Nick Kroll and John Mulaney are bringing Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland into your home. These are two old dudes from the Upper East Side you’ll like.
In the past year, New York has seen a lot of really good theater. Aside from Hamilton, there have been many funny and poignant off-Broadway productions with a lot of heart. I personally partook in almost none of it because of ticket unavailability and general life stuff (it’s hard to sacrifice a free evening in this city). Well, enter The Internet, saving the day once more. Netflix is bringing one of last year’s funniest stage productions, Oh, Hello, right into your home. You should be so thankful for this. Things like Oh, Hello help bridge the gap between stand-up comedy, American theater, and television.
This is a growing trend with streaming services, putting once-live productions up for general consumption. Sure, theater is an inherently ephemeral art form, and there is something to be said for the live witnessing of these created moments. But what about those of us who can’t get it together to go spend an evening at a show (me)? Netflix is playing an important part in the war against F.O.M.O (Fear Of Missing Out, for those who are not afflicted).
In all seriousness, I think this trend points to a greater paradigm shift in television media. Mulaney and Kroll weren’t the only comedians embarking on the New York theater scene — Chris Gethard had a run of his own one-man show, Career Suicide, almost simultaneously with Oh, Hello! Gethard’s show has since been turned into a streaming special on HBO Now. These are scripted shows that come from the minds of career comedians. They’re technically plays but somehow they bridge into stand-up comedy and sketch as well. Netflix has prioritized the availability of a wide range of comedy specials, and some of these — The Lucas Brothers come to mind — sort of toe the line between theater and stand-up comedy. It begs the question — can a “low art” like comedy be considered a “high art” like Broadway? Can both be treated as a television special for widespread consumption? Netflix and HBO seem to think so.
I, for one, cannot wait to check this out. I’m so happy that Broadway shows are slowly becoming more available to the masses, because until now the best place to find recordings of legendary stage performances was the Lincoln Center Library (which is still a great place to visit, don’t get me wrong). Now, Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland will be at our fingertips, and hopefully there will be more stage productions to come.