The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail is hands down my favorite show on television. It’s a show with no fictional or formulaic plot, but is a series that films a live comedy show as it’s occurring, both on stage and behind the scenes. As someone whose main access to comedy is through online content, it’s incredibly satisfying to be able to witness what a comedy show is like, especially one that features so many people that I’m a fan of. The Meltdown show is held in the back of a comic book store in Los Angeles, California, and the LA scene is the one I’m most familiar with, so I’m legitimately thrilled to watch each episode as I recognize most of the people on the set list. Getting to see what occurs behind the scenes is also incredibly interesting to watch, as you get to see the comics interact before and after they go on stage. You see people joking back and forth, getting pre-show nerves, talking shop, and generally hanging out together as friends. I get a strange mix of immense joy and intense FOMO when I watch it, but that’s only because I love these people so much and would want to be backstage laughing and having fun along with them. But even if you’re not a hardcore comedy fan like me, ‘The Meltdown’ is a hilarious show that provides a fascinating look into the world of comedy, and is guaranteed to make you smile, and most importantly, laugh.
Jonah Ray and Kumail Nanjiani are the hosts of ‘The Meltdown,’ and they open up the show with a planned theme for them to talk about, but none of it is scripted, so it is all improvised and organic. Various topics have consisted of wedding stories, horrible New Years experiences, and Kumail’s complete lack of music knowledge; they incorporate a lot of crowd work as well, so those closest to the stage are usually involved in the comedic conversation. One particularly funny audience member interaction was when Kumail and Jonah realized that there was a 12 year old in the audience, as there is not an age limit for the show, and their horrified reactions are priceless. After they warm up the crowd, the rest of the comedians do their sets, with the set list making up of about four or five comedians. Jonah and Kumail’s dynamic comes off as familiar and slightly mocking, as they’ve been friends and co-workers for years and aren’t afraid to make fun of each other for a laugh. However, the comradery between them is genuine, and their friendship makes the show seem even more like a labor of love.
Emily Gordon, who I absolutely love and admire, is the shows producer who not only runs a comedy show, but is a freelance writer, a novelist, and is currently filming a movie with Kumail (who also happens to be her husband), so she’s pretty much a superwoman (her book is called Super You, so it’s an apt metaphor). She used to be a marriage and family therapist before she became a writer, so she is very competent at handling the various personalities that she encounters day to day as a comedy show runner. She’s enthusiastic, patient, empathetic, intelligent, and good at reading people, so the comedians feel comfortable around her and trust that she understands them. She also makes sure the set list is filled and pretty much runs the show, so she is an essential part of what makes ‘The Meltdown’ so successful.
There’s been so many moments on the show that have cracked me up, and many performers that I was excited to see pop up on the show, but one of my favorite performers to watch of all time is Maria Bamford, and I was psyched to see that she was on an episode. She has one of the most distinct, prolific voices in comedy, so it was amazing to see her perform. Ron Funches, who I’m also a big fan of, was on the show and has a completely different comedic style than Maria, who’s very eccentric and manic, and he may be the chillest performer ever. Watch these video clips if you want to check out these two and the kind of stuff you can expect from ‘The Metdown’ show! (x)(x) There’s currently two seasons of the show available on the Comedy Central app, iTunes, and Amazon, and they are currently in the process of making a third season, which I’m so happy about! It’s my favorite show to tune in to if I ever need a laugh, or if I simply feel like catching up with some comedy legends and friends (I’m friends with none of them, I don’t know them like that, but a girl can dream).
I love the Meltdown so much, and I know that I have to go see an actual live show someday. Whenever I watch the show it feels like I’m watching a little piece of home, in a strange way. I see all these people that I’ve known of for years, people that I truly care about and believe in, and seeing them hanging out makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. And for people who may not know anyone that’s on the show, I believe it can still be engaging and ignite affectionate feelings for the people involved. Because these people are people at the end of the day, and they are more than the bravado they may exude stage. That’s why I enjoy seeing the behind the scene’s footage, because it shows them experiencing feelings and nerves in real time before they go onstage, and that’s very humanizing. You also get to see the real bonds between comics, even if they are not necessarily years long, and are momentary and casual. They can easily converse in a specific way that is playful yet slightly testing, and they empathize with what each other goes through when they go on stage, so there’s an underlying love there underneath the roast-y interactions. It truly is a family show, even if it isn’t always family friendly. But most of all, it’s laugh out loud funny!
Here’s the shows social media platforms! Go ahead and check them out!
The Meltdown show’s official website: (x)
Comedy Central page: (x)
Tyler Ross Flickr page (Meltdown photographer): (x)