In disaster scenarios, saying “everything’s fine” doesn’t help anyone. It’s therefore no surprise that Sarah Cooper’s Netflix special of the same name falls short in its satirical take of 2020.
“Everything’s Fine,” released on Netflix Oct. 27 sees Cooper, an unraveling morning show host, coming to terms with the world falling apart. Joined by a truly star-studded cast of comedians, Cooper attempts to confront today’s hellscape through a series of short, alternating segments — illuminating absurdity while evoking laughter. However, this special fails to achieve either, running like a bankrupt “Portlandia” and never once stopping to catch its breath.
Cooper, author of books such as “100 Ways to Appear Smart in Meetings” and TikTok famous Donald Trump impersonator, flatters most in her homecourt of socially conscious candor. Short segments of her impersonations are dispersed throughout the special, though to little effect. However, the influence of her social media background hardly ends there. “Everything’s Fine” is painstakingly edited, yet somehow remains disjointed. If anything, viewers can laugh at the exhaustive effort the comics of this special put into looking exhausted.
Most of the skits are nothing teenagers breaking social-distancing protocol haven’t already come up with. The results are ridiculous as one might expect, and oftentimes beyond. One skit sees John Hamm as CEO of a pillow company offering a coronavirus vaccine, in which one injects millions of microscopic pillows into their bloodstream, putting the virus straight to sleep. In another, Ben Stiller plays a robot CEO who denies claims of unwanted advances toward an office copy machine.
Fred Armisen plays the morning show’s producer in perhaps the most annoying, recurrent skit of the special, in which he appears in increasingly elaborate safety gear to protect from the virus.
Unfortunately, these efforts were futile as the special wasn’t worth breaking the social-distancing protocol required to film.
Thankfully, Maya Rudolph shines, not so much as comic relief but as a relief from comics. In her segment, Rudolph plays a weather reporter who abandons decorum in announcing a nightmarish forecast brought about by climate change and corporations. This direct vocalization of the frustrations harbored by so many is entirely refreshing, though regrettably short-lived.
It’s ultimately revealed the events covered by Cooper’s news company are in fact the nefarious workings of Satan (Marisa Tomei). Yet, the casting remains the funniest part of this reveal, as her jokes about 2020’s disastrous itinerary fall upon already desensitized ears.
The wounds this special attempts to poke are entirely too fresh, like someone reenacting how you got injured as your ambulance is on its way. The prospect of watching it with family and friends is truly repulsing. “Everything’s Fine” plays with 2020’s corpse, propping it up and swinging its arms back and forth, begging for attention. Just drop it.
Though this special is clearly aiming for something deeper or meta in its ramblings, anyone willing to withstand it is already too fatigued from living through 2020 to adequately process it. Those who are informed about the issues this special humorizes wouldn’t find it funny, and those who it makes fun of wouldn’t be caught dead watching it. Triumph in 2020 has proved evasive, and satirizing it only leads its wanderers further astray.
“Everything’s Fine” makes a trying attempt to wring some comedy out of today’s tragic happenings, but ultimately fails. Viewers press play, hoping in their silent resignation to gain some satirical redemption, but are left stranded — starting the special not knowing what to expect, and ending not knowing what they expected.
“Everything’s Fine,” TV-MA is available for streaming on Netflix.