Stream Police: Funny like a Clown? Like I Amuse You?
So this week I've decided to make a list of comedy material on Netflix. Yes, I know that the title line is from a mob movie, but I decided to use it for a comedy article. If I make a mob article, I'll probably use the same tag line. Why? Because I can. Here we go, another week's Netflix suggestions with a focus on comedy.
Red vs. Blue
Red vs. Blue is a web show that started in 2003. It was made by Rooster Teeth, and the first episode was less then 5 minutes long. It's a comedy show using motion capture software and the Halo video game franchise to animate. Today they're releasing the 12th episode of their 13th season. Each episode now lasts ten minutes, and the show has become wildly successful, allowing Rooster Teeth to branch out in to other activities. They've become so popular that their show has it's own animation team, official licensing permissions from Microsoft, regular guest spots at all kinds of conventions, and a whole plethora of awards. They sell merchandise, and their episodes are available on YouTube, Rooster Teeth's website, DVDs, and now Netflix in season long episodes that last between 1 and 3 hours each.
If you've never heard of Red vs. Blue, then you're in luck, as you get to experience the show for the first time. It's first few seasons have less than stellar animation and the audio is a little spotty, but the humor is spot on, and the plot is a slow burn that eventually develops in to an amazing twist. It follows a group of soldiers as they fight each other for control of a box canyon on a remote planet. The Flood are dead, thanks to the work of Master Chief, and mankind has devolved back in to fighting each other. Unfortunately for the men and women stuck in blood gulch, the military higher ups are a mostly inept bureaucracy, and the majority of their co-workers are idiots. The group go on adventures, travel through time, fight out of control A.I.s, and deal with the stresses of military life, all while sort of trying to win a war they don't really care about.
If you have seen Red vs. Blue but it dropped off your radar for some reason, Netflix is an excellent way to catch back up, with all but the most current season available for consumption without ads, load times, or inter episode transfer clicks, and rest assured, the later seasons have some amazingly choreographed fight scenes.
For Fans of: Halo, Catch 22, Sealab 2021
Bill Burr is a stand up comedian who's been working in the field since 1992. Since that time he's had 4 full-length stand up specials, hosts a popular Monday Morning podcast, and has a Netflix animated show in the works. His blunt, straight forward, satirical comedy is stellar. His rants are similar to those of Dennis Leary, full of angry observations and every man commentary on the absurdity of real life. He might not be for you if you're easily offended, especially considering his vocal opinion about how much easily offended people suck.
I don't normally recommend stand up specials when people ask for my television picks. They're all entertaining, but rarely do they stand out in my mind as anything special. Bill Burr is the exception. Check out the stand up specials on Netflix titled Let It Go, You People Are All The Same, and I'm Sorry You Feel That Way.
For Fans of: Dennis Leary, Lewis Black
Video Game High School
Video Game High School is wacky. It's set in a world where video games are bigger than physical sports, with each genre of game having it's own competitive tournaments. I know that's a thing already, but VGHS takes it one step further, creating High Schools and Colleges that are based entirely around video game knowledge application. The characters are over the top, the bad guys are despicable and loveable at the same time, and the action scenes in which the characters go in to an FPS game and actually fight out the versus matches are surprisingly well put together and shot for a web show.
It's full of great performances and awesome cameos, the most notable of which is Harley Morenstein, the creator of Epic Meal Time, as the school's Dean. The show is a kitchy, fun, and feel good, without the dark satire that I often prefer from my comedy, but it's genuinely fun, doesn't take itself seriously, and is an excellent use of your free time. It's also fun for the whole family, since all the places where there would be blood, it's replaced by red and blue pixelization.
For Fans of: Video games, Animal House, Humans and Households
Where VGHS is wacky, Danger 5 is absolutely insane. With a long past ideology of masculine superiority, the inevitable triumph of good over evil, and the general mindset of early 60s America, Danger 5 follows a group of Allied spies as they attempt to thwart the plans of the Nazis and above all, kill Hitler. Their leader is a man with the head of a bald eagle. Every time someone dies, they tell the French spy the recipe for a perfect alcoholic drink. They fight Nazi dinosaurs, kill bots, diamond skinned women, and all manner of other creatures and plots. It's way over the top, and incredibly awesome. The second season is tonally different, turning in to a more eighties style setting. It's not quite as good, but it's still funny.
For Fans of: Kung Fury, Bojack Horseman, Monty Python
Raising Hope is a great show, with an odd yet entertaining sense of humor. With its four seasons and intertwining story lines about the lives of people in the small town of Natesville, Raising Hope is made by the same folks as My Name is Earl, and it's extremely similar in it's tone and feel. A lot of the talent from My Name is Earl make cameos in many episodes. All the characters are an engaging mix of aggressively incompetent and endearingly sweet.
The show is about a young man living with his parents and grandmother. When he saves a young woman from a man chasing her, the pair sleep together. I turns out the woman is a serial killer, and she gets arrested and set to death row. However, she was impregnated by the main character of the show, and a child named Hope is born. Raising Hope follows the exploits of Hope, her father, his parents, and their grandmother as they try to figure out how to raise Hope in a way that gives her a better life than they have.
For Fans of: My Name is Earl, Malcolm in the Middle, The Millers