Stream it or skip it?

Sam Morril is a case study in proving himself to the streaming giants by first making his own specials and stand-up projects and posting them for free on YouTube. Netflix’s lead comedy programmer, Robbie Praw, highlighted Morril earlier this year in a Decider interview, so it’s no surprise to find Morril’s latest special on Netflix.

The essence: Even if you haven’t seen Morril before, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of him. It’s the voice of him telling jokes (from his actual performance) like Joaquin Phoenix’s. jester wait to take the stage at an open mic.

Morril also just launched a podcast, games with names, with former Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman, a pairing that makes more sense if you live in New York City, where the comedian hosted an MSG talk show in 2017. He has perhaps been even more prolific in the pandemic. Your February 2020 special, I have this, released for free on Comedy Central’s YouTube channel, has amassed over 11 million views. That fall, Morril released a pandemic special tying together rooftop performances, Up on the roof, attracting more than 1.85 million views on his personal YouTube channel. Then in 2021, she starred in and released a YouTube documentary about New York City comedy clubs slowly opening up for full capacity.

Morril came to Netflix earlier this year, performed a quick set and was interviewed by David Letterman for That’s my time with David Letterman.

What comedy specials will it remind you of?: With a gruff voice, a nervous demeanor and a penchant for punchlines, Morril falls somewhere between his contemporary Mark Normand and an idol like Dave Attell.

Memorable jokes: Filmed at The Den Theater in Chicago this June, Morril gives you a taste of his sensibility straight from the jump, saying, “Finally, a Chicago shoot that doesn’t involve a teenager. This is gonna be great. Use that throw line to quickly spin into multiple jokes about cops, teachers, and the show. POLICE.

Morril isn’t afraid to wade into the political/cultural debates of the day, though he often assumes a position of middleman, a secluded island of outrage.

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He suggests that we just assume that any old movie is problematic by virtue of its age, that we can’t write off an author who’s already dead, and that a friend who rants about a trans swimmer winning college races is insincere because who cares? does women’s swimming matter?

While some comedians are quick to defend or criticize one of their own in Dave Chappelle, Morril asks them to use their time more wisely. “Dave is doing very well. He flies private. He performs in stadiums and earns $24 million per special. He recently borrowed money from your mother. Focus on you.

Morril seems more concerned about the poisonous and addictive nature of social media, saying “TikTok is crack” with an algorithm designed specifically to keep you staring at your phone and then wondering what happened to your time.

It’s a bit peculiarly ironic, considering the staging of this special, which not only includes the kinds of snippets of work in public that comedians love to post on TikTok and Instagram, but also captions audience responses in bold. , as you would see. they expressed on social networks.

Our take: At one point, Morril mockingly suggests that he should call this special 9/11 abortion holocaustwhich could describe three of his routines and set reliable expectations for unsuspecting viewers.

In truth, the title he chose comes a bit from Morril confronting his distaste for viewing pornography online. It’s a joke with labels that lead down a dark and disturbing rabbit hole that leads beyond pedophiles, the Catholic Church, Judaism, and the homoerotic experiences of pubescent boys.

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Morril tries to lighten the mood by comparing his ability to defend his taste in movies to his skill with sex, and then compares the plot of a superhero movie to that of a child with special needs. He even admits it’s a joke that he blew up five shows in a row in Portland, Oregon, but somehow killed in St. Louis. So he fully understands the fickleness of audiences. Plus, he even wants to give you an out, picturing a guy in the crowd on his first date, whispering, “This is disgusting.”

But Morril also openly acknowledges that he is in therapy. And if you were paying enough attention to his act, you probably would have figured it out by now.

Our call: TRANSMIT IT. There are two refreshing surprises in Netflix’s first September stand-up offering: 1) that a comedian can say the word “cancel” without claiming victimhood or cultural oppression, and 2) that an hour of stand-up really just needs to be about 45 minutes. Just like old school comedy club rules.

Sean L. McCarthy works the rhythm of comedy for his own digital newspaper, The comic of the comic; before that, for real newspapers. Based in New York, but will travel anywhere to get the scoop – ice cream or news. he also tweets @thecomicscomic and podcasts with half-hour episodes featuring comedians revealing origin stories: The Comic’s Comic presents the latest first.

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