Now that venues like comedy clubs, theaters, and friends’ basements are closed down for the foreseeable future, many of us have improv-shaped holes in our hearts. It’s a rare treat to see great improv that clicks, outside of a live venue. Sure, some of the dialogue on Curb Your Enthusiasm is improvised, and Whose Line Is It Anyway? YouTube compilations scratch the short-form-game itch, but it’s not the same, man.
Enter Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz, who are taking their two-man live improv tour Middleditch & Schwartz and turning it into not one, not two, but three separate Netflix comedy specials. You may know Middleditch from Silicon Valley, but did you know the guy’s such a good improviser, he can riff sonnets? And you might be familiar with Schwartz from Parks and Recreation, but did you know the guy’s such a good improviser, he can riff Sonic? Their three specials, filmed at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, will take you from the JFK airport bathroom to a Narnia-ish law school, in scenes based entirely on random audience suggestions. The trailer gives us just a glimpse, but it looks like a perfect blend of goofy and brilliant. Middleditch and Schwartz told Vulture, “After a decade of performing together, we are beyond excited to premiere these specials on Netflix and help shine the spotlight on long-form improv.” All three specials — titled Dream Job, Law School Magic, and Parking Lot Wedding — will be released on Netflix April 21. And scene.