The axe fell on two of Netflix’s newest comedy shows over the weekend, as The Break with Michelle Wolf and The Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale were both cancelled on Friday. Both shows premiered earlier in 2018 on a weekly schedule, which is unusual for Netflix. McHale’s show received a six-episode second season order which premiered in July, and which went with Netflix’s standard one-day binge release, but apparently that didn’t help drive more viewers to the show. Although Netflix doesn’t release official viewership stats, sources tell Deadline that both shows suffered from low viewership totals, which isn’t really a surprise, since, well, that’s why TV shows get cancelled.
The Joel McHale Show was basically McHale’s long-running E! comedy series The Soup in all but name only. It had the same format of McHale making wiseacre comments about weird or embarrassing TV clips (mostly from reality TV), with the same problem where McHale’s jokes were never remotely as funny or entertaining as the clips themselves. Soup fans will probably miss this revival, but there clearly aren’t a lot of those around anymore.
The Break with Michelle Wolf is a genuine loss, however. Launching a month after Wolf’s scathingly hilarious performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner, The Break saw the former Daily Show comedian host a show that stood out from the current glut of comedy current affairs shows. Wolf’s political comedy can be disarmingly cutting, pulling no punches against its targets, and The Break was no exception. The Break could get downright scabrous, which set it apart from the less pointed current version of The Daily Show and the wonkier Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. It was the best of those shows during its short ten episode life, and it’s a shame it didn’t get more of a chance.
This doesn’t exactly bode well for Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj, another half-hour political comedy show from a former Daily Show correspondent that’s arriving on Netflix in October. Of course the streaming service has already ordered 32 entire episodes of that show, which is more than Wolf and McHale got combined, so it’ll wind up getting more slack than either of those shows.