Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

5. ‘House Party: Tonight’s the Night’ (2013)

Listen, Hollywood: “Take the plot from the original but make it trash” has never worked. There’s no redeeming quality here, but at least give the producers some claps for having Kid ’n Play make a special appearance. In summary: The party’s over.

The key art tells you all you need to know. Kid ’n Play weren’t part of the film, and IMx (formerly Immature) got star billing. Group lead Jon Jon (Marques Houston), housesitting for his rich uncle, only has two jobs: Don’t have a party (in a film called House Party), and don’t put the keys in the ignition…


Just Rankin’ Sh!t

His new sitcom is fine, but ‘Saturday Night Live’ without him would be doomed. Doomed!

SNL cast member Kenan Thompson performing with the text “Just Rankin’ Shit” behind him in the background.
SNL cast member Kenan Thompson performing with the text “Just Rankin’ Shit” behind him in the background.
Photo illustration, source: NBC/Getty

5. Reese De’What

In a 2019 Washington Post profile of Thompson, SNL executive producer Lorne Michaels called the actor “a master in [the] studio,” adding that “he knows the best way to do just about everything.” Thompson’s glue-guy gifts are on full display as De’What, a terrible husband who sets up clips of even more terrible television shows. His line readings are somehow surprising — no one else would deliver them the same way, and no one else could make a line as basic as “This is not why I’m here!” even remotely as funny. All hail the master.

4. Darnell Hayes

“Game show host”…


Photo: Josefina Santos

The LEVEL Man at 40

Daniel Baker developed his gifts. Desus Nice gave them to the world. Now it’s time to expand.

When your moniker is Desus Nice, you can’t afford to be mediocre. You’ve got to be quicker, wittier, more aware of and conversant with the surrounding world. You’ve got to be able to distill information, to disseminate your born knowledge to those not as learned or perceptive. You have to speak the language of your audience while raising their bar. A high-wattage smile doesn’t hurt either.

These are the attributes Daniel “Desus Nice” Baker had to accrue in order to make a living being himself. …


Credit: Sony Pictures Television

Twenty-five years ago, Aaron McGruder introduced the world to the Freemans, and nothing would ever be the same

The Boondocks started out as a fallback plan.

Before creating the comic strip, Aaron McGruder was a semi-aimless University of Maryland student who didn’t expect to graduate; instead, he wanted to be a comic book artist for Marvel. After realizing that his drawing skills weren’t up to par and that he’d lose his scholarship if he didn’t return to school, he’d loaded up on so many Afro American Studies courses that it was an obvious discipline to declare as his major. From there, he began to cultivate his defining work, one guided in part by his curriculum.

The Boondocks debuted…


A barrage of avoidable bad decisions has turned the comic from a legend to a laughingstock

Photo: Kevin Kwan/Netflix from the Netflix documentary ‘Don’t F**k This Up’

A few days after Kevin Hart released his latest Netflix special, Zero F**ks Given, he was back in front of the camera, this time with an Instagram video reminding the world exactly how many fucks he gave. Twenty-three times he reminded us — 23 times in 88 seconds, every one of them claiming not to care that his disjointed, bland, hour-long attempt at comedy had gotten a lukewarm response.

That wasn’t the end of the Kevin Hart Self-Defense Tour: Days later, he hopped on the social media app Clubhouse to debate fans who were discussing Hart’s comedic merits in a…


In “America Taught Dave Chappelle That Millionaires Can Sharecrop Too,” Bonsu Thompson unpacks Chappelle’s most recent standup routine, in which the comic related his struggles with Comedy Central licensing Chappelle’s Show for streaming without giving him a cut of the revenue. “Whether the gap is money, notoriety, physical strength or civil rights,” Thompson writes, “in the United States especially, the lesser someone has the greater chance that they become prey.”


He convinced Netflix to pull his old sketch show from streaming by saying it made him feel bad. Funny how that works.

Dave Chappelle. Photo: NBC/Getty Images

In a vacuum, the story of Netflix pulling Chappelle’s Show from the platform at the request of its star and creator is a feel-good story. Of course it is. Dave Chappelle left Comedy Central when he felt he was creatively compromised. After a period of relative exile, he’s now making as much money with Netflix as he left on the table before and wields enough power and respect for the multibillion-dollar company to honor his wishes.

It’s a story of perseverance, betting on yourself, and leveraging your gifts to write your own legacy. Again, in a vacuum. But Chappelle, one…


On the day of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ win, the comic delivered a ‘Saturday Night Live’ monologue that was cerebral, sharp, and timely

Photo: NBC

Dave Chappelle’s 16-minute Saturday Night Live monologue was the complete Chappelle experience. It’s honestly an intimidating task to even try to absorb and put together cogent thoughts about something so layered and massive.

So, let’s start with the Klan joke.

Chappelle opened with jokes about his own career, including stories about his White neighbors and his royalty structure. (Somehow he’s not earning anything from HBO and Netflix now syndicating Chappelle’s Show?!)

Centering himself and his fame has been a feature in Chappelle’s stand-ups for the past decade — with mixed results. At the beginning of the monologue, he eased us…

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