The 3 mics of Neal Brennan


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Neal Brennan

I’ve been a fan of Dave Chapelle since his excellent show on Comedy Central circa 2003 (I’ve still got the DVD’s). After it’s abrupt ending, I’ve been keeping an eye on what he’s up to. If you don’t know about Dave Chapelle’s Show, it ended in 2006 so you’re a bit late and it’s about time you watch it.

I like stand up comedy, but stand up in the strict sense of the word, without any gimmicks or props. Just someone standing up (duh!) in front of a bunch of people exposing his views about the world in a funny and creative way. It’s an art and yeah, the great ones are american. I’ve seen a few of latin america, even from Colombia, but to be honest, there is no one near the level of the US comedians and, come to think of it, that’s a bit sad.

Anyway, I was going to write something about the new Dave Chapelle’s Netflix comedy specials. But I decided to go with the other half of the talent behind the difunct show: Neal Brennan. Curiously enough, his special came out at similar dates. Even though Dave’s Special is pretty damn good and didn’t disappoint, I’ve must admit that Neal’s was more interesting. Yes, a comedy special can be interesting and not just funny or entertaining. I’ve learned that watching this guy.

The 3 mics

3 mics on scene. One for one liners, another one for stand up and the one in the middle por emotional stuff. The set up caught my attention from the beginning. I’ve never seen anything like it in that world. The show per se is very funny, but also heartbreaking. As Neal switches between mics, you can be laughing out loud about an observation he said on his stand up, but then you’re listening to a one line that resets everything and is funny in another way and just when you’re finishing giggling about that one, you’re now listening to emotional stuff that Neal reflects upon such as suffering from depression or about his relationship (if you can even call it that way) with his father.

Now, I know. As you’re reading this, it sounds weird. But I’m telling you, it works and it does so in a very good way. It’s like going to one of those restaurants in which they are serving dish after dish after dish of delicious meals. Each one is very different from the other, and in plain sight they don’t belong there, but it some way, if you step back, they do seem to have certain logic behind or maybe some hidden narrative that makes the whole experience memorable. It’s like that. Sort of.

It surprised me because I didn’t expect something like that from a comedy special. It surprised me because it’s honest and because Neal opens up to the public in a way that doenst happen often. He’s exposed, vulnerable, but pointing to a clear goal and when you watch it, you’ll know what it is. That’s what makes this special really unique and relevant.