The premise of Neal Brennan’s new stand-up special 3 Mics seems like a crutch on a cursory glance. The Chappelle’s Show co-creator and writer alternates between three well-placed microphones to dole out one-liners, offer “traditional” observational humor and drop hard-earned truths about chronic depression and difficult family relationships. The natural question of “Why all the artifice?” naturally arises.
But what seems like a distraction in Brennan’s new Netflix special, out Tuesday, Jan. 17, is actually an artful construct. By switching between these microphones and comedy stylings, he’s giving the audience a respite. Even in the clip above, Brennan moves between jokes about his depression, doing cocaine to cure childhood illnesses and sloughing off Catholicism after 12th grade—those transitions work so well because of the former Broadway show’s central conceit.
As mentioned above and previously detailed by Paste, 3 Mics debuts on Netflix on Jan. 17. Watch the trailer above, and check out the special’s key art below.