This Week’s Top 5 TV Picks


There are scores of TV shows out there, with dozens of new episodes each week, not to mention everything you can find on Hulu Plus, Netflix streaming, and HBO Go. How’s a viewer to keep up? To help you sort through all that television has to offer, Flavorwire is compiling five best bets for the coming week. This week: Comedy gets political (and very strange), and the 2016 Olympic games kick off with a dazzling spectacle in Rio tonight.

Now: David Cross Making America Great Again!

If you only know David Cross as Arrested Development‘s resident Never Nude, or one half of the cult favorite mid-’90s sketch program Mr. Show, his new Netflix stand-up special, David Cross Making America Great Again!, might surprise you. This nutty election season has provided plenty of fodder for comedians, and Cross toured this gleefully profane, irreverent standup show throughout the country months before Trump became the official Republican presidential nominee. But the material is even more relevant and cutting now. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Cross expressed regret that the show was taped in April, when the thought of Trump as nominee was more comedy than horror. But the special, available on Netflix today, is still trenchant in its diagnosis of Trump as “America’s id.”

Tonight: Olympics Opening Ceremony

You won’t be able to watch the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Rio Olympics live — NBC is delaying the event by an hour, seemingly to “give context” to the show, whatever that means, but most likely to situate the ceremonies smack dab in the middle of prime time. Directed by Brazilian filmmaker Fernando Meirelles — best known for his 2002 Rio-set film City of God — the spectacle this year has a lower budget than that of the previous two opening ceremonies in Beijing and London. Still, you can expect plenty of fireworks, samba dancing, an artistic acknowledgment of the subjugation of Brazilian’s indigenous population by the Portuguese, Gisele Bundchen, and 12-year-old rapper Soffia Corrêa, a.k.a. MC Soffia. The show is expected to last around four hours, so plan your snacking approach accordingly.

Wednesday: Black And White

“Sit back and get uncomfortable,” says Sherrod Small in the first episode of Black And White, a new A&E talk show hosted by comedians Small (who is black) and Christian Finnegan (who is white). Each episode, taped in front of a live studio audience and featuring different guests, has a theme: The first installment focused on racial profiling; the second on racism in Hollywood; and Wednesday’s episode will tackle race and politics. If this all sounds a bit heavy for a comedy talk show, don’t worry — Small and Finnegan are excellent guides, diving headlong into touchy subject matter with a sense of curiosity and good humor. And if that endorsement isn’t enough to command your attention, how’s this: Ann Coulter is one of this week’s guests.

Thursday: Take My Wife

This new series from NBC’s streaming service Seeso is based on real-life couple Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher’s lives as standup comics who host a showcase in L.A. Newlyweds Butcher and Esposito play versions of themselves: Lesbian comedians navigating the dude-bro-dominated comedy industry. As you can see from the above screenshot, they are quite the adorable couple, but they also have great chemistry as a comedy duo. Check out all six episodes of Take My Wife on Thursday.

Now: The Amazing Gayl Pile

If you’re looking to add a dose of insanity to your regular comedy programming, look no further than The Amazing Gayl Pile, a Canadian web series that was recently picked up by Seeso. The series stars Morgan Waters as the title character, host of the fictional Shop at Home Channel, who begins to lose his already loose grip on reality when a new host, the rugged, Australian J.D. Castlemane (Andy King) swaggers onto the set. All three seasons of this delightfully deranged series — featuring guest appearances by Jon Daly, Paul Scheer, June Diane Raphael, Rich Fulcher, Jack McBrayer, and Jon Hamm as the voice of Gayl’s new high-tech “smart” condo — are now available.