Middleditch and Schwartz

(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 »

Fewer trailers

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?

This week we just improvise, grieve in our own comedic way, stumble upon something a little weird, explore beauty through design, and get political.

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