We’re going to be spending the next couple of weeks thinking and writing and podcasting about our favorite movies and movie moments of 2020, but I wanted to give a special shout-out to a handful of pieces of non-movie entertainment that kept me going through the hell-year that was 2020. For me, these podcasts and TV shows were like faint lights in a dense fog, guiding me forward and serving as brief oases before I lurched back into the swirling chaos of 2020. If you’re looking for a way to end this hellacious year on a high note, I encourage you to seek out any (or all) of these recommendations.
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(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Series: Middleditch & Schwartz
Where You Can Stream It: Netflix
The Pitch: Middleditch & Schwartz is a two-person improvised show. Based on a short audience Q&A where someone in the crowd tells the duo about something they’re exciting about or dreading in the future, Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Ben Schwartz (Sonic the Hedgehog, Parks and Recreation) create characters, scenes, and storylines off the cuff, not knowing where they’ll end up, all based on what they’ve just hear from the audience. No hooks, no gimmicks, no scripts, and no props besides two chairs. It’s two great friends with incredible comedic instincts making everything up in front of your eyes. Every show is totally different, and you never know what’s going to happen next.
Why It’s Essential Quarantine Viewing: Right now, you could probably do with an extended period of hearty laughter as the we continue to tread the boiling waters of hell on Earth. Look no further than three completely improvised comedy specials from Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz, partners in comedy who have each starred in a variety of movies and TV shows you know and love. The two actors also happen to be expertly trained comedians who went on tour over the past couple years, doing long-form improv shows for sold out audiences across the United States. Three of those were recorded at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, and they’re now available in perpetuity on Netflix. Read More »