‘Verified Stand-Up’ Episode 2 Review/Recap: The Comedians Save The Show By Actually Being Funny


Episode 2 of Verified Stand-Up is where things get fabulous. The program continues with Robby Hoffman, Nimesh Patel, Leslie Liao, Vanessa Gonzalez, and Isaiah Kelly, and each one of them brings their best. While episode 2 was a straight-up banger, maybe things would have been a little more balanced if the comedians in episodes 1 and 2 had been mixed better because the quality of the stand-up between both episodes is too far apart.

1. Robby Hoffman

First comes Robby Hoffman. Admittedly, we watched them with some prejudice stemming from the previous episode, which is why their deliberate attempt to offend people by using the “faggot” word made us laugh when it failed. They move past it, though not as gracefully as they could have, but Robby finds their feet soon enough, with the rest of their jokes making us chortle. It has been a while since a good ‘pronouns’ joke has come our way, and their take on letting old people be is more timely than they could have imagined. There was recently a discussion online about the choice of words of an older woman regarding an issue, and it started a whole controversy about what she stands for. However, it was pointed out by certain groups that her understanding of the words may have been flawed, but she has lived her life according to them in more ways than can be imagined. Essentially, the message was that the older you get, the less you care about labels (separate from pronouns), whether right or wrong, and just believe in doing your own thing. What Robby Hoffman points out about old people is something similar, though nearly not as positive, the message is the same: that expecting fundamental changes from them may be too big of an ask. It’s a perspective that is always open for debate.

2. Nimesh Patel

Next comes Nimesh Patel, and this is the kind of immigrant comedy that we want to watch. It was original, he was confident, and he didn’t care. It is hard not to compare him to Asif Ali, and since we are doing that, Nimesh Patel proves that he is so much more than the stereotypical identity he chooses to joke about. May we add that his voice is addictive, much like Leslie Liao, who comes after him? Is this the reason these two were adjacent to each other? That is a good choice of placement in the lineup. His set in Verified Stand-Up is probably the only one to use it all: there is crowd work, wordplay, education, information, and darkness from the depths of the devil’s soul that also serves as validation that AI won’t take away comedians’ jobs. He is the only comedian we were in a rush to check out after he got off the stage.

3. Leslie Liao

Then we have Leslie Liao. The fact of the matter is that she went viral for her post about being Chinese-American. Therefore, it makes sense that she would choose the same theme when given barely ten minutes in the lineup. Needless to say, she had the perfect energy for it, which once again makes us question what happened to Sabrina Wu and Asif Ali in Verified Stand-Up episode 1. She speaks about taking after her dad, and Asians all over the world (South East Asians included) felt seen. Some of us luckily grow up to look like our mothers, but there is always that one reminder, be it on our faces or our personalities, that tells us what to show in case of a property dispute (Asians will get the joke). Additionally, she makes just the perfect jokes about Asian marriages that remind us that dying alone is not such a bad option after all. She is funny because her jokes are about cultural tragedies, and they will always be relevant.

4. Vanessa Gonzalez

Next comes Vanessa Gonzalez. In our previous reviews of stand-up comedy, we have mentioned how jokes about bodies need to be retired. That is because the humor still centers around the idea of desirability, and that just needs to go. But we did not mind Vanessa Gonzalez’s jokes because they seemed to come from a real place of acceptance and confidence. That is something everyone can get on board with. But when we heard her jokes about pregnancy, we wondered what a meeting between her and Rosebud Baker would look like. Why didn’t the two of them do their sets together, or at least after one another? That would have been a sight.

5. Isaiah Kelly

To end Verified Stand-Up, Isaiah Kelly comes on stage, and perhaps he is so confident about his set because he is not the first delivery boy to eat the customers’ food, and people love that when they are not hungry. Isaiah hates being broke, and that gives him common ground with his audience. At the end of his set, a picture of his feet would have been nice for some context, because, naturally, if you have terrible feet, buying shoes is a hassle, and that is probably where your money goes. Isaiah Kelly missed making this joke. Overall, Verified Stand-Up started weakly but ended strong, and a picture of Isaiah’s feet would have been the last funny flourish of this program. We are hung up on that.

Final Thoughts

The thing to remember is that even with the comedians in the second episode, identity was a huge part of the humor, but this one was actually funny, so the complaints went flying out of the window. It is as simple as that. These are comedians who made the most of their ten-minute time slot because they knew the pulse of the audience. Nobody is averse to hearing concepts done before, but the style, information, and delivery have to be new in some form or another that they have managed. That is why Nimesh Patel and Leslie Liao were the four favorites of the lot. They knew what would work and how to go about it so effortlessly. In the end, they were the ones who made it worth it.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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