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Hangover Cure: The Summer Weekend Wind-Down
A game-changer comedy special; classic Hollywood in the now; and a focus on the rhythm.
Hey, hi, hello, Happy Friday. If you’re getting this in your inbox, you’re a paid subscriber of Hugging the Bar, and let me just say, I appreciate you so much! And one of the ways I’m saying “thank you” is with this little weekly round-up of fun, non-beer recs. So, without further ado…!
WATCH: Kate Berlant’s “Cinnamon in the Wind”
The best way to describe Kate Berlant, as well as her comedy partner John Early, is one I’ve heard many comedy and entertainment greats do it, which is to say that you may not even know their names but contemporary comedy as you know it has been largely shaped by them. They came along and poked holes in the bloated, broad comedy of yesterday, dancing in and out of satire and parody with searing send-ups of society and culture today and the personality tropes that have come out of it. I’ve seen these two hold mirrors up to every character from contemporary artist to millennial wannabe influencer, without the hokey song-and-dance you might see this done with on SNL, and it’s a sight to behold. Now, plenty of stand-ups and improv performers try to nail this brilliance, and not all of them succeed.
Unsurprisingly, Kate’s solo show, which is on Hulu, is fittingly boundary-pushing and bizarre in the best ways. It’s stand-up set, it’s one-woman show, it’s breaking the fourth wall, it’s character study, it’s subtle descent into madness. You watch this and wonder how the hell Kate Berlant isn’t a household name as both an actor and comedian. If you like comedy but feel like you’ve seen plenty of people screaming into a mic about Tinder and pronouns, “Cinnamon in the Wind” is ideal antidote.
WATCH: “Fool’s Paradise”
The first thing I thought of when starting to write this particular rec was just, “Oh, wow, what a joy.” I think you can track this in Charlie Day’s career all along, but however you feel about “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” it’s arguably less charming, less whimsical—he’s got a modern-day Chaplin or Keaton energy. It’s in his physical comedy and his incredibly expressive face. It’s the kind of face you think might do really well in a silent film, and that’s, in a way, what “Fool’s Paradise” proves. The film, which is on Amazon, is set in present day but shot like a big, old Hollywood musical (sans music), and it’s kind of magical to see an everyday reality portrayed that way. Day plays someone who does not speak, and it’s kind of bonkers what he can do without lines. The movie is such a good burn on Hollywood bullshit—oh and Ken Jeong is a raw nerve of vulnerability in this, it’s pretty amazing.
Listen: “Prisencolinensinainciusol” (that Italian song that was written to “sound like” English, just because it’s been in my head and it’s kinda a bop)