Netflix Is a Joke Festival: 31 acts see around Los Angeles

Showcase: London Hughes

Netflix veteran London Hughes will perform during the streamer’s comedy festival at Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth.


British comedian London Hughes found fame on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by recounting her romantic anecdotes and sexual adventures — as well as those of her mother and grandmother. She reprized her act in her debut stand-up special, “To Catch a D—,” executive produced by Kevin Hart, and also appeared on Netflix’s “The History of Swear Words” and the weekly after-show “The Netflix Afterparty.” Onstage, she rightfully calls herself “the new female Richard Pryor” because of the remarkable physicality she puts into delivering a joke. Offstage, she’s developing movies: a Will Packer feature that’s loosely based on her life de ella and a Tim Story comedy about a modern woman who gets transported to 19th century England.

London Hughes performs at 7 pm at Dynasty Typewriter at the Hayworth, 2511 Wilshire Blvd.

Spotlight: Justin Willman: ‘Magic for Humans’ in Person

A man in a dark shirt and blazer holds a balled-up piece of fabric in front of him.

Actor-magician Justin Willman at the 2013 Hilarity for Charity event benefiting the Alzheimer’s Assn.

(Jeff Vespa)

Magic acts don’t often make audiences gasp, laugh and cry, but throughout its three seasons on Netflix, “Magic for Humans” has delivered equal parts bewildering sleight of hand and genuine emotion. Now Justin Willman is bringing his humorous and heartfelt street magic series to the Theater at Ace Hotel.

How did you get into magic?

I was 12. I was riding my bike while also wearing rollerblades, because I was trying to look cool and do something unique. Then I fell and broke both my arms, which made me look and unique. My doctor randomly noticed that I liked it when this magician came to town and encouraged me to do card tricks as physical therapy. And I’ve been doing that ever since — though, I will say, my left arm could still use a little better rotation.

I love spreading the love of doing magic, even as a hobbyist, and shattering what people think a magic show is. Like, it isn’t always done by somebody on a stage in a tux or in an evening gown. It can pop up when you least expect it. But most of all, I love the idea of ​​making magic feel as everyday as possible, and the subtle message behind trying to capture that in the series is to remind you that there is magic all around us, even as we’re going to work , doing laundry, living our lives on autopilot.

The show has a recurring segment in which you perform for people specifically named Susan (including Susan Sarandon). How do you identify them?

Sometimes they have a look: wearing a fanny pack and a purse and a backpack, writing a check in the grocery store…. [Laughs.] We’ve maybe found one or two naturally on the street. But once I realized there’s something special about Susans, I don’t know what it is, we were then desperately seeking Susans, and Craigslist was the way to go. Is your name Susan? Do you want to make 40 bucks and get a free lunch? Meet us in Echo Park.” Down the sidewalk, we’ll have a few Susans on deck. Someone checks their IDs so they’re all legit; sometimes they go by Sue but, in their hearts, they’re really Susans.

My favorite episodes include appearances by family members, like your son Jackson. Does he understand what you do for a living?

He’s seen me perform when he was 1 and a half, so that doesn’t count. He’s 3 now, and I think he’s grasping what magic is and that it’s also what Daddy does for work and not just during playtime at home. I think he’s gonna come to the LA show. We’ll extend his bedtime a little bit.

A standout episode involved your late mother, who was struggling with Alzheimer’s. Are you nervous about sharing this part of your life on screen?

In putting together a show about highlighting the funny and magical moments of life, it only makes sense to make it as authentic as possible. At that time, what was weighing on my head and heart every day was this Alzheimer’s struggle, something you don’t tend to naturally bring up when you talk to people because you don’t want to bum them out, but then you end up feeling so alone When I started sharing more about it, people I knew started telling me that they’re going through the same thing, and I had no idea.

I’m so happy I did that piece, just to get that little time capsule. There was a chance that it might not be right for the tone of the show, and I’m glad it resonated with people. There’s a real healing power in just acknowledging that something exists that allows people to feel seen and heard. And if anything, it’s a reminder to live in the moment, to hug and kiss and say the things that you want to say to the people in your life while you can.

Will you be making people cry at your LA show?

It’s never my goal! I want to make people feel things, mostly laughter and amazement. But like the series, the climax of the show might hit you in an emotional way.

Justin Willman performs at 7 pm at the Theater at Ace Hotel, 929 S. Broadway

One-Liner: ‘Snoop Dogg’s F—Around Comedy Special’

Snoop Dogg emcees the two-show taping with Katt Williams, Mike Epps and Sommore in tow.

Snoop Dogg performs at 7 and 9:45 pm at the Hollywood Palladium, 6215 Sunset Blvd.

Ashley Lee

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