Sunday, September 16, 2018

Neal Brennan: 3 Mics (2017)

I'm not recommending this stand-up special because it is funny. It is funny, sure, but that's not what makes it interesting.

The show is actually three in one, where comedian Neal Brennan gives three quite different performances, into three different mics. As he jumps from mic to mic, he also changes subjects, and while one mic is dedicated to snappy zingers, he only lingers there for a short while before moving on to another mic where he tells a rather tragic tale about his own dysfunctional father. And if the honesty starts feeling a bit heavy, he quickly changes mics once again to bring in a new brand of humor.

In a world of stand-up comedy, where everyone is all focused on getting the most laughs, this way of mixing in moments where he simply focuses on the human condition in a most naked way, comes across as fresh.

It feels like were watching a guy talking to his therapist, spicing up his tragic episodes with gallows humor. Brennan is certainly not the only one doing this, and "stand-up therapy" might even be a sort offbeat genre in recent comedy, with other examples being Tig Notaro, Carl Barron, Henry Philips, and of course Louie C.K. All of them can be hilarious when they want, but they're also bringing so much more than just lulz.

However, Brennan takes it to a new level in this special, and while certainly not for everyone, it might just have a sort of cathartic effect on those who are just as sad as they are happy.


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