Review: Jenny Slate, “Stage Fright” on Netflix

Jenny Slate, like Gary Gulman before her, also put out a 2019 comedy special that included documentary footage following the comedian into retreat back into the home of his/her parents.

But Slate makes this hour her own. As I wrote for Decider last year:

For one thing, she’s always wanted the spotlight. She says so openly and repeatedly in the early minutes. First, in front of her two sisters (Jenny’s the middle sis), she says: “It’s very embarrassing! I have decided to make a film in our childhood home, which is my dream and everyone else’s nightmare.” Then, while sitting with her father, not thinking this is for the cameras necessarily, she confides: “You know what is funny about this? I’ll just say…is that, as a little girl, I probably didn’t know what documentaries were, but this is what I would like imagine, is that the movie comes to your house.” She and her dad laugh in recognition of the moment. “You know what I mean? The movie comes to your house. It just shows up one day and they just make a movie about you. I was always like hoping for it.”

Her stand-up material, recorded at the Gramercy Theatre, is equally self-aware and meta, exploring various ways in which stage fright manifests itself when all the world’s a stage, and when your life’s work and your dreams come back to haunt you. Sometimes in obvious cliche ways, such as societal pressures reinforced by show business toward women. As Slate says: “I am an actress, and I work in Hollywood, and everyone likes the women there to look long and lean, and have the physique of Timothee Chalamet. They want us to still super-wanna have their babies, but just not be supple!”

And sometimes she may have been quite literally haunted. As in, by ghosts! Later in the hour, Slate lets us in on some of the ghastly secrets lurking in her home, and her father recounts a tale that perhaps he shouldn’t have shared with his daughters at any age.

Read my full review on

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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