700 sundays

Billy Crystal

700 Sundays
HBO

By Josh Bell

Crystal’s account of his Long Island childhood is a flood of hokey nostalgia and emotional manipulation, diluting his undoubtedly genuine feelings (including his grief over the death of his father when he was 15) into so much shtick.

road work

Dave Attell

Road Work
Comedy Central

By Nick A. Zaino III

Road Work isn’t about telling revealing stories or setting up a string of one-liners as much as obliterating any boundaries of taste and tact. It’s raising the stakes, joke by joke, topping the deplorableness of the last riff.

dirty daddy

Bob Saget

Dirty Daddy
It Books

By Nick A. Zaino III

The biggest revelation may be how unabashedly Saget loves Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos, even though they created an image he fought to escape.

Peter McGraw Joel Warner

The Humor Code

Peter McGraw and Joel Warner
Simon & Schuster

By Josiah M. Hesse

Despite the simplistic framework, Warner and McGraw deliver a sprawling, exhaustive amount of research. Compressed into an accessible, beautifully woven narrative still cohesive enough to be satisfying, their benign violation theory feels pervasive when they acknowledge moral violations remain constantly in flux throughout time, geography and culture.

folk hero

Nick Thune

Folk Hero
Comedy Central

By Elise Czajkowski

As with so many specials, it’s not that Thune isn’t funny or fun to watch; he has plenty of charm, and it’s easy to see that an hour in his company could be a pleasant night out. But that feeling doesn’t quite translate to his recording.

 
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