These Are The Comedy Specials You Need To Be Watching On Netflix
Netflix users may turn on the streaming site to watch a movie or TV show, but they may have forgotten that Netflix is also the home of hundreds of original comedy specials. Almost all of today’s biggest comedians have put out at least one.
It’s important to remember that even though there are a ton of options it doesn’t mean that they all are worth watching. John Mulaney, Bo Burnham, and Ellen DeGeneres are just a few of the many comedians who were able to take real-life experiences and turn them into laugh out loud moments for audiences to enjoy.
Pete Davidson: Alive from New York
At 26-years-old Pete Davidson just released his first Netflix comedy special, Alive from New York. He caught the public eye by not only being the youngest cast member in history to join Saturday Night Live, but by his whirlwind dating life with pop star Ariana Grande.
Davidson uses his experiences on SNL, Grande, and more to explain what was really going on behind the scenes with a humorous effect. He does get awkward at some moments, but that’s because he’s revealing very personal information. It gets viewers to notice that his special isn’t some over-the-top staged performance that other comedians have done in the past.
Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh
After a hefty film career, it had been years since Adam Sandler performed his stand-up. His special, 100% Fresh, showed snippets of his many comedy shows where he spoke about marriage, fatherhood, and fame. Similar to his days on Saturday Night Live, Sandler performed a couple of original and comedic songs.
Audiences admitted to feeling teary-eyed at his touching tribute to the late Chris Farley toward the end. Those who have been fans of Sandler since the beginning of his career can appreciate his combination of funny and emotional material with the rush of live audience reactions.
John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid And Kid Gorgeous at Radio City
John Mulaney has proven himself to be one of the most-watched current comedians with multiple specials on Netflix including The Comeback Kid and Kid Gorgeous at Radio City. Both specials received high ratings from critics with The Comeback Kid even earning a 100 percent positive score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Mulaney thrives with his storytelling whether he’s talking about his family, how he got started in entertainment or his unique childhood experiences. His delivery brings laughter the whole way through because he knows which jokes need special emphasis. He is able to be approachable and drops the “better than you” attitude that some comedians bring on stage.
Bo Burnham: Make Happy
Nowadays, many rising stars are building their fan base online. Bo Burnham started uploading comedy videos of himself on YouTube when he was in high school and was able to gain a massive following. This launched his career as a stand-up comic. Netflix had released Burnham’s 2013 special, what., on their platform and the success from that led to his own Netflix special called Make Happy.
Burnham had taken a break from doing stand-up because it was causing him a lot of stress, but he mustered up the courage again recently. Make Happy is his return to the stage with catchy, but honest comedic songs, self-deprecating humor, and perfectly-timed special effects.
Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable
The majority of Ellen DeGeneres’ fans know her from her hit daytime talk show, but she actually got her start in stand-up comedy. It had been many years since she had done stand-up, so she decided she was ready to go back on the road.
Her Netflix special, Relatable, told fans a lot of deeply personal details about her life, including her upbringing in Louisiana, early relationships, and what is was like losing her sitcom. DeGeneres kept a good balance of heartfelt anecdotes and good-natured jokes throughout the one hour and 18-minute piece.
Ali Wong: Baby Cobra And Hard Knock Wife
Ali Wong may have been the first woman to have her own Netflix comedy special while pregnant, not once, but twice. Both her specials, Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife, have Wong wearing animal print dresses and almost ready to pop out her babies.
She isn’t afraid to reveal the most intimate details of her life such as what goes on in her marriage, the reality of being a mom, and more. Her pregnancies don’t slow her down one bit because she is able to lead these specials with an exuberant amount of untamed energy.
Chelsea Peretti: One of the Greats
Some may know her as Gina Linetti on Brooklyn Nine-Nine or being the wife of Jordan Peele, but Chelsea Peretti has been making a huge impact on the comedy world for over a decade. Her Netflix special One of the Greats received a 100 percent positive score on Rotten Tomatoes for being both original and relatable.
Peretti is able to show pure confidence and swagger when she steps on stage and discusses what it’s really like for women in the comedy industry. To keep things entertaining for those watching at home the camera will cut to funny shots of dogs, scarecrows, and more, instead of just showing the audience.
Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust
A lot of the times comedians need to say some pretty outrageous things to get the audience’s attention and that’s something Sarah Silverman doesn’t shy away from. Her special, A Speck of Dust, details what she’s been up to after receiving bad news about her health.
Even in her darkest moments, Silverman is able to make light of the situation making it seem like she’s talking to her dearest friends. A Speck of Dust shows a new side to her comedy with a more mature tone and the overall message that everyone’s just a little speck of dust on this planet who will be gone in a blink.
Jerry Before Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld was the king of sitcoms after leading the cast of Seinfeld for almost a decade in the 1990s. It’s been over two decades since the show ended and now he’s bringing his life full circle by performing his stand-up special Jerry Before Seinfeld at the comedy club where he got his start.
He revisited some of his early material and reminisced about what led him to comedy at such a young age. The special includes never-before-seen photos and videos from Seinfeld’s childhood and the thousands of legal pads he filled with original jokes.
Steve Martin & Martin Short: An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life
Steve Martin and Martin Short’s An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life can be categorized as both a comedy and variety show. The two have been friends for decades and it shows in their back and forth. The performance contains sketches, a conversation between Martin and Short, and Martin’s banjo music.
Overall, the show has a nostalgic tone as the two of them make subtle quips about the other and retell the story of how they met. Even well into the 21st century, the duo proves their age doesn’t hold them back from making fresh comedy.
Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial
Iliza Shlesinger holds the record for having the most Netflix stand-up specials with a total of five so far. They each show her at crucial points of her life, but the one that’s considered to be her best is 2018’s Elder Millennial. Comedians have to be good storytellers and Shlesinger is able to do so while sharing what it’s like being in her mid-30s in the present day.
Some reviewers thought she would only be relatable to young, white females, but plenty of critics refuted that stating she is simply funny and knows how to capture the attention of anyone watching.
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones
Nothing was held back in Dave Chappelle’s Sticks & Stones. He tackled some of today’s biggest rated-R topics and wasn’t afraid to say what’s really on his mind. According to CNBC, Chappelle was paid $60 million to make multiple comedy specials for Netflix and he received a 99 percent fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes for this one.
He covered topics that are usually hushed about such as the wrongdoings by Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, Jussie Smollett, and Louis CK. Chappelle remains unapologetic with his humor and critics compared him to other groundbreaking comedians such as Lenny Bruce and George Carlin.
Jenny Slate: Stage Fright
Even though Jenny Slate has been working in comedy since the mid-2000s she hadn’t released a comedy special until 2019. Stage Fright stands out because it isn’t just stand-up comedy for an hour, but also includes childhood videos, interviews with her family, and Slate giving a tour of her childhood home before it was sold.
She covered topics including the ghosts in her house, overcoming her nerves, and describing her difficult divorce with the fear of never finding love again. Slate remains authentic, silly, and chaotic while giving viewers a glimpse into her comedic mind.
Chris Rock: Tamborine
Directed by fellow comedian Bo Burnham, Tamborine is Chris Rock’s return to stand-up comedy after an almost decade long hiatus. The special received a 100 percent certified fresh score from Rotten Tomatoes and proved Rock hadn’t lost his touch performing for a crowd.
He gave insightful commentary on some contemporary issues and mixed in stories from his personal life including fatherhood and marriage. Rock ditched his usual gaudy suits for a more sleek black tee, which went with his newly subdued delivery. The special is quite provocative though and has the ability to offend some viewers.
Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King
The perfect place for Hasan Minhaj to perform his Netflix special, Homecoming King, was his hometown of Davis, California. Minhaj was aware early on that he didn’t quite fit in with his classmates, so his comedy delves into what it was like growing up as a Muslim American.
He covers topics such as racism in America, having immigrant parents, and what happened to him on prom night. Reviewers were able to tell how his act was polished and professional, yet inviting. His personal stories were both hilarious and heartbreaking, giving real emotion to his set.
Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah
When Tiffany Haddish is onstage for anything, she likes to do it big. She decided to celebrate her 40th birthday with the release of her special Black Mitzvah. It started with her doing a big musical number while being carried to the audience by a group of young men.
In her special Haddish shared her road to fame and the hardships she had to overcome in childhood. She decided to call it Black Mitzvah because she discovered her father was Jewish late in life and wanted to have an actual bat mitzvah in adulthood.
Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, Thank God for Jokes, And The New One
Mike Birbiglia’s signature comedic style is long-form comedy and that’s how he set up his three Netflix specials My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, Thank God for Jokes, and The New One. My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend has Birbiglia weaving in humor while talking about his struggles with love.
In Thank God for Jokes, he was able to fully connect to the audience and share enough about himself where viewers knew his past, present, and future. Netflix was also able to film his one-man Broadway and comedy show called The New One. It showed Birbiglia at a new point in his life with fatherhood and reviewers said that he told stories very vividly, no matter how embarrassing.
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
Most hadn’t heard of comedian Hannah Gadsby before her Netflix comedy special Nanette. IMDb user rafaelpintora stated, “This content is about connection and Hannah makes us feel connected.” Her special is ranked number one on Rotten Tomatoes’ list of the 50 best Netflix stand-up comedy shows where she received a 100 percent certified fresh score.
Gadsby doesn’t shy away from the intimate details of her life and talks about growing up in Tasmania and feeling like an outsider for things she couldn’t control. She turns her internal pain into stories about strength, rage, and humor.
Jim Gaffigan: Cinco
A lot of comedians rely on huge shock factors to get attention, but Jim Gaffigan doesn’t need to go overboard. His TV-14-rated special Cinco is tamer than most with jokes about his kids, food, and technology, which means families can have something to laugh about together.
AV Club called him one of the ” most intelligent observational humorists” because his signature shtick of sharing the awkwardness of everyday life continues to be comedy gold in his fifth special. His special is named Cinco partly because he has five kids and uses that to his advantage in his material.
Amy Schumer: The Leather Special And Growing
Amy Schumer has been working on her comedy since the early 2000s and has been lucky enough to have two of her specials on Netflix. The Leather Special was raunchy, gritty, and daring with jokes that will make audiences either laugh in agreement or feel a bit uncomfortable.
Her newest special from 2019 called Growing had Schumer give insight on how much her life had changed after marriage and pregnancy. Critics praised her for hilarious physical expressions and her ability to tackle contemporary taboo topics. It felt as though she was sharing stories with her friends, rather than putting on a show for a crowd.