Anthony Jeselnik.

“Gallows Humor Is What I’m All About”: Anthony Jeselnik Performs At Netflix Is A Joke Fest

At this year’s Netflix Is A Joke Festival, comedy fans were treated to a variety of different types of shows, including special one-off shows you’ll never see anywhere else. But there are also traditional comedians doing theater tours as well. The latter is what audiences were treated to when Anthony Jeselnik brought his gallows humor to the fest.

Gallows humor is exactly what he himself called his brand of comedy Friday night. The comedian - who rose to fame due in part to his role in the Comedy Central Roasts - has mastered the art of saying the unexpected onstage. You’ll never know quite what direction he’ll be going in with a bit. The only sure thing is that you won’t see it coming.

Recapping Anthony Jeselnik's tight performance at Netflix Is A Joke Fest.

He starts his set off with that similar theme, talking about how an audience member seemed a joke he told the weekend before to be problematic. That joke was one that he had closed his show with, so he vowed to stop closing with it. Instead, he decided to open with it. Nothing quite like telling the audience what they’re in for right off the bat. But that method actually has some merit. If you’re with him at that point, you’re in for a wild and fun ride.

Some of what Jeselnik talked about onstage included politics, redecorating his place, telling jokes in the south, porn addiction, having a day job 15 years ago, and the time that Kanye West attended one of his shows. The latter involved talking about how West later praised a Jeselnik bit during the same podcast that got West canceled.

Speaking of being canceled, Jeselnik takes a long pause at one point, ramping up to talk about that subject. He says, “I’m against cancel culture.” Beat, before adding, “That’s my impression of a shit comic trying to get on Rogan.” He then segues into talking about why he’s so sick of comedians complaining about cancel culture, and then the time he told a joke to Mike Tyson that he was told not to tell on a roast.

To close things out, Jeselnik decided to end with a clear crowd favorite. It should come as little surprise that Norm Macdonald was an influence on Jeselnik, nor should it surprise anyone that Jeselnik’s crowd is comprised of a lot of Norm worshippers. There are some clear similarities between the two styles, which Jeselnik details in his closing story.

When Jeselnik was asked to host Last Comic Standing, he initially said no. When they told him Norm was a judge, he didn’t hesitate in saying yes. For the first few episodes, they didn’t get along. Then, they went on Larry King Live!, and Norm suggested that they start a bitter feud just for fun on the show. So Jeselnik goes out and talks about how much he doesn’t like Norm. Then it was Norm’s turn. When asked about Jeselnik, the late comedian said, “Larry, he’s one of the greats.” A prank on the audience and King was instead turned on Jeselnik.

Jeselnik’s set was a tight 48 minutes, but given the nature of his material, you left feeling like you got your money’s worth. In an age where it feels like comedy isn’t as dark as it used to be, we can take comfort in knowing that Jeselnik is there, keeping the light on.

RELATED: Purchase Anthony Jeselnik's comedy album, Fire In The Maternity Ward, on CD & digital on 800 Pound Gorilla!

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