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Lil Dicky, the rapper alter ego of Dave Burd, is the creator of some of the funniest and most bizarre hip-hop songs in recent memory, including one he wrote for the The LEGO Batman Movie soundtrack in 2017. He is also the co-creator (along with Jeff Schaffer) of one of the funniest and most bizarre TV comedy shows in recent memory, called Dave - which is loosely based on the story of how he became one of the most popular artists of his kind while almost completely losing himself in the process (I mean, on the show, at least).
When you are not watching Dave on FX but still crave a unique TV show (or movie) about ordinary people trying to make it, or one that offers a humorous behind-the-scenes look at show business, try these on for size.
A poor Princeton dropout (Donald Glover) struggling to help raise the daughter he had with his on-and-off girlfriend (Deadpool 2 star Zazie Beetz) attempts to cash in on the recent success of his cousin (Eternals cast member Brian Tyree Henry) - a rising star in Atlanta’s underground rap community with an eccentric stoner roommate (Academy Award nominee Lakeith Stanfield).
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: As another FX original comedy series about the strained relationship between an up-and-coming hip-hop artist and his manager with increasingly bizarre and boldly dark storylines, Dave has pretty much helped fill the void that creator and star Donald Glover’s Emmy-winning series has left open since the Atlanta Season 2 ending in 2018.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO Max)
Larry David, famous for co-creating Seinfeld, runs into a series of horrific circumstances involving his friends, family, celebrities, and random bystanders, rarely of anyone’s fault but his own.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: As another comedy series starring a neurotic celebrity as himself getting into awkward encounters with real people in show business, Dave would also be a satisfying way for fans of HBO’s Emmy-winning Curb Your Enthusiasm (also produced by Jeff Schaffer) to pass the time while waiting for its upcoming 11th season.
This Is Spinal Tap (Amazon Rental)
An American documentary filmmaker follows an English heavy metal group as they attempt to make a comeback with a new tour and new album - neither of which amount to the success they had hoped.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: If more awkward encounters with people in show business (real or fake) is what you are looking for after watching Dave, look no further than the mother of all show business satires, This Is Spinal Tap - a legendary comedy from director Rob Reiner that arguably brought mockumentary style filmmaking into the mainstream and, almost inarguably, is one of the most worshipped movies about rock and roll ever made.
We Are Your Friends (Amazon Rental)
After a chance meeting, an aspiring DJ (Zac Efron) is made the apprentice of a successful electronic dance music artist (Wes Bentley), but is at risk of losing his connection to achieving his dreams when he falls for the young, beautiful assistant/girlfriend (Emily Ratajkowski) of his mentor.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: While less of a satire about the music industry and less of a comedy than Dave is, at that, We Are Your Friends (which was written and directed by Max Joseph, the co-developer of MTV’s Catfish: The Series) is a visually inventive, poignant, and well-acted exploration of what it takes for an artist to make it in the business, seen through the eyes of one young man struggling with giving up the life he loves in order to achieve the life he believes he wants.
Almost Famous (Paramount+)
A high school student (Patrick Fugit) is enlisted by Rolling Stone Magazine to follow an up-and-coming rock band while they are touring the country in the early 1970s.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: While less of a satire about the music industry and much less of a comedy than Dave is, Almost Famous (which earned writer and director Cameron Crowe an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 2001) is a surreal, semi-autobiographical exploration of what it takes for an artist to succeed in music, but mostly seen through the eyes of a fan instead of the musicians themselves.
The Disaster Artist (Netflix)
After a struggling young actor (Dave Franco) befriends the eccentric, mysterious Tommy Wiseau (director James Franco), the unlikely duo set out to take Hollywood by making their own movie, called The Room, which would go down in history as one of the most incompetently made, but thoroughly entertaining, films of all time.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: Often teetering on the line between comedy and tragedy, much like Dave, The Disaster Artist (which was based on The Room star Greg Sestero’s book of the same name) is a brilliant, beautifully acted, biographical exploration of what it takes for an artist to make it in the movie business, as seen partially through the eyes of a man whose ambitions and selfish tendencies get the best of him, which also stars Dave actor Andrew Santino.
Eastbound & Down (HBO Max)
After his dwindling talent and insufferable personality cost him his career, a former Major League Baseball player (Danny McBride) returns to his hometown in Shelby, North Carolina, to try his hand at the next best things: taking a job as a physical education instructor for his old middle school.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: While not at all a music industry satire, but a comedy to its very bones, star and co-creator Danny McBride’s acclaimed HBO original series Eastbound & Down is a hilarious exploration of what someone does when they fall from grace within the sports industry, as seen through the eyes of man whose ambitions and selfish tendencies get the best of him.
Silicon Valley (HBO Max)
A computer programmer (Thomas Middleditch) and his small, close-knit group of employees (including Eternals star Kumail Nanjani) struggle to overcome technical difficulties, ruthless industry competitors, and shady legal loopholes to keep their middle-out data compression company afloat.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: While also not a music industry satire at all, but very much a comedy, creator Mike Judge’s Emmy-winning HBO original series Silicon Valley is absolutely brilliant, loosely autobiographical exploration of how a computer programmer makes it in the world of tech startups, with a group of people whose drive and selfishness eventually do get the best of them - but not enough to keep us from rooting for them.
Upload (Amazon Prime)
A young man (Robbie Amell) on the brink of death chooses to have his consciousness digitally uploaded into a virtual afterlife, where he begins to strike up a close relationship with his human assistant (Andy Allo).
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: While more of a send-up of the technology developed in Silicon Valley itself than a satire of the business behind it, the acclaimed Amazon Prime original comedy series Upload is an intriguing, visually inventive exploration of how far we will go to hold onto the lives we are used to, even if that means losing our humanity in the process, that also features Dave star Christine Ko as a recurring cast member.
Loiter Squad (HBO Max)
Musician Tyler the Creator and the rest of his rap group Odd Future perform unusual comedy sketches and participate in equally surreal reality television segments.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: While I am not very sure if this constitutes as satire and I am positive that it is an entirely different kind of comedy, the Adult Swim original series Loiter Squad is a very bizarre look at what people in the music business might do in their free time, that also features Dave star Travis “Taco” Bennett as a regular cast member.
Man Seeking Woman (Hulu)
After he is dumped by his longtime girlfriend, a naive, socially inept temp worker (Jay Baruchel) tries desperately to find love again, running into one extremely unusual problem after another in the process.
Why it’s worth checking out if you like Dave: If satire and awkward social encounters are what you are still looking for in a comedy after watching Dave, but without being grounded in any sense of genuine reality, the FX original series Man Seeking Woman delivers exactly that by exaggerating the struggles of modern dating to a surreal and fantastic degree, while following one man whose romantic desperation often gets the best of him.
Any fan of the Dave on FX will tell you that the show is not the kind of comedy series that can really be defined by one thing. However, you may find a little piece of each of its potential descriptions from the movies and TV shows above.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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