Since his first special in 2016, the comedian’s uniquely touching brand of gentle humour has won millions of fans. But how different is the real-life Pera to his onscreen persona?
Joe Pera is strolling through New York, patiently enduring the sort of technical calamities that cause interviewers to wake up in a cold sweat. I apologise and apologise again, but he is unfazed. “It’s OK,” he reassures me in his familiar soft, halting voice. “I’m looking at a beautiful sunset.”
It’s a perfect response. Since his first Adult Swim special Joe Pera Talks You to Sleep in 2016, Pera has been carefully crafting a comedy unlike anything else. His series Joe Pera Talks With You – which is just about to return for a third season on All 4 – is a thing of hushed, burnished wonder. Pera, playing a fictionalised version of himself, leads the viewer through some of his favourite subjects; they’re mundane on the surface, but presented with an air of awestruck quiet. There is an episode called Joe Pera Takes You on a Fall Drive, and another called Joe Pera Watches Internet Videos With You. The second season, which broadcast just before the pandemic struck, contained an extended arc about growing and maintaining a bean arch.