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15 Best Stand Up Comedy Specials On Netflix

15 Best Stand Up Comedy Specials On Netflix

If you haven’t taken a deep dive into the stand up comedy section of Netflix, then I highly recommend that you do. Watching stand up comedy is such a fun experience because it feels great to giggle!

Stand up comedy is a great way to take a break and escape from your everyday struggles and the real world because it helps you find the brighter side of life. Some even say that “laughter is the best medicine,” probably besides medicine. Stand up comedy is an old and simple art form that makes you realize that sometimes it is just fun to have fun.

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I love going to comedy shows and I have been going for a long time. My favorite part about watching comedy is watching the process of joke writing. I used to go see John Mulaney every time he had a show and one time he came onstage with a bunch of journals and just sifted through them for an hour. He would take a couple minutes in silence just reading the jokes and then reciting a joke or even an idea for a joke to see if the audience laughed. I kept going to his shows after that and watched his whole process of writing his Kid Gorgeous stand up comedy special.

I also have seen Bo Burnham so many times that I have seen him stop mid-song and say “I don’t have an ending yet” and then at the next show he would do the ending. I have seen Nick Kroll do a Q&A with the audience because he didn’t have any jokes prepared. I have also seen Jenny Slate read a story she wrote onstage because she was “too sad to do comedy” that night so instead read a beautiful story and wept as she read it.

Live comedy is great to see and it is so thrilling and now we have it at our fingertips with Netflix. You can watch incredibly funny and moving comedy specials without even having to go anywhere.

Although I highly recommend going to see live comedy as much as you can, it is way more accessible to view it through Netflix and it can be just as fun. I have discovered so many new stand up comedians that I didn’t know about prior to their Netflix special. Now I have even seen some of them live!

I love watching the Netflix specials because it gives me the same thrill that I have when watching it live. You are definitely in for a good time when you put on a comedy special!

Thankfully, I have watched a lot of specials and I am very qualified to give you my recommendation of the 15 best stand up comedy specials on Netflix:

1. Bo Burnham (Make Happy)

Bo Burnham’s 2016 comedy special Make Happy is a much darker and more mature comedy special than his previous ones. However, Bo Burnham is still up to his silly antics when he does a Lip Sync Battle, attempts to do improv, performs a country song, and makes a peanut butter sandwich while drunk.

The onstage character of Bo Burnham is childlike and goofy and while his stage persona is upbeat, he also manages to dip into the more serious topics but from a unique and hilarious perspective. This special is also Bo Burnham’s last message before taking a break from comedy because he has been doing it for so long.

Bo got discovered when he was 16 from making silly YouTube videos in his room and then was the youngest comedian to have a special on comedy central, at 18 years old. The Make Happy special brings it all full circle when he plays his final song of the special in a dark room alone with his keyboard.

2. Hasan Minhaj (Homecoming King)

Hasan Minhaj, from The Daily Show, has released a beautiful stand up special called Homecoming King. It takes the audience on a journey through his life as a child of Indian-American Immigrants. Minhaj jokes about how, when he was a kid, he wanted to go to Toys-R-Us for his birthday but his dad took him to Home Depot instead. Hasan also talks about his struggles to fit in in High School due to his cultural differences.

The highlight of Homecoming King is watching Minhaj eloquently and truthfully discuss his struggles with being brown in America at this time, without it being a rant about Trump and Muslim bans that have been said before.

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3. John Mulaney (Kid Gorgeous at Radio City)

John Mulaney, formerly a writer for Saturday Night Live, becomes even more coy, relatable, and lovable in his 2018 special Kid Gorgeous. He fits right in with the old Hollywood vibe of the Radio City stage. Mulaney is still the tall, lanky, young looking guy who talks like he is right out of a cartoon. He still loves to talk about his own weird quirks, weird societal norms, and his French Bulldog, Petunia.

His jokes are honest, funny, and right on the nose. For example, he said about attending college, “I paid $120,000 for someone to tell me to read Jane Austen, and then I didn’t.”

4. Mike Birbiglia (My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend)

Kind hearted and lovable Mike Birbiglia, tells the audience the story of how he ended up meeting his girlfriend’s boyfriend. With his slow and elaborate storytelling, he is able to take viewers on a hilarious journey.

Mike Birbiglia is notably an excellent storyteller and that is evident from his work as a writer and director for his films Sleepwalk with me and Don’t Think Twice. Birbiglia also made his Broadway debut in 2017 when he brought his one man stand up show, The New One, to the Cort Theatre. In My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, the way he tells the story is touching and heartfelt.

5. Bo Burnham (What.)

Bo Burnham most previously wrote and directed the film Eighth Grade. However, in 2013 Burnham released his one man show, What., to Netflix. Bo Burnham is not afraid to share his #deep thoughts and sing a song from the perspective of God. He provides the audience with many catchy songs that will leave you repeating the lyrics long after you stop watching. Burnham makes fun of pop culture while also discussing how celebrity status and anxiety go hand-in-hand.

6. Hannah Gadsby (Nanette)

Australian comic, Hannah Gadsby, made a splash when she released her special Nanette on Netflix. Her special makes the audience view comedy in a whole new light. She discusses and analyzes comedy as an art form while making it relate to her life.

Most of Gadsby’s set is about her life experiences as a queer woman. She discusses the hardships she went through in her childhood. She truthfully talks about how comedy and sexuality are related while she also calls out powerful men in comedy, like Louis C.K., for being the issue. Hannah Gadsby is a wonderful joke teller and an even better storyteller and is not afraid to take you on an emotional and funny journey.

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7. Chelsea Peretti (One of the Greats)

Chelsea Peretti is well known for her role as Gina Linetti on the show Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Additionally, Peretti is also recognized for writing on hit television shows, such as Saturday Night Live and Parks and Recreation. So, it makes sense that her special One of the Greats, is packed with fun.

It is satirical, overwritten, and pokes fun at itself. Her special is stuffed with jokes and opinions about comedy. Chelsea Peretti plays an introspective character onstage and not many can pull that off, but she does it stupendously.

8. Nick Kroll and John Mulaney (Oh, Hello on Broadway)

Nick Kroll and John Mulaney, used to act together on the comedy central show called Kroll Show. In Kroll Show they had a very popular skit called Oh, Hello, in which two old men, Gil Faizon (Kroll) and George St. Geegland (Mulaney) would discuss the world around them and often say “Oh, Hello” at the same time. Geegland and Faizon are characters that embody old family members that sometimes make racist jokes and lead the conversation with their uneducated opinions.

Most often, you see comedians poke fun at Millennials because they are seen as an easy target but in Oh, Hello, it is reversed and the older generation is being put under the microscope. However it doesn’t feel like Mulaney and Kroll are making fun of the older generation, instead it feels like they are laughing with them.

9. Ali Wong (Hard Knock Wife)

Ali Wong is redefining the barriers for female comedians. Wong filmed her 2016 special, Baby Cobra, while she was about seven months pregnant. She was fearless in saying raunchy and filthy bro-type jokes and received high praise for it. In 2018, she returned with Hard Knock Wife, which she filmed while even more pregnant this time around.

Wong continues to speak about the unspeakable, how harsh and gross birth and being a mother can be. She doesn’t shy away from truthfully talking about breastfeeding and giving birth. However, she discusses more than her pregnancy and touches on topics like race, dating, and marriage. Hard Knock Wife is not a special you would want to miss out on!

10. Anthony Jeselnik (Thoughts and Prayers)

Anthony Jeselnik is living proof that you can make horrible jokes if you are funny enough. He comes off as a little bit of a psychopath, when he jokes about things that most people wouldn’t, but that’s his whole appeal. Anthony Jeselnik loves to push the envelope and he does that well in his special Thoughts and Prayers. In the special he even says, “What’s funny about Aurora? What’s funny about the Boston Marathon? What’s funny about your grandmother’s funeral? Nothing. Nothing is funny about those things, that’s where I come in.”

Jeselnik delivers excellent one-liners with a monotone attitude and he is also great at writing jokes with surprising punchlines. He is able to joke about anything because he does not make the victim the butt of the joke. In Thoughts and Prayers, Jeselnik’s jokes might but harsh but they are never crude and he discusses cultural issues with kindness hidden behind his aggressive character.

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11. Iliza Shlesinger (Elder Millennial)

Iliza Shlesinger filmed her 2018 Netflix special in an old aircraft carrier in California. Iliza Shlesinger is a comedian who often loves to tell men what it is like to be a woman and she does that in Elder Millennial. Iliza utilizes her special to talk about what it is like to grow out of your twenties and how her priorities have shifted.

Shlesinger recently got engaged, but she openly discusses sex and dating and gives plenty of knowledgable advise about it. Elder Millennial is a surprising special, packed with Iliza’s silly faces and unexpected twists.

12. Donald Glover (Weirdo)

Really, what can’t Donald Glover do? He’s rapper Childish Gambino and creator of the award winning television show, Atlanta. Before all his fame and success, Donald was a Uprights Citizens Brigade improviser and wrote and starred in the comedy cult classic film, Mystery Team. Glovers special, Weirdo, came out when Glover was in the hit television show Community.

It is amazing to watch this special and see where Glover came from. He talks about sex, race, and how there are not enough black superheroes in films. He is silly and extremely charismatic and you can tell why he became so successful.

13. Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher (The Honeymoon Standup Special)

Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher got married right before filming this special, so it is appropriate they are celebrating their honeymoon on tour.

The special is comprised of Kasher and Leggero both doing individual 30-minute sets before getting onstage together to roast real-life couples in the audience. However, they do it in a light-hearted way and tend to relate it back to their own issues as a newly married couple. Their jokes are well-written and hilarious, but the highlight is definitely seeing how happy and in love they are with each other.

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14. Nate Bargatze (The Tennessee Kid)

Nate Bargatze gained recognition from being Jimmy Fallon’s stand-up comic on his late night talk shows. Nate Bargatze is every bit a Southern kid in his special, The Tennessee Kid.

Bargatze is relatable and fun for the whole family, because he is a clean comedian who refrains from swearing on-stage. He discusses traveling, global warming, and fatherhood. Bargatze dumbs himself down to be the butt of his own joke and also pokes fun at the way he was raised, by a dad who is a professional party clown.

15. Adam Devine (Best Time of Our Lives)

Adam Devine usually brings a very strong presence to his films and movies, but in his special, he brings a very calming persona to the stage. Devine definitely adds in crowd pleasing jokes about Pitch Perfect and Workaholics, but his material comes from a fresh perspective. Best Time of Our Lives will have you laughing from start to finish and you will get to see Adam Devine in a whole new light.

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Jaycee Levin is a writer who covers pop culture, astrology, and relationship topics.