For the past couple of years, it’s been a good time to love sketch comedy. IFC has Portlandia, but used to have The Birthday Boys. Comedy Central has Inside Amy Schumer, but used to have Kroll Show and Key & Peele. Plus, obviously, there’s still SNL.
Netflix jumped into the game late last year with their glorified Mr. Show sequel W/Bob & David, and they’ve just announced a pretty intriguing new sketch series due out this year. It carries the somewhat awkward full title of Netflix Presents: The Characters, but let’s just call it The Characters.
They gave 8 different up and coming comedians a half-hour episode each to do whatever sketches they wanted. I only recognize a couple of the names on the list, but the first one which excites me is Lauren Lapkus, best known for Orange Is The New Black but also notable for her many hilarious appearances on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast. The other seven comedians getting their own episode are Kate Berlant (The Meltdown), Dr. Brown (Dr. Brown), Paul W. Downs (Broad City), John Early (Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp), Tim Robinson (Saturday Night live), Natasha Rothwell (SNL) and Henry Zebrowski (Heroes Reborn).
Even if I’m unfamiliar with every one of those names, this still seems like a cool concept for a TV show, similar to Comedy Central’s various stand-up showcases for up and comer comedians but done in a more drawn out sketch format. This also means that The Characters will probably be very uneven, even more so than normal for a sketch show. However, kudos to Netflix for trying something unique.
There is no release date for all 8 episodes yet, but here’s the announcement trailer: