A new class of writers, performers and creators is redefining comedy—rejecting tired tropes and carving out space for fresh perspectives. From millennial social-media stars who’ve brought their internet fluency into traditional television writing rooms to stand-ups pushing the boundaries of the form, these comedians working across North America are shaping what it means to be funny in 2019.
Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek arrived on America’s obscure Pop TV in 2015 with a premise as silly as its name: After losing everything, a super-rich family must move to the titular small town, which they bought as a joke in the ’90s. Five seasons later, it’s a cult hit stateside, thanks to a vocal fanbase, Netflix word-of-mouth and its leads, comedy legends Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. The cast has even been touring North America with a night of behind-the-scenes stories, music and a Schitt’s Creek trivia challenge. But the credit for the show’s warmth belongs mostly to Eugene’s 35-year-old son and co-creator Dan, who multitasks as showrunner, writer and star. His character, David — a mopey pansexual whose love life forms the show’s sweetest arc — is a fan favorite, embodying a casual fluidity that is true to millennial ideas about identity. Dan brings that same reflexive inclusivity to each episode, crafting a show whose sensibility is contemporary even as its kindness feels like the best kind of throwback.
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