How can one do comedy of manners in a time of maximum cynicism and concern for the return of fascism?
Can we still squeeze some life from the war of the sexes after the explosion of platforms and videos that have milked that cow to exhaustion? The answers are a categorical ‘yes’ and ‘yes’… that is, if you happen to be called Seth Meyers. The New York comedian recently released a new comedy special on Netflix, titled Lobby Baby, where he manages to put some fresh spin on the eternal theme of relationships and touch on politics too… without actually touching on it. A veteran from the Saturday Night Live school of hard knocks, Meyers was the writer and, above all, host of the Weekend Update Thursday section, the satirical news show that delivered a delusional review of the week’s news. Leaving the show in 2014 to host a late night show, Late Night with Seth Myers, and therefore, saving himself from all the Trumpian madness.
Now, the comedian shoulders the shared responsibility, with Obama, of having pushed the tangerine toddler to make the decision to run for president of the United States. The story goes back to an edition of the 2011 traditional White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner where both the incumbent president and the (im)pertinent comedian roasted Trump poking fun at him directly from the stage. The rematch would take place five years later. In this special, the waiver concerning political comedy is relative. Halfway through the show, Meyers mentions that it’s being recorded for Netflix and that they’ve agreed to try something experimental; jokes about Trump. Actually, it’s a segment several minutes long and comes in handy for Myers to engage in some good-humored trolling of anyone silly enough to have been tempted to hit the ‘skip section’ button.
But the lion’s share of the show is based on his marital relationship and also on the unique birth of his second baby was born in the lobby of his apartment building in New York. The funniest part is the chronicle of the abysmal differences between the comedian, who has an inherent tendency to chaos, and a woman who tries to preserve the order of the cosmos or, at least, the universe of her home. Meyers bravely gifts his wife a section by playing her, using the opportunity of the last ten minutes of the set to perform as Alexi, his wife, giving us a fresh take on self-depreciation and picking apart all his own ineptitudes, the eternal void between men and women with clichés undeniably taken from real life that ensure the material of comedy specials for years to come.