For fans of stand-up comedy, Netflix has become a wealth of content over the past few years. The seemingly endless number of stand-up specials can make it difficult to decide which comics are right for you. Last week, Netflix released season two of “Tiffany Haddish Presents: They Ready.” The show features six roughly 20-minute sets from comics hand-picked by Haddish. These types of episodic specials can be an easy way for fans to sample comics they may not be familiar with. Unfortunately, the majority of the acts featured in this season were underwhelming.
While season one of “They Ready” showcased Haddish’s favorite up-and-coming comedians, season two spotlighted more seasoned comedy veterans. Those featured were Godfrey, Erin Jackson, Tony Woods, Kimberly Clark, Barbara Carlyle and Dean Edwards. All these comedians have spent years developing their craft. They are all undeniably talented, but most of the sets in this show are just not that funny.
At the beginning of each episode, Haddish introduces the comic by talking about the ways in which they have inspired her. While these stories describing their experiences together can be interesting, she also relentlessly sings the praises of every comedian before the viewer gets to see their set. This format causes the mediocre performances to feel like a letdown. We should not have to be told how funny a comedian is before they perform. It seems like they would fare better by letting the sets speak for themselves.
The best episode of the season by far is Godfrey’s. He is the only comic featured in season two that honestly killed it. His impressions are outrageously fun to watch, and the rest of his material holds up as well. Jackson’s performance is a close second. She has a more observational style, and maintains solid momentum through the entire 20 minutes. Clark’s episode held up for the most part. Her witty humor provided a few very strong moments, but her set also featured more than a few jokes that fell flat. While these three comics were mostly enjoyable, the others just did not resonate. These three episodes are worth watching, but are not enough to hold up the entire season.
One aspect of season two that was quite interesting was the homages it paid to the history of Black comedians. The last episode features a 20-minute, heartfelt discussion between the performers about their experiences in the industry. They each shared stories about the discrimination they have endured, as well as the more positive moments of their careers. The episode had an intimate tone. The comics range widely in age, which provided various perspectives to the intellectual discussion.
Season two of “They Ready” is an unremarkable addition to Netflix’s vast stand-up comedy library. While the episodes featuring Godfrey, Jackson and Clark are worth checking out, there are very few gut-wrenching moments throughout the season. The conversations about the history of the industry are interesting, but the majority of the actual stage time felt dead.
Rating 2.5 out of 5 stars
Thumbnail photo courtesy of @CinemaRareIN on Twitter.