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Netflix is famous for many stand-up comedy specials starting from Michelle Wolf’s feminist stand-up specials to Dave Chappelle’s controversial sit-downs.
The comedy world grows every day and we gain new gems of comics each year. We have been getting some of the best stand-ups due to this growth.
When they say write about what you know, comedians can make their traumas sound and look so interesting that millions of people want to hear about it. Stand-up comedians have the talent of turning their life stories, even their traumatic ones, into a comedy special.
You may have been a fan of veteran comics like Chris Rock and David Letterman, but once you give today’s comedians a chance and hear their takes on modern life, you will immediately become a fan of them as well.
And not to mention, watching the best stand-ups helps in definitely lightening the mood.
If you go out in New York, especially Brooklyn, you are bound to come across many comedy clubs where you can watch great stand-ups by legendary comedians. But if you’re an introvert and going out isn’t for you, there are many specials you will find on different streaming services.
You can find many comedy specials on Netflix, and all of them will be worth watching at least once in your life.
Stick to the article till the end then.
A. Comedy in Today’s Generation
We could not have imagined the scale of today’s comedy from a decade ago. The comedy that was written and performed in the past cannot be performed today. Even Steve Carell has said that if “The Office” was made today with the same humor, it would receive a lot of backlash and hate.
This is mainly because people have become more sensitized and inclusive towards all communities of the world. This has allowed comedy to be innocuous and inclusive to all people of the world no matter their preferences.
Many comedians write comedy that does not offend anyone but instead brings everyone in the room together. This is why most of the best stand-ups are viewed by the younger audience.
One such TV show that is inclusive and yet hilarious is “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”, which was created by the great writer Michael Schur, who has also created and co-created The Office, Parks and Recreation, The Good Place, and Master of None.
The comedy in most of these shows is satirical yet inclusive and comprehensible to everyone who watches them. Brooklyn Nine-Nine could be considered one of the best on Netflix if it were one! The humor and frivolity are perfectly handled for today’s political and cultural or even pop culture matters.
There is a very thin line involved when it comes to satirical comedy and offensive comedy. Many people do not see this line and confuse it with the other. This creates a lot of confusion and unnecessary controversy.
Many people misinterpret some things that comedians say or write for their stand-ups. This leads to the backlash towards the comedians. This affects the lives of the comics gravely. They are forced to explain and justify themselves to their fans. Even after this, some people don’t let go of the hate and try to actively ruin the career of the comedian.
Most of the best stand-ups are also the most hated by some audiences because of misinterpretation and one-sided communication.
Another con of today’s comedy is that comedians have to keep in mind that you cannot please everyone. Most comedians have experience with what their audience is going to be like and how they should handle them. They would know exactly how to handle the situation if anything goes south and how to diffuse the situation completely.
But if there is a novice comedian who does not have much experience with different audiences, the feedback they receive can affect their morale tremendously. Many comedians have ended up taking mental health breaks and hiatuses because of what their fans have done and said to and about them.
So as an audience, always keep in mind that it is not the comedian’s job to impress each and every person in the world. This is a heavy weight they carry on their shoulders and try to do their best while performing to not offend anyone seriously.
Dark and Jigsaw written and performed by Daniel Sloss in 2018 is a two-part new stand-up special that was featured on Netflix.
Sloss started his comedy career at a very young age when he was a teenager. The Scot is famous for his incredibly moving comedy special “Jigsaw” which is easily one of the best stand-ups on Netflix.
Daniel Sloss’s shows are not your traditional stand-up. He does anecdotal comedy in his comedy specials which usually consists of wildly introspective matters and profound storylines mixed with dark humor and sarcasm. His shows usually start with a premise and as he gets to the end, reveal the end of the story.
A fun fact about the title of this show is that Sloss named it “Dark” because he was annoyed with people calling his humor dark, and hence decided to put it as a warning sign before they watched the show.
In his first stand-up special featured on Netflix, Sloss talks about his sister who suffered from cerebral palsy. The show starts with him joking about how he and his family had to take care of his “disabled sister” but soon takes a dark turn when he reveals what actually happened to her.
Like most comedians, joking about trauma is a coping mechanism that comes naturally to Sloss. He says that everyone has different coping mechanisms and some people like to talk about it through comedy.
The most admirable thing about this special is Sloss’s delivery. He has toured with this show for months and yet, in the end, his delivery is always captivating and commendable.
In Jigsaw, Sloss’s second stand-up comedy special, Daniel talks about his previous show Dark, and the different reactions he faced about it. The main plot of the stand-up is about his past relationships. He mainly talks about his previous toxic relationship and makes the audience laugh by cracking jokes about it.
The crescendo of the stand-up is when Daniel delivers a soliloquy about soulmates and the one true love. He gives mind-shattering relationship advice about wasting your time and energy on someone who you’re not going to be with.
This set really moved everyone in the audience. This specific set is why the comic got featured on Netflix for a stand-up special.
It had an impact on whoever watched the show. It was even reported that after watching the show, couples started realizing their mistakes and broke up/ started getting divorced.
Sloss has said on multiple occasions that many people “have come up to me and asked me to sign their divorce papers saying that – hey I broke up because of you“
Not only this, but he has also kept track of the number of breakups and divorces that took place because of what he said on his comedy special Jigsaw. This stand-up special is responsible for 120,000 breakups and counting.
His other stand-up specials include Dark (which is on Netflix, X, and Hubris. He also published a book named “Everyone You Hate is Going to Die” where he talks about his life.
Robert Pickering “Bo” Burham is a famous American writer, singer, director, and filmmaker along with being a hilarious comic who has been doing stand-up since 2006. He is most famous for his musical comedy.
He is a singer-songwriter and anti-humor comedian all in one. This is why his shows are considered some of the best on Netflix. One can say that he sings his humor.
He has performed many comedy specials but the one that stands out the most is his recent Netflix special “Inside“.
Burnham went underground for a long time before surprising his fans with this Lockdown special. Burnham wrote and recorded “Inside” all on his own inside a small room in his house for over a year.
In the musical stand-up special, he talks -or rather sings- about mental health and depression during the COVID-19 lockdown. This relatability of mental health during the pandemic is why people consider it one of the best stand-ups.
Bo Burnham has a special way of exploring comedy and expressing it to his audience mainly because he is so good with his lyrics.
On the Netflix special, he does not hold back from hiding his mental health and tries to normalize it by showing his fans that he too, like everyone else went through the same ups and downs during this crucial, difficult time.
Burnham uses physical comedy along with one-liners to engage his audience and reel them into his captivating musical humor. His talent for using comedy and satire in his music is what makes him so loved in the comedy world.
During the act, he also explained his reason for the hiatus. In this special, he does bits about dealing with stage fright and social anxiety. Burnham expresses through his special the importance of mental health.
Bo Burnham has two Netflix specials which include “Inside” and “Make Happy“.
Nanette is half the part of a series by Australian comic Hannah Gadsby who rose to fame in her country in 2006. She released her Netflix special in 2018 which drew the attention (and rage) of a lot of people and comics, especially the Caucasian heterosexual male audience.
Hannah was an art history student in her youth and she uses this in her topical comedy to help people and herself understand and see the world from a different perspective. She also uses feminist humor to express her thoughts and views about the world to the audience.
Gadsby is a lesbian comedian who grew up in a very Christian part of Australia. So naturally, her comedy includes stories about how she grew up facing the consequences of being a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
She speaks about homophobia and gendered violence during her time on stage while simultaneously adding frivolity to the stage.
This talent to release the tension in the room while also speaking about heavy topics is what makes Gadsby a great comedian. It is considered one of the best by the LGBTQ+ community.
Nanette starts with simple jokes about Hannah’s life which then turns into a rage-filled intense monologue that tells her life story raw. This monologue is what caught people’s attention in the first place.
Gatsby tells her story of how it happened and asks people who live in fear to stop doing so. She quickly became an inspiration for the LGBTQ+ community and started inspiring everyone to take a stand for who they are. There is no doubt it is considered one of the best stand-ups given the inspiration it provides.
After winning a Peabody Award, Nanette got so famous and influential that Hannah Gadsby got signed to another Netflix stand-up special “Douglas” (2020) which is also one of the best stand-ups where she addresses different life problems that people of the community go through. Gadsby is also the co-writer of the Netflix series “Please Like Me” starring Josh Thomas.
Another Australian comic who is part of the LGBTQ+ community is Rhys Nicholson who is well-known for adding his relationships and life stories to his bits.
A blend of heritage comedy and anecdotal comedy comes together when Hasan Minhaj gets on stage.
Hasan Minhaj started doing stand-ups in 2006 in San Fransisco. He got his Netflix debut “Homecoming King” in 2017. This stand-up special attracted many audiences who could relate to him.
The relatability of Minhaj’s special is what makes it one of the best stand-ups.
In Homecoming King, Minhaj addresses the racism he faced throughout his life, cracks jokes about his previous relationships, and talks about his high school experience.
As the name suggests, this stand-up premise is Minhaj’s experience with his high school homecoming and the struggles he faced as a brown man living in the States after 9/11. He started grabbing people’s attention because of the truth he spoke.
This stand-up aroused a lot of response from his audience because of the experiences he spoke about.
Hasan Minhaj is an American citizen of Indian ethnicity. His life hasn’t been easy in the States. Racism followed him and his family everywhere he went. But this did not stop him from achieving his dreams. He got on stage and spoke about it and inspired many people who could relate to him.
In this stand-up special, the comic expresses the injustice he went through during 9/11 and engages with his fellow audience of the same color through a heartfelt mutual understanding of the pain. This stand-up special also received a Peabody Award.
Hasan Minhaj is also a topical comedian and is considered among some of the best topical stand-up comedians to exist like Dave Chappelle, Bill Burr, David Letterman, and Chris Rock (also some of the comedians Minhaj was influenced and inspired by).
He took upon a political television talk show on Netflix to express his views and opinions on current matters.
Minhaj got his Netflix show “Patriot Act” (2018-2020) which was a political talk show. This series was where controversial politics met comedy. Netflix canceled the show after its long-running 6 seasons.
John Mulaney is an American stand-up comedian with two stand-up specials on Netflix. He is also a writer for numerous shows and movies and is a writer for Saturday Night Live which he has also hosted three times. He also created the recurring character “Stefon” on SNL.
His specialty is hilarious stories and anecdotes from his life, topical comedy, self-deprecating humor, and observational comedy. Mulaney is a well-known comedian in the Comedy industry and his specials are considered some of the best stand-ups.
The Comeback Kid (2015), his third stand-up special was toured right after Mulaney got married, so there is a lot of marriage humor involved in this special.
It is considered one of the best stand-ups by the millennial audience because of its marriage humor. He also includes his opinions on babies and how they hate him. Mulaney is an observational comic which means he jokes about the things he finds in everyday life.
Mulaney received an Emmy for this outstanding comedy stand-up special.
The Comeback Kid addresses the consequences of marrying the person you love and everything related to it like real estate and house decor!
Mulaney puts through his humor to answer the question, of how much a marriage costs. His humor is relatable to the audience
A fun fact about the title of this special is that it was the nickname given to the 42nd POTUS Bill Clinton, who is also spoken about multiple times in this comedy special. Mulaney has also slyly called himself The Comeback Kid since this stand-up was performed after a small hiatus taken by the busy comic.
Mulaney also talks about his substance and alcohol abuse and the struggles and consequences faced because of it. Although he is not the type of comic to write about his personal life in his comedy and stand-ups, he did address some of his fans’ burning questions.
Mulaney is a great comedy writer and has written for many movies, one of his most famous ones being Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, where he played Spider-Ham, a variant of Spider-Man. Many Mulaney fans became Spider-Man fans after watching this movie because of him.
John Mulaney’s second Netflix special “Kid Gorgeous at Radio City” was released in 2018. Kid Gorgeous also won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Variety Special.
Ali Wong is an American writer of Chinese-Vietnamese ethnicity which she commonly jokes about. She is an extremely talented writer and has showcased her talent on the hit series “Fresh Off the Boat” that aired on Comedy Central. She has also written and acted in a Netflix Film “Always Be My Maybe.“
Ali Wong has made a guest appearance on numerous TV shows like “Big Mouth” which is written and voice acted by Nick Kroll, and “BoJack Horseman” which is famous for its profound episode endings and revelations. Both of these shows are Netflix shows.
Ali has also starred in the infamous “American Housewife.”
Wong has hilariously kept up her bit about coming up with a comedy special every time she is pregnant. Whether this is a lucky coincidence that can ironically only happen to a comedian or just an inside joke, we will never know!
The first time she was pregnant she debuted her Netflix special “Baby Cobra” and the second time in 2018 when she got pregnant she wrote and recorded “Hard Knock Wife” in which she jokes about being a mom.
Baby Cobra, Wong’s first Netflix stand-up comedy special “Baby Cobra” that aired in 2016 that she famously performed while being 7 months pregnant, took on her sex life, Asian stereotypes, her story about how she met her husband, her struggles of working while pregnant, and her hilarious take on Feminism. This special had the crowd gasping for air as she delivered her anecdotal and empirical comedy to the audience.
Ali starts her show off by acknowledging the elephant in the room and joking about her pregnancy. She uses self-deprecating humor in her stand-up comedy and allows herself to let go on stage.
During her time on stage, she talks about her miscarriage and expresses her opinions on how it should be normalized since talking about it is sort of taboo in the world. Coping with her miscarriage through comedy helps Wong deal with it. Its dark yet hilarious aspects make this a special one.
Wong jokes about trying to trap her Harvard-business Graduate of a husband so that she doesn’t need to work anymore but the hilarity of it is the punchline at the end of the show when she reveals that he is the one that did the trapping.
Dave Chappelle may be one of the most famous and controversial comics out there.
He is an American topical comedian who has influenced billions of people all over the world. He is one of the many comedians who have made a difference in the world.
The legendary comedian has as many as 5 stand-up specials on Netflix. He is an incredibly influential man who has led many young comedians to pursue their passion for doing stand-ups.
His comedy is similar to Bill Burr’s stand-ups. Chappelle mixes his personal life with his comedy rarely. Only when he is delivering anecdotal comedy does he bring up his own life?
Chappelle had his own show called “Chappelle’s Show” which ran from 2003 to 2006. He had to quit comedy for a really long time because of the backlash he received from something he said on his show.
His Netflix comedy special “Equanimity” & “The Bird Revelation” a two-part special released on Netflix in 2017 was Chappelle’s comeback show that he performed after 12 years of disappearance from the comedic world.
After 12 years of hiatus, Chappelle came back for one last Netflix special with his stand-up “Equanimity”.
During this special, the first thing he did was address the topic everyone was anticipating. His controversy with the Transgender community. He stated that he has absolutely no problem with the community and supports and believes in them. He also justified his actions by saying that it does not matter to him what group is in front of him, he makes jokes about everyone.
This special also gifts us with his views on current political matters. Chappelle is an outspoken man and says what he thinks. His stand-up consisted of the polls of 2017 that inaugurated Donald Trump as the POTUS.
His hilariously relevant take on voting for Clinton put the audience in one shoe. No matter what differences everyone has in the room, Chappelle has an incredible way of uniting everyone as one American.
7.2 The Bird Revelation
This Netflix special gained a lot of fame after he delivered a topical comedy about sexual assault which was a very important topic taking place in the States at that point.
Expressing his thoughts on the controversy surrounding Louis CK, the comedian who was accused of public indecency and sexual harassment, Chappelle also spoke about racism and slavery.
Chappelle constantly teased his audience by asking them if they wanted to know what happened to him these past 12 years. But at the end of the show, through another story, he indirectly expresses to his audience his opinion on how he was wronged in the past few years.
Dave Chappelle started gaining fame in 2003 on his show “Chappelle’s Show“, where he also gained controversy over things that he did and said.
Even today, not many people have forgiven him for things he did more than a decade ago. Chappelle still says some controversial things but has justified his jokes many times.
C. Other Worth Mentioning
Even though we love the upcoming new comics who are relevant mainly to comedy today, we cannot forget the classics, Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, Eric Andre, Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey, Jenny Slate, Bill Hader, Adam Sandler, Michelle Wolf, etc. who delivered to us the best stand-up comedy that we needed 10 years ago.
- Bill Burr’s “Paper Tiger” which deals with topical comedy and talks about the politics of America is a great special to watch if you are looking for a good laugh but also some political banter.
- Taylor Tomlinson’s “Quarter Life Crisis” is about dealing with your 20s and realistic relationship goals. A cozy, relatable, innocuous special that will surely make you laugh if you’re in a bad mood.
- Ronny Chieng’s “Asian Comedian Destroys America” is great if you’re looking for heritage standup comedy and a light laugh.
- Katheryn Ryan’s “Glitter Room”. In this stand-up, Ryan talks about the advantages and disadvantages of being a working mom in the United States.
- If you aren’t looking for an entire special, and just want to have a good laugh at different genres, “The Comedy Lineup” is a great place to start. This is a 2-part Netflix special that hosted 8 different up-and-coming comedians per season for 15-minute stand-ups each. This series includes 16 different comedians in total, each of them performing their own type of comedy and making the audience gasp for air.
- Another similar series is “The Standups” which has 3 seasons of 6 different comics performing for 30 minutes.
- The comedy world right now is the best era you can experience.