If you dig jokes and comedy and humour with a U in it; boy is this week’s #SetTheVCR “special.”
Monday, May 16
Servant of the People (Seasons 2 & 3)(Anytime / Netflix)
After a Ukrainian high school teacher’s tirade against government corruption goes viral, he soon finds himself sitting the president’s seat. Yes this is Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s TV show and how he was ultimately elected.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: RICH & SHAMELESS: WHERE DID NBA STAR BRIAN WILLIAMS GO? (ANYTIME / TNT)
The story of NBA star Bison Dele, formerly Brian Williams, who had it all – but threw in the towel for a nomadic life under the stars before mysteriously vanishing on a boat in the South Pacific.
Bison Dele (born Brian Carson Williams) was the compelling story The Last Dance overlooked. Dele won a championship with the Bulls in 1997. And while not the face of that team he had his moments. And that’s about all we know. Before the 1999-2000 NBA season he abruptly retired; then on Detroit Pistons and walked away from almost $40 million dollars, 5 years Dave Chappelle walked out on $50 million and suddenly left Chappelle’s Show. One theory is he was content…he was rich enough and had no love for the game. Another theory is he never wanted to play basketball in the first place. There’s more theories. He is believed to have been murdered at sea by his older brother Miles Dabord in 2002. And that’s not all Dabord killed; he may have killed Bison’s girlfriend. Or did Bison kill him? On September 27, 2002, Dabord died so we’ll never know what did happen. The question in the title is valid; I just dunno if TNT can properly answer it.
Tuesday, May 17
Black Gold: Docuseries (Anytime / Paramount+)
A three-part documentary that reveals a shocking conspiracy: a CEO nicknamed Iron-Ass, whistleblowers from Exxon’s own labs, professional climate deniers and spin doctors, a NASA scientist and a U.S. vice president are among the characters in this thriller based on a decades-long plot to trade our planet for profit.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: KATT WILLIAMS: WORLD WAR III (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
In the war between truth and lies, there is only one man you can trust.
Filmed at the Dolby Live in Las Vegas in January 2022; this is Katt Williams’ second Netflix special. I’m not a “big” Kat fan but dude has funny-bone moments. In this special he’s breaking down conspiracy theories which sounds fantastic. Hence the recommendation. Hopefully curiosity doesn’t kill…the Kat.
Wednesday, May 18
Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets (Anytime / Peacock)
The true story of how retail traders rallied around GameStop to rock the financial system. This MSNBC documentary (and a past Sammy Suggestion!) aired on April 10; it is has now been added to Peacock.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: LIKE A ROLLING STONE: THE LIFE & TIMES OF BEN FONG-TORRES (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
The life of rock journalist Ben Fong-Torres takes center stage in this documentary on how the legendary Rolling Stone writer and editor defined an era.
One of the lines in the Cameron Crowe classic Almost Famous is “You’re not there to party. We’ve already got one Hunter Thompson.” Hah! Amazing. That line was issued by Cameron’s real life editor at Rolling Stone Ben Fong-Torres. Ben Fong-Torres (he has one of those you gotta say his whole name kinda deals…) was Rolling Stone’s first music editor. This boy from Oakland ended up interviewing the Grateful Dead, Ray Charles, the Doors, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Diane Keaton, Steve Martin, Elton John so many more…he was in the right place at the right time. If you dig Almost Famous you’ll dig this documentary.
Thursday, May 19
Atlanta: Season 3 Episode 10 *Season Finale* (Anytime / FX)
Atlanta’s third season which finds the group in the midst of a successful European tour, as they navigate their new surroundings as outsiders concludes tonight. The fourth and final season will air in the Fall; not air date has been confirmed.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE HALL: HONORING THE GREATS OF STAND-UP (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival Wraps LA Run and Announces New Specials. In the weeks ahead, some of the incredible shows taped at Netflix Is a Joke: The Festival will be available to watch.
So…on May 2nd my Sammy Suggestion was The Arsenio Hall Show (on the Netflix Is A Joke YouTube channel.). That was only 1 part of the comedy Netflix will be unleashing following their Netflix Is A Joke Fest. That was their first ever live Netflix comedy festival; it ran from April 28 – May 8. (Netflix is a Joke Fest was an 11-day stand-up comedy festival where 336 comedians made jokes (its inaugural lineup included Dave Chappelle, Seth Rogen, Dana Carvey, David Spade, Aziz Ansari, Bill Burr and Conan O’Brien.).) Following The Arsenio Hall Show another Netflix special from the comedy festival is The Hall: Honoring the Greats of Stand-Up, an evening to celebrate some of the greatest stand-ups of all time who are no longer with us. John Mulaney honors Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle honors Richard Pryor, Chelsea Handler honors Joan Rivers and Jon Stewart honors George Carlin. More on Carlin is below on Saturday night.
Friday, May 20
Old (Anytime / Crave)
M Night’s latest is shockingly not based in Pennsylvania: A vacationing family discovers that the secluded beach where they’re relaxing for a few hours is somehow causing them to age rapidly, reducing their entire lives into a single day.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: THE KIDS IN THE HALL: COMEDY PUNKS (ANYTIME / PRIME VIDEO)
The two-part documentary offers never-before-seen archival footage from the earliest years of the troupe and in-depth interviews with members Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson.
To give you a sense of the impact and influence The Kids in the Hall have had on comedy/pop culture check out who is interviewed in this Prime Video 2-Part documentary: Fred Armisen, Jay Baruchel, Lewis Black, Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard, Eric McCormack, Lorne Michaels, Mike Myers, Matt Walsh, and Reggie Watts. Whew. Only humour can allow you to connect with that many diverse individuals. And now with this documentary as well as the revival show (also on Prime) The Kids can be seen in 240 countries and territories. Which means years from now we’ll discover what other impact and influence these comedy punks had on newer fans.
Saturday, May 21
Cosmic Dawn (Anytime / Crave)
After witnessing the alien abduction of her mother as a child, Aurora joins the UFO cult “The Cosmic Dawn.” Now moved on from the cult, Aurora is forced to confront her past and pursue the ultimate truth about The Cosmic Dawn.
The two-part documentary explores Carlin’s tumultuous life and enduring legacy.
There is a strange timelessness and a sadness to George Carlin’s comedy. He died in 2008 yet his comedy remains prophetic. Many of the constitutional aspects he attacked and mocked are still being worked through. Which is why the comedy is timeless because it neatly fits into any era but also sad because you can chart how much “progress” we’ve made since his jokes. In 2021 we got Showtime’s The One and Only Dick Gregory; this year we get George Carlin’s American Dream. Both recognize the way to defeat the devil is by mocking him: Gregory and Carlin were among the best mockers we got! If that doesn’t sell you then know this’ll feature interviews with Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Patton Oswalt, Stephen Colbert and Bill Burr. Whew! Both episodes will be available to stream on HBO Max beginning Friday, May 20. So you’d be wise to watch this otherwise you’ll find yourself saying one of the 7 swears you can’t say on television.
Sunday, May 22
Elon Musk’s Crash Course (10 p.m / FX & Hulu)
Elon Musk has claimed that, for Tesla, technology for self-driving cars is essentially a “solved problem,” and made outlandish claims about Autopilot capabilities. But a New York Times investigation reveals the quixotic nature of Musk’s pursuit of self-driving technology, and the tragic results. The film will premiere at 10 p.m. PT simultaneously on FX and Hulu.
SAMMY SUGGESTION: MY NEXT GUEST NEEDS NO INTRODUCTION WITH DAVID LETTERMAN: SEASON 4 (ANYTIME / NETFLIX)
David Letterman returns to the host seat with My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, combining humor, curiosity and in-depth conversations with extraordinary people.
The fourth season welcomes another round of guests, including Cardi B, Kevin Durant, Billie Eilish, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ryan Reynolds, and Will Smith. (Calm down! Netflix has already confirmed all episodes were filmed prior to March 2022; so the Will Smith episode will be mercifully slap free. Though this entire post-Late Night show is amazing…it slaps.!)
Sammy Younan is the affable host of My Summer Lair: think NPR’s Fresh Air meets Kevin Smith: interviews & impressions on Pop Culture.