Jerrod Carmichael recently produced an original HBO comedy special featuring fellow comedian, Drew Michael. This time, offering an entirely new approach to how an audience sees standup.
The unorthodox Jerrod Carmichael production is a boundary-pushing portrayal of raw comedy. Taped without an audience, the set focuses solely on Michael’s material and delivery; demanding the viewer to ask themselves honestly, ‘Is this funny to me?’.
Carmichael has successfully found a way to personalize and dramatize standup comedy – making Drew Michael’s HBO special the very first of its kind.
From many of our favorite specials, we can expect conventionally consistent production; jokes that hit every time, laughter after almost every line. The behind-the-scenes truth is: not all of the material goes over well with the audience.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld reflected on this concept in the documentary Dying Laughing (2016), “When you watch comedians, when you don’t know anything about the context, it seems like the audience is having a good time. That’s not what’s happening at all. What’s happening is nothing; absolutely nothing; it’s dead, solid quiet…”
Carmichael’s removal of the audience eliminates the tool by which we gauge comedic success: crowd approval. This approach forces the viewer into a more cathartic and introspective experience with comedy.
Jerrod Carmichael on production of Drew Michael’s HBO special –
“I’m really concerned with how standup is portrayed and how it comes across. What this is, is trying to move that boundary a little bit. When I first saw Drew, it was the words that grabbed me. So, we did Drew’s special without an audience because I think Drew’s performance lends itself to not having an audience. What it became is really interesting and really personal. No distractions; you have to decide where to laugh, if you laugh, if it means anything to you.”
One thing is for sure, Carmichael’s art has generated massive attention and strong mixed reviews. The audience either loves it because it’s different or hates it for the same reasons.
Drew Michael’s HBO Standup Special premiered on Netflix on August 25, 2018. Catch Michael’s performance as he covers everything from closed captioning frustrations to dating and relationships.