Danny Jolles may not be a familiar face for everyone—you possibly know the comedian from his stints as George on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend or Jacob on Ramy—but nonetheless strangers feel comfortable addressing him because of his welcoming visage. The actor opens up his first comedy special Six Parts with tidbits about how people on the street are oddly okay with approaching him (often aggressively, to his chagrin). It’s true that his genial presence puts you at ease; viewers at home can see how relaxed yet still engaged the crowds are.
Yep, crowds. Six Parts lives up to its name in that it was filmed at half a dozen locations on different nights (pre-COVID, naturally): a surf shop, a barbershop, a recording studio, a gym, an art gallery and a comedy club. Each setting is paired with a different topic, like “love” or “unpopular opinions”—nothing particularly groundbreaking, but hell, we just want something to laugh at. The segmented set is refreshing for anyone whose attention span has been ravaged by the past 12 months. It’s slightly unconventional and keeps viewers’ attention, but isn’t so distracting or gimmicky that it takes away from Jolles’ actual bits, which are very, very good in and of themselves. (Easter egg: keep an ear out for a few ADR’ed bits covering swearing or updating the year to 2021.)
Jolles comes across as a relatable logician, the straight man who looks at the world from a slightly skewed angle, but nonetheless with a rhyme and reason behind his takes. He quickly builds a strong rapport with his various audiences, calling them out if they’re not buying into his bit or appealing to them on certain topics. Jolles’ confidence and ease onstage shines through in these moments; he’s not sucking up to the audience, hoping that they’ll give him meager bits of applause. He knows his act is good, which allows him to steer the set adeptly through potentially rocky waters. He comes across as a seasoned performer with hilarious jokes that don’t necessarily always surprise you, but are bound to keep you laughing.
Besides the special’s unusual structure, most of Jolles’ act feels familiar in the best way possible. The entirety of Six Parts feels a bit like catching up with a friend-of-a-friend who you only ever see at parties, but always enjoy hanging out with. He’s genuinely just a likeable, funny dude, and that’s more than enough to make this set worth tuning in for (especially when it’s available for free on YouTube, or you can send some bucks his way by renting it on Amazon Prime).
Clare Martin is a cemetery enthusiast, hibernophile and contributing writer for Paste’s music and comedy sections. She also exercises her love for reality TV at HelloGiggles every now and then. Go harass her on Twitter @theclaremartin.