What's Worth Watching: 'Chris Tucker Live, 7 Days in Hell' and Bridget Everett For Friday July 10 and Saturday July 11
Chris Tucker Live (Friday, July 10, Netflix)
7 Days in Hell (Saturday, July 11, 10/9c, HBO)
Bridget Everett: Gynecological Wonder (Saturday, July 11, 12:30 am/11:30c, Comedy Central)
Maybe to help us forget there's no holiday this week, TV is going heavy on the laughs with a variety of stand-up and comedy specials. One in particular is like nothing, and no one, I've ever seen. In Comedy Central's raucous Bridget Everett: Gynecological Wonder, the zaftig Everett brings bawdy new meaning to dangerously "in your face" cabaret performance. Playing to a rapturously convulsed audience in the confined quarters of Joe's Pub in New York, the trash-talking diva flashes and flaunts her ample assets, including a tremendous set of pipes to match her unbridled exhibitionism. Her songs are outrageously explicit, with audience interaction so extreme you may be happier than usual to be watching from home (although her willing victims appear to enjoy themselves). Celebrity testimonials, many profane, from the likes of Ben Stiller (an executive producer), Sarah Jessica Parker, Alan Cumming, Zachary Quinto and John Slattery suggest Everett has found a following that, with this kind of exposure, is poised to break out to a much wider audience.
Whereas Chris Tucker is already a worldwide superstar, and his 90-minute Netflix special Chris Tucker Live—twice as long as Everett's heavily bleeped set—from the vast stage of Atlanta's plush Fox Theater is more conventionally endearing. His high-energy, mass-appeal act allows Tucker to embody a multitude of characters, many of them famous: Michael Jackson, Bill Clinton, Obama. But it's when he turns his focus on his own family members, including a ferocious churchgoing mama who explodes uproariously when little Chris innocently eats her breakfast, that Tucker's material comes most truly and hilariously alive.
The oddest novelty is HBO's 7 Days in Hell, an extended sports parody timed to exploit Wimbledon fever, starring Andy Samberg as American "bad boy" tennis star Aaron Williams (adopted as a "white sheep" of the famous tennis family) and Game of Thrones' Kit Harington as dim-bulb British prodigy Charles Poole. Their face-off in an epic 2001 Wimbledon match that stretches over seven days of bad weather and worse behavior occasions a goofy mockumentary with commentary from Serena Williams and a parade of all-star cameos including Chris Evert, HBO Sports' Jim Lampley, John McEnroe, David Copperfield, and (as various outlandish characters) Michael Sheen, Fred Armisen, Lena Dunham and a combative, bird-flipping Queen Elizabeth, played by June Squibb. By the time one observer declares, "This is just an exercise in stupidity now," you may well agree, although there are fleeting moments of inspired silliness in what could have been a classic SNL Digital Short.