Until now, Sam Jay had one of the great unheralded voices in stand-up comedy. Sure, she had a great gig writing for Saturday Night Live, but too many people couldn’t actually see or hear her comedic voice. Her Netflix debut hour will rectify that.
I compare Jay to the late great Patrice O’Neal in only the best ways, as if she figured out how to be a truth-teller onstage without burning any of her show business bridges. She’s also a bit like Dave Chappelle, without getting into hot water as he’s wont to do.
As I wrote in Decider:
In Chappelle’s recent slew of Netflix specials, he sometimes comes across as provocative just for the sake of provoking (see: any of his transgender jokes, perhaps, or his #MeToo criticisms, or especially his 2019 thoughts about Michael Jackson). Meanwhile, when Jay touches on the #MeToo movement or imagines her reactions to transgender women in specific situations, she’s clearly thought them through and sincere about her beliefs. She’s not trying to get a rise out of you or trolling the audience by mentioning how Aziz Ansari represented her inflection point about #MeToo, nor does she try to defend the comedian. There’s more points to be made, punchlines to land.
And Jay scores points throughout the hour, using a story about taking a trip with her longtime girlfriend to London as a frequent jumping-off point for tangents about gender roles, British colonialism and cultural theft, what the Trump presidency says about America, the specific feminism of white women, and societal pressures on both having kids and also trying to be good parents to them.