Netflix Is a Joke Festival: 31 acts to see around Los Angeles
Showcase: London Hughes
British comedian London Hughes rose to fame at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by telling his romantic anecdotes and sexual adventures, as well as those of his mother and grandmother. She reprized her number in her first stand-up special, “To Catch a D—,” produced by Kevin Hart, and also appeared on Netflix’s “The History of Swear Words” and weekly after-show “The Netflix Afterparty”. On stage, she is aptly called “the new woman Richard Pryor” due to the remarkable physique she puts on to deliver a joke. Off the stage, she is developing films: a Will Packer feature that is loosely based on her life and a Tim Story comedy about a modern woman who is transported to 19th century England.
London Hughes performs at 7 p.m. at Dynasty Typewriter at Hayworth, 2511 Wilshire Blvd.
Spotlight: Justin Willman: “Magic for Humans” himself
Magical acts don’t often make the audience gasp, laugh and cry, but throughout its three seasons on Netflix, “Magic for Humans” has delivered equal parts unnerving sleight of hand and genuine emotion. Now Justin Willman is bringing his humorous and heartfelt series of street magic to the Ace Hotel Theater.
How did you come to magic?
I was 12 years old. I was cycling while wearing rollerblades, because I was trying to look cool and do something unique. Then I fell and broke both my arms, which made me very unique. My doctor happened to notice that I loved when this magician came to town and encouraged me to do card tricks as a form of physical therapy. And I’ve been doing that ever since – although, I’ll say, my left arm could still use a little better rotation.
I love spreading the love of magic, even as an amateur, and breaking down what people think a magic show is. For example, it’s not always done by someone on stage in a tuxedo or an evening dress. It can appear when you least expect it. But above all, I love the idea of making magic as everyday as possible, and the subtle message behind trying to capture that in the show is to remind you that there’s magic all around us. , even when we go to work, do the laundry, live our lives on autopilot.
The show has a recurring segment where you play for people specifically named Susan (including Susan Sarandon). How do you identify them?
Sometimes they have a look: wear a fanny pack and a handbag and a backpack, write a check at the grocery store… . [Laughs.] We may have found one or two naturally on the street. But once I realized there was something special about the Susans, I don’t know what it was, we were then desperate for Susans, and Craigslist was the way to go. “Is your name Suzanne? Want to earn 40 bucks and get a free lunch? Meet us at Echo Park. Down the sidewalk, we’ll have a few Susans on the bridge. Someone checks their IDs to make sure they’re all legitimate; sometimes they are called Sue but, in their heart, they are really Suzannes.
My favorite episodes include appearances from family members, like your son Jackson. Does he understand what you do for a living?
He saw me play when he was 1.5 years old, so that doesn’t count. He’s 3 now, and I think he understands what magic is and that it’s also what dad does for work and not just during playtime at home. I think he’s coming to the LA show. We’re going to extend his bedtime a bit.
A remarkable episode involved your late mother, who was battling Alzheimer’s disease. Were you nervous about sharing this part of your life on screen?
When putting on a show about highlighting life’s funny and magical moments, it makes sense to make it as authentic as possible. At that time, what weighed on my head and heart every day was this struggle with Alzheimer’s disease, something that you don’t tend to naturally bring up when talking to people because you don’t want to bother them, but you end up feeling so alone. When I started talking about it more, people I knew started telling me they were going through the same thing, and I had no idea.
I’m so glad I did this track, just to have this little time capsule. There was a chance it didn’t fit the tone of the show, and I’m glad it resonated with people. There is real healing power in just recognizing that there is something that makes people feel seen and heard. And if anything, it’s a reminder to live in the moment, to hug and kiss, and say the things you want to say to the people in your life while you can.
Are you going to make people cry at your LA gig?
That’s never my goal! I want people to feel things, especially laughter and amazement. But like the show, the show’s climax might hit you emotionally.
Justin Willman performs at 7 p.m. at the Ace Hotel Theater, 929 S. Broadway
One-Liner: ‘Snoop Dogg’s F—Around Comedy Special’
Snoop Dogg hosts the recording of two shows with Katt Williams, Mike Epps and Sommore in tow.
Snoop Dogg performs at 7 and 9:45 p.m. at the Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd.