Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats (2014) ***

NR, 74 min.
Director: Lance Bangs
Writer/Performer: Chelsea Peretti

I had never heard of Chelsea Peretti before seeing “Brooklyn Nine Nine”, the Andy Samberg police comedy show in which she plays the precinct secretary. Of a cast of oddballs, her character is by far the strangest of the bunch. She’s a too cool for school playa who probably sat by herself talking mostly to herself during lunch period.

Well, Netflix has made her only the second woman with a stand up special produced by their television streaming service. The first was Chelsea Handler, whose special preceded Peretti’s by only about a month. I haven’t seen Handler’s special, but Peretti’s is proof that female comics are indeed very funny.

Peretti herself doesn’t come across quite as strange as her “Brooklyn Nine Nine” character, but her approach to the clichés of the stand up special are very strange indeed. Her stand up routine itself is pretty straight forward, with acute observations about life and biting wit in her commentary on those observations.

The set is filled with asides, however that poke fun at many of the most standard editing practices of stand up specials. Instead of showing shots of random audience members, that camera finds people reacting very strangely to jokes and even dogs in place of human audience members. Peretti seems to be the only person in the room that notices some of these strange things in her audience. Many of the audience shots are obviously filmed at a different time than the actual live set and edited in as if they were happening during the set. It creates an odd atmosphere for the special, but Peretti’s comedy is so good, everything springs back into place when necessary.

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