Joe Pera's humor moves at a snail's pace, and that's what makes it work

Joe Pera

Joe Pera 'Joe Pera Talks with You'

Adult Swim’s Joe Pera Talks With You is a sleeper hit. The show has quickly -- and quietly -- been lauded as one of the best of 2018.

Every installment is an act in tranquility. Over the course of nine episodes Joe Pera, playing a fictionalized version of himself, takes viewers on a tour of his life in Marquette, Michigan, visiting his favorite breakfast spots and basking in the rich history and natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula. Pera’s character is affable and kind, placing high emphasis on the simple things that make everyday life worth living. It is a show based on the joy of discovery and the beauty that surrounds all of us.

While seemingly slow moving, Joe Pera Talks With You packs a surprising amount of substance. Each 11-minute episode focuses on Pera teaching his audience about a specific thing, whether it is how to dance at a wedding or how to fall back asleep. This quest for knowledge and attention to detail gives the show a wholesome, educational quality.

“I guess that’s a personal thing. I’m always interested in reading and learning about new things, going to see new things. One of the things that makes me happy is that the show boils down to things that I wanted to see on screen. It’s a combination of things that I wanted to read and write about, like Alberta, Canada’s rat program [in episode eight], so having an excuse to research that was fun for me.”

Now the comedian is on the road, touring with his fellow Joe Pera Talks With You creators and writers Jo Firestone, Conner O’Malley, and Dan Licata.

Much like his show, Pera’s standup slowly chugs along at a rate that seems far too slow to work, but instead gives each joke the space to breathe and gain life. “The pace is something that I have been doing since I’ve started standup,” he says. “It creates a negative space for jokes to land or not land or not do anything at all, which I think is sometimes difficult in comedy shows now.”

Joe’s attention to the little things is second to none. For example, in his Buffalo Bills standup bit, he mentions the dinner special at Kostas, a local Buffalo restaurant that only those from the area would even have a clue about. These minute tidbits are something Pera tries to use whenever he can.

“It’s about the details, and if you are moving at a slower pace, it’s easier to notice them,” he says. “Comedy is in specifics, and the details and nuances are quite important to things being funny to me. To ignore details would be kind of a silly thing especially in trying to create a TV show that feels real.”

Pera and his fellow comedians are at the Turf Club tonight. All four have extremely different styles onstage, and it was utilizing those voices that made the show so strong.

“I don’t know how we unified our voices onto the show, but we largely find the same things funny, even if we get at it in different ways,” he says. “It wasn’t hard because we all make each other laugh.”


The Blueberry Tour
7 p.m. Monday, August 13
21+; Turf Club