The first season of They Ready featured comedians Tiffany Haddish worked with in the trenches of the L.A. comedy scene, and vowed to bring them up behind her.
The second season of They Ready, filmed in the pandemic, offered shorter sets from more established comedians who were more than ready: Godfrey, Tony Woods, Barbara Carlyle, Erin Jackson, Kimberly Clark, and Dean Edwards.
That so many of the comedians did arrive with polished pandemic jokes is further testament to the quality of Haddish’s selections this season.
Sykes and Hurwitz had first spotlighted Jackson and Clark when they were running the 2014-15 revival of Last Comic Standing for NBC, and they both deserved this additional airtime.
It’s crazy to do the math and realize Edwards was a cast member on Saturday Night Live some 20 years ago. As Haddish says while introducing him to Netflix’s audience: “I feel like they didn’t allow him to really showcase his talent the way that I believe he should have.”
It’s even crazier to think of how long Woods and Carlyle have been in the game, and how many comedians they’ve mentored along the way, from Dave Chappelle all the way down. Carlyle says she’s been performing stand-up for 44 years. And in the “After Show” panel, both Woods and Carlyle describe their Def Comedy Jam credits from the early 1990s in retrospect as a stigma that kept them out of the mainstream white comedy clubs for too long. Edwards said it was only when those clubs saw how popular and profitable their weekly “urban” shows turned out to be on Sundays or Tuesdays that they began booking more Black stand-ups. Woods notes how bittersweet it is to get on Netflix now, two years after one of his children has died, and after spending the past year bonding more with his other kids.
Godfrey pointed out how they filmed this showcase on the same stage in Long Beach where the late great Richard Pryor filmed his 1979 concert film, and yet how not much had changed in what they could joke about with regard to Black rights in America.
Perhaps the best part, if not the funniest, comes near the end of the whole season, when Haddish asks each of the comedians who they’d bring up next, as Haddish has done with them. That allows Carlyle to shout out Mugga, Edwards to talk up Harris Stanton, Jackson to wish for Paris Sashay, Godfrey to highlight Marina Franklin and Ian Edwards, Clark to tip her cap to Hugh Moore and Lexie Grace, and Woods to holler at Greer Barnes and Rondell.
Paying it forward, sharing the spotlight, always great things.