What’s on TV Monday: ‘Historical Roasts’ and a Memorial Day Marathon
HISTORICAL ROASTS Stream on Netflix. Consider this new comedy series a history lesson for millennials that swaps the booze in “Drunk History” for scathing roasts. The comic Jeff Ross invites A-list comedians to dress up as historical figures who he then mocks under the made-up title of Roastmaster General of the Union Army. With the exception of Hitler (Gilbert Gottfried), the guests in the hot seat play people that Ross considers heroes, such as Anne Frank, Cleopatra and Muhammad Ali. On the surface, the show is about poking fun. But during an interview with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show,” Ross said there’s a little more to it than that: “People have to remember these stories.” He also took a jab at Abraham Lincoln: “Yeah, Abe. You should have tried emancipating that mole from your cheek!”
What’s on TV
THE HOT ZONE 9 p.m. on National Geographic. This six-part series, based on Richard Preston’s 1994 nonfiction thriller, stars Julianna Margulies as Nancy Jaax, a scientist for the United States Army who works in a facility near Washington, D.C. In 1989, Jaax discovers that a strain of Ebola virus — which, at the time, had a fatality rate of up to 90 percent — has reached American soil for the first time. Her colleagues (played by Topher Grace and Robert Wisdom) are skeptical at first, but after Nancy and her mentor (Liam Cunningham of “Game of Thrones”) reveal the difficult truth, chaos ensues: A potential outbreak looms over the researchers’ heads as they spar over the best way to contain it. Airing over three nights, the show has a lasting effect; the story is terrifying mostly because it’s true.
MEMORIAL DAY MARATHON 6 a.m. on TCM. Get in the spirit of the holiday by revisiting some classic military films, including the World War II romance “From Here to Eternity” (1953) and the Civil War drama “Glory” (1989).
BIOGRAPHY: CHRIS FARLEY — ANYTHING FOR A LAUGH 9 p.m. on A&E. Chris Farley’s professional career may have been cut short, but the versatile comedian proved unforgettable. Farley, who died in 1997 at 33, came up in the Chicago improv scene before joining “Saturday Night Live” in 1990. He became one of the so-called Bad Boys of “S.N.L.” (alongside Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider and David Spade) and went on to star in a number of comedies, including “Beverly Hills Ninja.” Featuring interviews with celebrities like John Goodman and Kevin Nealon, this new portrait looks back at Farley’s memorable performances and his struggle with addiction.
COLIN QUINN: RED STATE BLUE STATE (2019) 9 p.m. on CNN. The New York comedian Colin Quinn brings his political Off Broadway show to the small screen in CNN’s first comedy special. Writing in The New York Times, Laura Collins-Hughes called the performance “a smart, if sometimes shaggy, monologue that ponders an ideologically riven nation.”