The nervous, gentle Joe Pera leads a tour of inspired New York stand-ups. Info/tix
"Iron. It makes up most of the Earth's core and is in our blood. It's also the reason we're here, for the most part." These are the words that Joe Pera chose to open the first season of Adult Swim's Joe Pera Talks With You, one of 2018's most singular television shows. Quietly poetic, the show pivots with ease between moments of reverence and irreverence. It's a near-perfect mirror of the wise, gentle Midwestern elder character that Pera's been cultivating in his act for more than a decade. Like that character, the show's shot through with nervous energy, neuroses, a gentle politeness, and unbridled warmth. For all of the show's hard-left absurdist laughs, there are moments of deep gravitas and unflinching humanity. While there's a plethora of jokes about things like how carving a pumpkin is a transaction that requires forfeiting 1/16th of your soul, there's a slew of aching reminders of our own mortality and how our legacies will pale in comparison to the stoic splendor of the Upper Peninsula's nearly 200 named waterfalls.
There's an uncommon ebb and flow to Joe Pera Talks With You that renders its best moments unforgettable. A large part of this can be attributed to the collaborative efforts of the names attached to the show, The Tonight Show's Jo Firestone and Late Night's Conner O'Malley. That duo will be accompanying Pera on "The BlueBerry Tour," which looks to be one of the more inspired comedy tours to run this year. All three of those comics have spent a long time climbing the ranks of NYC's highly competitive scene and more than earned their spots as some of the city's most respected comedic voices. —Steven Spoerl