Andrew Santino makes a 3-star Cheeseburger
"The problem with comedy is" that it's now too hard to do the same way that attracted me to it when I was in 5th grade. You can't just say off-the-wall shit about or pertaining to people that are different than you in any way. With that said, that doesn't stop most comedians like myself (white, tall, not totally problematic but looooves to say terrible things for the thrill of the reaction) from trying to indulge in this approach. Though Andrew Santino does pull off this technique with a little more finesse than what I've seen from his contemporaries.
I forget the context in which I first started recognizing Santino's face or his name. I honestly couldn't tell you which I learned first either. I'm sure it was before Dave, but I don't recall if it was a half hour special or just a clip on YouTube or what, but I feel like I've known the guy my whole life. So when I saw that he's got an hour to himself on the largest platform a modern comic can get, I got excited.
I also got just about what I expected. Strong jokes with fantastic structure, championship-level confidence and delivery, and humor that makes me think, while also saying "hey now" a few times before I have to give myself the good-leftist assessment test to see if this is the kind of comedy we're trying to get away from on my side of the argument. It passed the examinations but still had me spacing off for a few minutes at a time. I was watching it stoned, what'd I think would happen, really?
And I'd love to say more about the special as a whole before getting into the "Can we do this anymore" one-sided discussion, but I'd be talking in circles and wasting time if I didn't. There's not a whole lot wrong with the actual material Santino was performing (is he white? now that I'm thinking about it?) but the central theme of the show, the genre of this special was "We can find ways to make the jokes we're being told not to tell anymore". Listen, this is the first draft of this post, everything I write and publish on here is a first draft that I don't care about bc it's a shitty blog on my traffic-less website, so I'm sure there's a more thorough way to boil this down, but that's the sense I got. It doesn't even matter how thoroughly you dissect the material here before you start running the tests. It's the humor that tries to scratch the same itch we were rubbing raw when we were in high school. I wanna hear the shit that makes me laugh, partly because I know it's bad for my ears. It's Louis, it's Burr, it's Joey Diaz if he could move fast enough to animate himself.
But It's not any of those guys, and it barely scratches that itch. That is to say, it barely scratched mine. It's the type of humor my best friend from childhood, Zach, would send me in the form of an IG reel. And the only reason it would have popped up on his feed is because he's joking about the things we shouldn't be laughing at anymore. It's closer to Theo Von and fucking Ryan Long. Shane Gillis and Tim Dillon, it's just the white guy who wants to say things that are actually problematic for fun, but he had to neuter his jokes big problematic balls in the process, and you can tell from his delivery, that he's a little salty about it. And that's what ruins it for me. But I'm a comedian just the same. I don't hold beliefs akin to what conservative lawmakers try to push. And I'm not on the same side as people who commit hate crimes and vote against the climate. I just like saying things that make them laugh sometimes because it also happens to be what makes me laugh. But nothing positive happens for Comedy by perpetuating this kind of material. Mostly because it's boring now. Y'know why? Because when a comedian wants to joke about politics, it's not funny to get up there and get defensive anymore.
Santino does get bonus points for not taking five minutes to speak out-right about this very subject like half of these other sad Netflix comics have devolved into doing every special. Instead, he makes a fairly well-thought-through comparison to what he wants to do for us as a comic. Rather than leaving a "mark" or a "legacy", he'd like to be a Cheeseburger. So that we may enjoy him while we have him, and then go do something else. Or something like that, I'm not rewatching the special just to get the line right. My question is: if you want something to just be enjoyed right now, and not be overly-complicated through retrospect, why make these long-winded "did I say something wrong?" jokes, and then tape it for netflix?