×

TV Review: ‘Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!’

Comedy Central series - billed as its 'first drama' - documents comic's public meltdown

With:

Featuring: Brody Stevens, Zach Galifianakis

How can you tell when a comedian who tries to be dark and edgy is going crazy? That’s the question posed by “Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!,” an unexpectedly thought-provoking series that Comedy Central is billing as its “first drama.” Not exactly, but the show does a credible job – through video and extensive interviews with the comic and his pals, who include exec producer Zach Galifianakis – of capturing Stevens’ on-the-fringes act and spectacular Twitter meltdown, eventually prompting his concerned friends to intervene. Whatever the future holds for Stevens, this look at his past goes beyond just the tears of a clown.

“I think a lot of comics are wired differently,” Galifianakis suggests in a direct-to-camera interview, capturing some of the difficulties friends and fellow comics faced in recognizing whether Stevens was genuinely in trouble or, as some perceived it, merely engaged in some brilliantly elaborate version of performance art.

Beginning slowly, Stevens is shown onstage and in various movie cameos, introducing him as someone with an established career and wide swath of comedy pals, if not exactly a household name. Yet his eccentricities bleed into his personal life, including a lengthy estrangement from his sister and an awkward attempt at reconciliation as what amounts to an 80th birthday present for their mother.

Expanded to 12 episodes from an earlier HBO Digital series, it’s not till near the end of the opening half-hour (wisely, two episodes are airing back to back) that the show gets into the meat of the story: How Stevens went off his antidepressants and unleashed a nonstop string of commentary via Twitter, which quickly grew darker and more disturbing. After referencing having a gun, friends eventually had him committed to the UCLA psychiatric ward, which didn’t stop Stevens from continuing to rail against them and rant via rather ingenious means.

Granted, there’s something perversely meta about Stevens, Galifianakis and Generate’s Dave Rath serving as exec producers on this program, in which they play ongoing roles, as well as what viewers are to make of Stevens’ present condition. In that respect, the show doesn’t hide behind the legitimacy of public service quite so much as it simply provide a blunt look at one particularly tortured mind, letting viewers connect the dots as they see fit.

Time will tell, ultimately, whether dissecting Stevens on TV is the best therapy for what ailed him. But while watching the show isn’t particularly enjoyable, once drawn into Stevens’ story, it’s also difficult to turn away.

TV Review: 'Brody Stevens: Enjoy It!'

(Series; Comedy Central, Sun. Dec. 1, 12 a.m.)

Production:

Produced by Billios, Run and Gun Prods. and Funny or Die Network.

Crew:

Executive producers, Brody Stevens, Zach Galifianakis, Mike Gibbons, Dave Rath; producers, Jim Ziegler, Michelle Fox; director, Dean Fleisher-Camp. 30 MIN.

Cast:

Featuring: Brody Stevens, Zach Galifianakis

More TV

  • Donald Trump

    HBO Fires Back at Trump's 'Game of Thrones'-Inspired 'No Collusion' Tweet

    HBO is firing back at President Donald Trump after he sent another “Game of Thrones”-inspired tweet in response to the release of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation. “Though we can understand the enthusiasm for ‘Game of Thrones’ now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer [...]

  • Joel Edgerton Headshot

    Joel Edgerton Joins Barry Jenkins' 'Underground Railroad' Amazon Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Joel Edgerton has signed on for a role in the Barry Jenkins’ Amazon series “The Underground Railroad,” Variety has learned exclusively. Edgerton will play the part of Ridgeway, a slavecatcher. He joins previously announced cast members Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon, and Aaron Pierre. The role will mark Edgerton’s first regular TV role in some time. [...]

  • LAST MAN STANDING: 150'th Episode: L-R:

    'Last Man Standing' Renewed at Fox

    “Last Man Standing” has been renewed at Fox, Variety has learned. This is the second season of the family multicamera comedy that will air on Fox, but the eighth season overall. (Its first six years were on ABC before the Alphabet canceled the series. Fox picked it up a year later.) “‘Last Man Standing’ roared [...]

  • Lauren Corrao

    Freeform Taps Lauren Corrao to Replace Karey Burke as Original Programming Head

    Lauren Corrao has been named executive vice president of original programming and development for Freeform. Corrao takes over the role from Karey Burke, who was named the head of ABC Entertainment in November following the departure of Channing Dungey. Corrao will report directly to Freeform president Tom Ascheim. In her new position, Corrao will oversee [...]

  • Allison Mack Sex Cult

    HBO in Production on NXIVM Sex Cult Documentary Series

    HBO Documentary Films is currently in production on a documentary series exploring the NXIVM sex cult case, which implicated former “Smallville” actress Allison Mack among others. The series, which is to be directed by “The Square” and “Control Room” helmers Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, will follow a range of people who joined the NXIVM [...]

  • Barry Killing Eve Pose

    'Barry,' 'Killing Eve,' 'Pose' Among 2019 Peabody Winners (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Americans,” “Barry,” “The End of the F***ing World,” “The Good Place,” “Hannah Gadsby: Nanette,” “Killing Eve,” “Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj,” “Pose” and “Random Acts of Flyness” have been named the entertainment winners at this year’s Peabody Awards, Variety has learned exclusively. Additionally, “Sesame Street” has been named the winner of the Institutional Award [...]

  • Les Miserables BBC

    BBC's 'Les Miserables' Recreates the Dark World of Victor Hugo's Novel

    Director Tom Shankland didn’t want his “Les Miserables” to be anything like the stage-musical version of Victor Hugo’s sweeping historical novel, nor like the 2012 Tom Hooper feature-film musical.  For the BBC limited series — a drama starring Olivia Colman, Lily Collins, David Oyelowo and Dominic West, which aired the first of its six episodes in [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content