Phat Tuesdays
Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Phat Tuesdays provides a great history lesson on a classic comedy club

Iconic director Reginald Hudlin gives viewers a history lesson in Amazon’s Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy. In the words of today’s biggest comedians including Chris Tucker, Steve Harvey, Tiffany Haddish and more, Phat Tuesdays tells the unbelievable and inspiring story of how one man, Guy Torry, moved mountains to launch an all-Black comedy night at The Comedy Store. What started as an experiment in 90’s Los Angeles, turned into a triumphant must-see experience by elevating Black voices to have their turn on the stage.

Episode 1 bares the title “Hood To Hollywood” and starts by giving us a background on West Hollywood’s world famous The Comedy Store. One of the immediate things that caught my eye in this episode was the background about the venue. I had no idea that former MTV VJ Pauly Shore’s parents were such an integral part of LA comedy. Over the course of the run time, we hear historical tidbits about how late legendary comics, such as Paul Mooney, and he became a force in comedy.

I knew a lot about Robin Harris previously, but it’s always great to see Robin and his talents highlighted. Over time, we get to know Joe Torry and his success that leads to a domino effect for his brother Guy, to make his own way into comedy. Hearing the Torry brother’s talk about hard work and avoiding the temptations that comes with early success was very inspiring.  Episode 1 concludes as Guy begins Phat Tuesday.

Episode 2 carries the title “This Is How We Do It” and gets deeper into the success of the club. There are numerous comics that show up in all of the episodes, and I don’t want to spoil it, but comic fans will surely crack a smile. Similar to the first episode, this episode should provide inspiration for many aspiring comics or even for anyone looking to open a business. One of my favorite moments of Episode 2 was hearing from those in the background who worked the club, such as the wait staff and the security guards.

The final Episode is titled “Who Got Next” and continues to showcase the iconic status of the club. In Episode 3 we learn how Phat Tuesday became a beacon for female comedians.  

Kudos to the female comics for not holding back in their description in some of their experiences in dealing with shady promoters or thirsty comics. We also get a chance to see legendary comedians break down what it takes to be funny. One of the most somber moments of Episode 3 is seeing Bob Saget, who recently passed away.  While I knew outside of his Full House days that Saget had an adult orientated stand up style, it was great to see him in archive footage working the crowd.

I’ve always been a fan of Guy Torry so it was great to see his part in late nineties comedy receiving highlights. Featuring a brisk pace, heartfelt stories and loads of trivia, Phat Tuesdays is highly recommended and worth a stream.

Final Grade: A

All episodes of Phat Tuesdays: The Era of Hip Hop Comedy are streaming on Amazon now.

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