Hello reader! I got to talk with the one-of-a-kind comedian Raanan Hershberg this week. He’s a killer onstage and his upcoming new special is promising to capture the full extent of his talent. His name kept popping up on my feed lately, and we seem to devour what the algorithm offers, don’t we? Luckily, checking out Raanan paid off. His growing reputation, his specials, his podcast with fellow comedian Joe List (Joe and Raanan Talk Movies), and his solid outlook on comedy all make him worth seeking out. With him coming to Sandman Comedy Club this week, we caught up and talked about his new special, the state of TV, and, of course, his movie of the year. Here’s our conversation:
Gabe: You recorded a comedy special recently?
Raanan: Yeah, I recorded a special at The Comedy Cellar in April. I’m going to put it on my YouTube channel in probably September.
Gabe: Oh, cool. So, how far back does that material go?
Raanan: It went back… well, I recorded another special two years before. An album/special. That album was, like, ten or eleven years in the making, you know. This one was just two years since that happened.
Gabe: Okay. We’ll wait for it to come out. You said September?
Raanan: We’re finalizing a date right now. But yeah, sometime around then. It’s [called] Jokes from the Underground.
Gabe: Oh nice. I remember seeing one of your late-night spots a few months back on YouTube. It was killin. I think it was your Jimmy Fallon spot.
Raanan: Yeah, everything is just on… you know, most people just watch stuff through YouTube now. TV is basically just watched through youtube.
Gabe: We all see it happening. Anyways, I know you have a podcast with Joe List called Joe and Raanan Talk Movies. You have some strong opinions. I know it’s only July, but do you have a movie of the year as of yet?
Raanan: I feel obliged to take Joe [List]’s movie because he has a movie that came out. I mean, I guess I’m a little biased, but Joe and Louis CK made a movie called Fourth of July. Which is actually doing pretty well at the box office. So, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that as one of the movies of the year. That’s also at limited theaters, so it might not have some —
Gabe: I’ve been following Fourth of July. I haven’t seen it yet. It did actually have a couple of showings in the Richmond area, in Midlothian and Glen Allen. So it is here.
Raanan: Oh nice! Oh well, there you go. So, yeah. So that was one of the best movies this year. I really love this movie, X.
Gabe: X is awesome. I loved that movie. One of the best theater-going experiences I’ve had in a long time.
Raanan: Yeah, it’s great. It really kind of has everything. It’s fun, exciting and sexy, and some cool ideas. I love that. I actually enjoyed watching it. There’s a lot of movies now that everyone pretends to be great, but they’re just like joyless downer movies. Like Nomadland or Power of the Dog. They’re just emotionless and draining. But it’s nice to see something exciting and into actually having fun, you know?
Gabe: Felt like fun. Going there, I remember I just felt like a kid coming out of the movie theater. We went out, we were talking about what our favorite parts were in the lobby of the theater. You know?
Gabe: And the last movie I went to was The Batman, which I didn’t come out of the movie as excited.
Raanan: Another downer. Just [a] boring movie.
Gabe: I walked out feeling like, “Was that even any good?”
Raanan: Batman, I thought was a terrible. Every Batman, everyone’s like, “This one’s really dark.” And it’s like: they’ve all been dark, for the last ten years. The idea that, like, dark is something new each time, you know?
Gabe: I was into about the second hour of that and couldn’t figure out if he’s actually helped anyone yet in the movie.
Raanan: I know, it’s… it seems self-indulgent. And it’s definitely the new generation. [It had] kind of cool ideas, it just never followed through. And there was just no good characters. Pretty much every scene was just static position, or just explaining something, in every moment. It felt like a video game.
Gabe: It was really fucking long.
OK, that was mostly us talking about movies, but honestly, I wish I could talk to him about movies more. I’ve been going to the theater a lot through the last few seasons, but after a point, I made sure not go to see the big blockbusters. That point was either Eternals or actually, probably The Batman. I did check, though, and Fourth of July is not playing in Richmond. But it might be by the time this article comes out.
Either way, Raanan Hershberg is one of the best of the best. If you’re interested in more movie reviews from him, I definitely recommend his podcast, Joe and Raanan Talk Movies. Go see Fourth of July if you can find it, and check out X too. (My movie of the year. Not gonna lie.)
As for Raanan Hershberg, you can catch him performing at Sandman Comedy Club Thursday, July 28 through Saturday, July 30. Five shows and all laughs. Be sure to get there an hour early for food and beverages. Tickets are available at Sandman Comedy Club’s website.