Standing Up is worth the time, even if to at least appreciate a problematic form of performing art.
This review of Netflix’s Standing Up season 1 does not contain spoilers.
I admire stand-up comedians. It must be one of the most mentally challenging jobs in the world. While some may scoff at that notion, I’d encourage those to envision writing fresh material all the time and having to test it on different crowds. Making people laugh is an underrated art form, but doing it in front of an audience must be torture if the room is not sold on you. It must be exhilarating if the jokes pull off. What an incredulous mental challenge stand-up comedians have to go through.
Netflix’s Standing Up shines a torch for those at the bottom of the food chain trying to make their way up in comedy. There’s an upbeat appreciation for the art and the grind that comes with it. Following three amateur stand-ups (Bling, Aissa, and Nezir), Standing Up articulates life at a comedy club while making ends meet.
While a dramedy, there feels like many truths in Standing Up. How a crowd can quickly turn on you, how it’s challenging to maintain a living, and how personal lives can be frustratingly complex. Even success in this world brings complications, as the Netflix series portrays.
But this is not a goofy drama that verges on the silly. There’s an attempt at realism as the characters attempt to voyage through their personal and professional lives. The grit and grind in attempting to “make it” resonates through brilliant performances from the cast. There’s this idea of a pursuit of happiness that shines through the story’s bare bones. There’s a lot to learn in Standing Up, about principles and the importance of working hard.
At six chapters, you’ll be delighted at how easy going the Netflix series is. The cast has gelled well, giving natural chemistry that sparks off the screen. This is by no means a perfect story, but it has a charm. Standing Up is worth the time, even if to at least appreciate a problematic form of performing art.
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