If you haven’t noticed, Netflix has really gone in on stand-up comedy. Not only do they have some Netflix Originals, but they have a vast catalog of stand-up specials that date back decades. While good comedy is very subjective, we feel confident telling you these 10 specials are definitely worth your time.
Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion
We can safely say that Zach Galifianakis’s special is unlike any other stand-up special you’ve ever seen. For starters, it’s really a performance piece, with his stand-up mixed in with clips of “Seth,” his twin brother, being interviewed. You get the feeling Zach was just talking to some friends and said, “I’m going to do this crazy, drunk thing on stage as my whole act,” and they all laughed. Then he did it.
Eddie Murphy: Delirious
Not only is this one of the best stand-up specials on Netflix, it’s one of the best stand-up specials of all time. In a now iconic all red outfit, a 22-year-old Murphy loudly made his mark on the comedy world. With enough energy to make your heart race, Murphy commands the stage like the superstar he was set to become.
Maria Bamford: The Special Special Special
The sad truth every budding comedian learns is: there are a lot of great joke writers out there. Being able to write a good joke isn’t enough—you need to be unique. Want to see what that means? Watch Maria Bamford. She’s legendary for her style, which will never be replicated. In this special she performs for a special audience—her parents.
Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater
Louis is the comedian even comedians are jealous of. Despite working on an award-winning show, he crafts a new hour on a yearly basis. Of all those hours, this is our favorite. The recording of his 2011 performance at the Beacon Theater won him an Emmy, and it’s filled with classic Louie angst, depression and anger.
Bo Burnham: What.
At one point in time, Bo Burnham was the wunderkind of comedy. He started his bizarre brand of musical comedy at the age of 16, and quickly rose to stardum. Later in his career, at the ripe old age of 23, he put out this special, which is filled with slightly more polished weirdness.
Tom Segura: Completely Normal
Tom Segura has a soothing voice, and it has a way of lulling you into his punchlines. He pairs that easy, breezy style with some impressive observational humor, which is all on display in Completely Normal. The guy deserves a bigger following, and this special will prove it to you.
Jim Jefferies: BARE
Jim Jefferies is the best comedian no one seems to know. We mean, some people know him, obviously, but he should be up there with the biggest names in comedy. If you’re discovering him for the first time, expect this—a masterful storyteller with a penchant for drunken guy talk. Imagine being at the bar, shooting the shit with your friends, but one of your friends is a genius at telling a slightly messed up story.
Gary Gulman: In This Economy?
We first saw Gary Gulman many, many years ago when he was the feature act for Dane Cook. (We know, we know, but everyone loved Dane at that time.) Their styles couldn’t have been more different. Dane’s loud antics were preceded by Gulman, a clever joke writer who your parents might enjoy. But just because his material is mostly clean, don’t think for a second you won’t enjoy some witty takes on Hydrox cookies and old Blockbuster locations.
Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts and Prayers
If you only know Anthony Jeselnik from Last Comic Standing, well, you don’t know Anthony Jeselnik. The former Late Night with Jimmy Fallon writer can craft a damn fine joke that wouldn’t air on either of the aforementioned shows. If you need proof, check out his new special on Netflix. Jeselnik’s material will make you laugh and question whether you’re going to hell for it.
Nick Thune: Folk Hero
Nick Thune has lived on the periphery of Hollywood for a while. He’s been the other guy in that thing, and that dude in the commercial, but, as his stand-up will show you, he should be the lead in something good. Often with an acoustic guitar backdrop, he delivers clever, quick jokes. Fans of Demetri Martin and the late great Mitch Hedberg should give Nick Thune a shot.