What Are You Watching? “Joe Pera Talks with You”


Please invest yourself in this already canceled show, available on Max, Apple TV, Vudu, or Google Play. Don’t worry, it wraps up (spoiler?) well.

Buffalo comedian Joe Pera (search his excellent Bills joke on YouTube) is noticeable for his onstage presence, which either reads like a nervous fifth grader during a presentation, or a 100-year-old man trying to keep himself social. Pera is memorable for what this delivery allows him to do, which is to undercut setups with honest reminders of the nice things in life, without it seeming forced or cheap.

In three seasons of “Joe Pera Talks with You,” Pera sets a version of his comedic persona in the small town of Marquette, Mich., where he teaches middle school choir, and shows his viewers around a wide range of backdrops in his town. These include a diner, local landmarks, and his regular supermarket. Many episodes spotlight natural settings, for a fall drive, a hike, or a snowmobile dream sequence.

Pera’s delivery is laid-back, and the show overall operates at a similar pace. “You know how most shows on television feel like they were made by an energy drink?” Pera has said. “Well, this show feels like it’s made by apple cider.”

With that description, and even with an episode titled “Joe Pera Talks You to Sleep,” the show still boasts a vivid attention to detail, realistic (if abnormal) characters, and Joe’s attempts to share with viewers his many interests.

Just going by episode titles, viewers can look forward to hearing about iron; the rat wars of Alberta, Canada (1950–present day); cold-weather sports; chair construction; and much more.

While Joe is comfortable educating his audience on these topics, the show introduces risks and rewards as his personal life changes. Sarah Conner (Jo Firestone), his fellow middle school teacher and love interest, quickly threatens his worldview with her interests, some of which are based in fear of and preparing for societal collapse.

Joe also has to develop around other characters such as his fully self-unaware neighbor Mike Melsky, and his best friend Gene, a content retiree and somewhat of a role model.

As Joe is challenged to look outward and find roles among friends and community, the show’s comedic style and episode themes take on new and deeper meanings.

Pera has said that he still hopes for a final season, but watch the show anyway.