Anthony Jeselnik is back, and he’s as unapologetic as ever in his new Netflix stand-up special, “Thoughts and Prayers”. The special marks Jeselnik’s first televised stand-up show since the end of his Comedy Central series, “The Jeselnik Offensive.”
Anthony Jeselnik is very much a comedian you have to either love or hate (or of course, just have never heard of). His jokes are meant to challenge the audience to laugh at some of the most despicable (yet somehow hilarious) punchlines imaginable.
In his special, he does just that to his San Francisco audience, inciting mostly laughter but also a fair amount of groans. His jokes focused strongly on children, and awful things happening to said children, with other jokes being aimed at his family and various audience members. It was a lot of what you would expect from Jeselnik: jokes that are well-constructed, funny, and awful enough to make you feel bad for laughing.
At about the half-hour mark, timed well with the point at which the barrage of black comedy one-liners starts to feel stale, Jeselnik switches up the tempo and begins talking about the concept of doing black comedy, why he does it, and how he handles the consequences. He goes into a seemingly passionate monologue about how he received death threats following his jokes surrounding a New Zealander’s death at the hands of a shark, and how they then began threatening his relatives. True to his form, however, he reveals the entire thing as having been a long set-up to another terribly awesome punchline.
If you don’t like Jeselnik’s schtick, this special probably won’t do anything to change your view. If you’re a fan, however, the special makes for an entertaining and hilarious experience.