Stage to Screen 

When Comics Find Small-Screen Success

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THE ROAD from the comedy club to the world of television is a tough one, as any well-known stand-up comic will tell you—the transition from stage to screen sometimes simply doesn't take. That's why it's such a thrill when a comic finds an ideal vehicle, as T.J. Miller has on the Emmy-nominated Silicon Valley. His success on the show shouldn't surprise anyone who saw him in March at the Star Theater—his perma-stoned demeanor and acid tongue are the perfect fit for his role as pompous web developer Erlich Bachman. Miller's back in town this weekend to headline Helium. In honor of his successful stage-to-screen transition, we've picked five more of our favorite comics who found welcoming homes in the TV universe.


Ron Funches on Undateable

Word on the street is that this mid-season NBC sitcom about a gaggle of love-starved Detroiters isn't long for this world, which is too bad—it provided a perfect platform for our hometown hero. Even when it settled into the shopworn groove of your typical three-camera comedy, the show was given some vitality thanks to Funches' absurdist asides and lackadaisical delivery.


Kumail Nanjiani on Silicon Valley

T.J. Miller is not the only stand-up to shine on HBO's latest foray into the world of half-hour comedy. Nanjiani is pitch-perfect as Dinesh, one of the coders helping to usher a new startup into the world. He brings a world-weary sarcasm to almost every line, but adds a touch of sweetness too, particularly when trying to navigate the world of romance in our hyper-connected age.


Chelsea Peretti on Brooklyn Nine-Nine

The writers of this Golden Globe-winning sitcom based in a wacky police precinct wisely give the strangest and most delicious dialogue to Peretti. As Gina, the derisive assistant to Captain Holt, she sticks the landing on every backhanded compliment, dance move, and narcissistic interjection ("I feel like I am the Paris of people").


Andy Daly on Review

As with his character-based stand-up, Daly takes particular delight in playing stodgy Forrest MacNeil, the professional critic who reviews various aspects of life (hunting, divorce, and orgies, among others), as he faces absurdist situations with a mixture of mania, embarrassment, and confusion.


Al Madrigal on About a Boy

Though his efforts on this NBC half-hour have cut into his work on The Daily Show, Madrigal provides a great balance to the man-child main character, Will, as Andy, the sturdy, mature family man. But his best moments come when the façade cracks and Andy pines for his younger, more carefree days.

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