Back for a new season of complaining, wisecracking, and generally messing with your mind, those two most difficult of Difficult People — Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner — put their slightly fictionalized characters through lots of Trump-era travails in a batch of very funny new episodes on Hulu.
The show’s Billy and Julie are still trying to make it in New York showbiz, and still hustling for a buck. The Season 3 premiere makes good, crabby jokes about health care, Bill Maher, Passover, Sunday In The Park with George, and Larry Wilmore. Remember Wilmore’s unjustly canceled Comedy Central show — the one that would have been a lot more rancorous and satirical about the Trump presidency than The Daily Show is? Billy and Julie remember, and Wilmore is a good sport to join in on their jokes about what are supposedly his current dim prospects.
Billy still has his job at the diner run by Nate and Denise (Derrick Baskin and Gabourey Sidibe), where he does minimal work and works maximum snark. Julie is still going out for auditions — in the new season, she reads for a new Amazon streaming show. She’s pretty sure she won’t get the role — and given who its creator is (I’m not spoiling the joke), she actually doesn’t want the role. But, she says, she has a blender she bought on Amazon she wants to return at the same time, so what the hell…
The new episodes made available to critics occasionally reminded me of Curb Your Enthusiasm because there are frequently subplots in which Julie and Billy do something so rude that everyone around becomes irritated with them, which only makes them double down on their politically incorrect words and actions. But unlike Larry David, Eichner and Klausner can actually act, which gives them an advantage. Another thing that distinguishes Difficult from Curb, and from most other sitcoms, is the wide variety of performers — in terms of gender, race, and breaking stereotypes — that Klausner and Eichner have chosen to populate their raucous scenarios.
I must admit I came to the new season thinking the two stars may have outgrown this project, or at least wrung it dry of juicy targets for their withering humor. But I’m happy to admit I was wrong: Julie and Billy are enthusiastically mean, sarcastic, and lovable — all at once. And the joke about Bill Maher made me hoot loudly with immense admiration.
Difficult People is streaming on Hulu.
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