Plainfield comedian Joel Kim Booster charms in first Netflix special, ‘Psychosexual’
Thanks to his likable presence, his edgy material never feels mean-spirited or condescending.
“The first thing I want women to know about me is that I’m gay, because I know that for women right now in this country, your No. 1 cause of death is men. I want to put you at ease and let you know that the only thing that’s in danger with me is your self-esteem.” – Joel Kim Booster.
It’s Joel Kim Booster’s month. We’re just streaming it.
We’re getting a delightful triple serving of Booster’s whip-smart, wickedly funny and magnetic talents in June, as he’s the writer and co-star of the Hulu romantic comedy “Fire Island,” a queer take on “Pride and Prejudice”; he’s fantastic as the snooty and sassy sidekick/assistant to Maya Rudolph in the upcoming Apple TV+ gem “Loot,” and he gets the Netflix stand-up special treatment with the frank and funny “Joel Kim Booster: Psychosexual,” debuting Tuesday.
A comedy special available Tuesday on Netflix.
Filmed at Catch One in Los Angeles, the special is divided into three self-aware, self-deprecating and at times audience-interactive acts, with Booster amiably singling out a straight white male to act as his sounding board for certain routines. (On another occasion, he commiserates with a woman of Asian descent about racism within the Asian culture. Even when the humor is edgy and might ruffle a few feathers, Booster is such a likable and warm presence that it never feels mean-spirited or condescending.)
Born in South Korea and raised by adoptive parents in suburban Plainfield, Booster talks about his mother’s side of the family having Southern roots and how they’re “deeply obsessed with … statues. They love a statue, can’t get enough of a statue down there.” It’s a sharp routine because it says so much by pretty much leaving it at that.
Effortlessly commanding the stage and relying heavily on anecdotes and conversational humor, Booster talks about his adventures as a road comic, e.g., “Not a lot of Asian people in Boise. … I went to the P.F. Chang’s in Boise, Idaho, and the way people reacted to me when I walked into this restaurant. … You would have thought I was f---ing P.F. Chang himself.”
Some of the routines mine territory that’s been done to death by stand-ups, as when Booster talks about the difference between cats and dogs, or people using phones in public bathroom stalls. Other jokes feel like works in progress. But Booster shines when he interacts with the audience (“I will not let this descend into ‘clap-ter,’ you either laugh and clap or none, OK?”) and when he hits bullseye after bullseye with his verbal darts. Noting that straight guys often proclaim that if they were gay, they’d be having much more sex, Booster dryly notes, “No you wouldn’t, because you’d still look like that.”
Hey, that’s neither funny nor true!
OK fine it’s both.