If you’re into stand-up comedy, this is a great time to be alive. You’ll find a diverse range of comedians everywhere, whether they’re making videos on YouTube or recording podcasts guaranteed to make you laugh. Netflix has recently turned into the epicenter of truly great stand-up.
You might not have the time to watch every single stand-up special on Netflix. In order to help you sort the wheat from the chaff, here is our list of the 10 best stand-up comedy specials on Netflix right now.
Chewed Up was Louis C.K.’s first big standup special the precursor to the Louis we know today. This is an early peek at the lazy, awkward snob persona that we associate C.K. with today. Louis talks about raising kids, what it means to be white, and his erratic eating habits.
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend plays out like an intimate one man show. And this relaxed setup works well for Mike Birbiglia. From the awkward demeanor to the punchlines that take a couple of seconds to sink in. Most of all, the show’s intimate setting complements the intimate nature of Mike’s show. This is a story of love and a story of struggle.
Make Happy is just plain old fun. And Bo does everything in his power to make it so. It’s not snooty, and Bo doesn’t expect you to laugh on cue. Make Happy is a mixture of Bo’s self-deprecating humor, his witty lyrics (oh yeah, there’s a lot of singing here), and generally, twists and turns that surprise you. Put this one on, sink into the sofa and just enjoy the ride. Don’t try to predict what’s coming next, because you won’t be able to.
As a stand-up comedy nerd, 3 Mics is one of the most impactful stand-up specials I’ve seen in the last couple of years. Yes, when you’re trying to judge a comedy special, being impactful hardly qualifies. But this one did. 3 Mics is equal parts hilarious, serene, and sad. Brennan takes a unique approach to the tried and tested stand-up show.
There are three mics on the stage and he alternates between them. On the first mic, he’ll read one-liners from index cards, on the second, he’ll tell serious stories about his life, and on the third, he’ll perform the standard issue stand-up.
The surprising thing is that Brennan (who used to write and produce Chappelle’s Show) pulls it off beautifully, and it all comes together in the end.
Aziz’s charm, his delivery, and his take on modern love make this one of the best stand-up specials of all time. Whether he’s talking about the absurdities of marriage proposals or babies, you’ll always find something to relate to.
If you’re a fan of surrealist humor, you should seriously enjoy The Comeback Kid. Mulaney takes his boyish charm, dresses it up in a grandiose fashion and delivers punchlines with a slyness that make it feel like they were almost an afterthought. In this special, Mulaney talks about his marriage, babies, and his interaction with Bill Clinton.
In many ways, Freezing Hot is a traditional observational comedy set. But Iliza Shlesinger’s unique perspective keeps things interesting. Iliza jumps from talking about Pinterest to Call of Duty without missing a beat. Her on-stage aggressiveness just adds to the hilarity.
If Homecoming King feels more like a performance than a stand-up, that’s because it is. Hasan Minhaj’s Homecoming King started out as a one-man show on Broadway. This stand-up comedy special swaps out the brick wall for a giant screen and the handheld mic for a lapel pin.
In Homecoming King, Hasan tells the story of his life. From his experiences growing up as a Muslim-American in the early 2000s to how he landed his job at The Daily Show. Hasan is charismatic and he actually pulls off having a giant screen behind him at all times. Sometimes this screen is used to provide visual context to the stories, sometimes it’s the punchline.
Homecoming King is both heartfelt and hilarious.
If you were a fan of Chappelle’s Show, you’ll like this collection of two stand-up specials. These were recorded in 2015 and 2016. Dave Chappelle brings his classic (sometimes incoherent) storytelling skills back to the stage.
Whether he’s talking about controversial subjects like his meetings with O.J. Simpson or Bill Cosby, he’s constantly challenging the audience (and viewers). But it works. The stories come together, the punchlines kick you in the gut, and there are some truly hilarious gems in there.
Jen Kirkman is her 40s, divorced and right back in the dating pool. In this special, Kirkman talks about her divorce, sex, and yes, dying alone. As stand-up comedies go, this one is a little darker than most, but it works despite, or perhaps because, of this unusual element.
What’s Your Favorite Stand-Up Comedy Special?
So, there’s our pick of the 10 best stand-up comedy specials available to watch on Netflix, but there are many more available. Now that you’ve got the lay of the land, try to look for other specials from your favorite comedians. You’ll usually find a couple of specials right on Netflix. Louis C.K., for instance, has about half a dozen stand-up specials on Netflix. And if you’re ready to move onto another genre, check out Netflix’s vast collection of sitcoms.
Who’s your favorite stand-up comedian around today? And what’s your favorite comedy special of all time? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!