REVIEW: ‘Middleditch and Schwartz’ is a Comedic Delight

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Title of Middleditch and Schwartz

Middleditch and Schwartz is a brand new Netflix original comedy with a twist – everything is completely improvised. Starring Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz, each episode of this live three-part comedy special takes audience suggestions, based off their real life hopes and fears, and transforms them into an hour-long improvised sketch. The result is three hours of absolutely hilarious improv that immediately left me craving more.

Since the plot of Middleditch and Schwartz revolves around audience interactions at the beginning of each episode, no two episodes are alike. That said, once a story is established, each one becomes as wild as you could possibly imagine. For example, one episode recounts the tale of a wedding, officiated by a ghost and interrupted by an angry man named Short Paul, while another is a hysterical account of a group of law students discovering an alien in their classroom’s closet.

The success of these improvised sketches lies entirely in the chemistry between Middleditch and Schwartz as friends and actors. It’s clear from how they interact, both prior to and throughout the show, that the two share an undeniable bond and understanding of each other as comedians and improv as a performance art.

As a result, watching Middleditch and Schwartz is an intimate comedic experience. Even though it’s a recorded performance to a large audience, it feels personal and as if you’re right there in the front row, experiencing these two actors come up with ridiculous plot lines and making each other laugh in real time. It really does make you laugh too – Middleditch and Schwartz is one of the rare comedy specials that had me laughing out loud at full volume throughout the entire show.

Middleditch and Schwartz during one of their sketches

This up close and personal feeling would not have been possible without the brilliant production and camerawork, either. Everything about the show’s appearance feels smooth and well-executed, focusing on Middleditch or Schwartz when needed without letting you forget that it is a live performance with a very real audience in front of them.

Of course, not everything about the show is 100% perfect. Since it is improv, there are some awkward moments and the sketches do take some time to get going before the hilarity really kicks in. There were a couple of times, especially toward the beginning of the episodes, that I found myself anxiously waiting for it to pick up just a little bit. That said, once Middleditch and Schwartz find themselves on the same wavelength and a direction to take their prompt in, each quickly becomes one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

All in all, Middleditch and Schwartz is a delightful comedic experience with an incredibly unique format for a TV special. Everything about the show’s execution, from camerawork to the bizarre audience interactions and Middleditch and Schwartz’s interpretation of the scene, is an amazing experience that left me with a smile on my face throughout all three episodes. In fact, the moment it ended, I was already itching for a second season. While it does have its awkward moments, they’re no more frequent than would be expected at an improvised comedy show, in which the two actors have to figure out the situation, their characters, and adapt to the other’s actions with no prior planning. Middleditch and Schwartz is one of the funniest bits of acting I’ve seen on television in a long time and I absolutely cannot recommend it enough.

Middleditch and Schwartz is available now, exclusively on Netflix.

Middleditch and Schwartz
  • 9/10
    Rating - 9/10
9/10

TL;DR

Middleditch and Schwartz is a delightful comedic experience with an incredibly unique format for a TV special. Everything about the show’s execution, from camerawork to the bizarre audience interactions and Middleditch and Schwartz’s interpretation of the scene, is an amazing experience that left me with a smile on my face throughout all three episodes.