Comedian Matt Braunger’s Big Dumb Animal, his latest one-hour comedy special, hits Netflix next Friday, June 26.
Animal, which was produced by comedy powerhouse Comedy Dynamics in partnership with Braunger, premiered back in February on Comedy Central, and is the third hour long comedy special from Braunger.
In Big Dumb Animal, Braunger regales us with his trademark sensibility of keen social commentary wrapped in a more palatable and deceptive outer layer of silliness and absurdity. In one such bit, Braunger speaks out on an asinine view of homosexuality by imagining the government harnessing their energy to weaponize natural disasters. In another, Braunger indicts the chauvinistic, sometimes outright piggish nature of the female-pursuing man, implicating himself in the process, by recounting a story of an encounter on a bus with a stranger that effectively punctuates Braunger’s innate ability to render a funny story hilarious via the relaxed yet animated mastery of his telling it.
As the A.V. Club’s Austin L. Ray surmises, Big Dumb Animal marks a maturity of form for Braunger whose previous efforts, Soak Up the Night and Shovel Fighter, are chock full Braunger’s high-energy style, facial expressions, and individually well-crafted bits, but feel more like several small bits strung together rather than several bits that feed naturally well into one another. This isn’t to say that Animal subscribes to any sort of theme, other than that of the often stupid nature of human beings as a whole, but the material is laced together tighter making the Animal feel more like a wholly actualized performance piece.
In March, Braunger explained to Entertainment Weekly the meaning behind the name Big Dumb Animal.
“It goes back to a time I was waiting tables, and this guy I worked with who was a jock type. He was like a funny a–hole. A good guy, but always had to bust everybody’s chops. He came in one morning, and he said, ‘Look at you, you big dumb animal.’ And it made me laugh. Like, what a horrible thing to say, but my God, that’s funny. My approach to titled is, ‘Does this make you laugh when I say it?”‘
The addition of Big Dumb Animal to Netflix’ already immense catalog of stand-up comedy specials, an area where Netflix has positioned themselves not only as an alternative to but a direct rival of outlets like Comedy Central and HBO, places Braunger’s work right alongside that of heavy hitters such as Aziz Ansari and Bill Burr. Braunger, whose screen credits include Up All Night and MADtv among many, has long been a favorite of die hard comedy nerds, but Big Dumb Animal is the special that could easily catapult Braunger into the upper echelon of touring headliners. With his talent and likability, which is on display semi-weekly on Braunger’s podcast, Ding-Donger with Matt Braunger on the Nerdist network, it seems almost certain that Braunger’s big break, which could come in the form of one of many projects the comedian has in development, is either at its dawn, or perhaps already exists in the form of one Big Dumb Animal.