The Washington Post

Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani crafted ‘The Meltdown’ from their live show


Jonah Ray, left, and Kumail Nanjiani created “The Meltdown” from their comedy routine. (Jesse Grant)

 

Comedy Central’s “The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail” isn’t just a TV show. It’s a backstage pass to one of Los Angeles’ most popular comedy shows. Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley”) created “The Meltdown” (12:30 a.m. Wednesdays) by doing just what they’ve been doing each week for four years: hosting a loose, experimental stand-up showcase in the back of a comic book shop.

For the most part, TV’s “Meltdown” is a shortened version of the live show: Ray and Nanjiani tell jokes and talk to the audience, followed by short stand-up sets.

What makes the TV show different is that cameras follow the action backstage as the comics hang out, talk shop and plan their sets.

In the premiere, Moshe Kasher does a bit where a plant in the audience heckles him into miming like a clown. It’s a bizarre piece of performance art, but, in the context of “The Meltdown,” it works. When he’s done, a camera follows Kasher off-stage, where he’s greeted by the show’s producer, Nanjiani’s wife Emily Gordon. 

“That was everything I hoped it would be and more,” Gordon says. 

She might as well have been talking about the show itself. 

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Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.

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