Whether you’re aware of it or not, this Saturday is a huge night for comedy, especially the discipline of it known as stand-up comedy. Two comedy giants in their own rights, Bill Cosby and Sarah Silverman, will be having long awaited televised comedy specials airing on Comedy Central and HBO, respectively, back to back.
Not only are two hour-plus comedy specials airing on the same night, but, if you so choose, you can travel a veritable timeline and spectrum of humor.
On the one hand, you have Bill Cosby with his first stand-up special in over 30 years in Far From Finished taped in Cosby’s typical show setting for the last several years (here’s a preview), a sizable performing arts center located in the L.A. County suburbs. Despite what people, critics, comedy fans, etc. have said about Dave Chappelle or Chris Rock or Louis C.K. over the last couple of decades, Cosby has been and still is held in a regard somehow higher than all of them. His shows often go over two hours, which less than a handful comedians could pull off, much less be as hysterical and memorable (as well as tour most of the year doing that). Cosby’s performance in Far From Finished proves the title, as he showcases one of these storied shows. Sure, it’s “just” stories of relationships — specifically, marriage and kids — but Cosby does that so well that it shouldn’t bother anyone that he isn’t treading into new territory, material-wise.
Far From Finished is simply another great Bill Cosby special.
On the other hand, you have Sarah Silverman doing, surprisingly, her first televised comedy special. I checked several times online to make sure of that, because Silverman has been such a figure as a stand-up for a good while now, it should seem that she would have some TV hour comedy specials under her belt. As it turns out, We Are Miracles (here’s a preview) will be her first televised comedy special and her first special since the concert film Sarah Silverman: Jesus Is Magic in 2005. After so many TV appearances, her own TV show, the movie, etc., perhaps this all worked out in her favor, as Silverman has done this special pretty much on her terms. I personally love her decision, despite her own worries about it, to tape We Are Miracles in a room that sits 50 people — and even less when there’s a film crew in the room — since an intimate setting is how stand-up is supposed to be watched. Silverman has also become sort of a symbol to women in entertainment, in addition to being a comedian set on her own path, as shown by The Sarah Silverman Program and her involvement in online comedy network JASH.
So, this special is a milestone, not only for Silverman, but for comedy, women in entertainment, and artists seeking to “make it” on their own.
The most surprising part of this night might be that in 2013, there are plenty of people that can not only appreciate both specials from Cosby and Silverman, but be genuine fans of both. The distinctions of comedy being clean versus “working blue” are largely disappearing, thanks to the Internet and people sharpening their comedic taste by consuming as much comedy as they possibly can. Podcasts, YouTube, Twitter, and more are deciding factors of someone being a fan of a comedian for just being funny, regardless of anything else.
This Saturday, Bill Cosby’s Far From Finished premieres on Comedy Central at 8p ET and Sarah Silverman’s We Are Miracles premieres on HBO at 10p ET, so, now that you know this, please don’t miss out on a historic evening of comedy.