With life not having yet completely returned to normal, we could all use a good laugh. Fortunately, Netflix offers a virtually unlimited library of stand up acts from both upcoming comedians like London Hughes to the late legend Richard Prior. With so many to choose from, you are sure to find a comedian with a style that is right for you. Here are 10 stand up specials that get our seal of approval.
Jim Gaffigan: Cinco
There’s nothing groundbreaking about Gaffigan as a comedian or his material. But sometimes we aren’t looking for something different. He endears himself to audiences with his observations about parenting, his pride in being a couch potato, and his favorite junk foods. The veteran comic with 30 years of performing under his belt is the stand up equivalent of a nice, warm plate of homemade mac & cheese.
Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter Life Crisis
If you’ve already celebrated your 25th birthday, you most likely recall it as a traumatic experience. Tomlinson can certainly relate! The product of Orange County, California discusses the choices she’s made in her young life, bad dates she’s been on, and compares her path in life versus that of her peers, making references to a friend who already has a 7-year-old child but totally shouldn’t. There’s also plenty of self-deprecating humor as well.
Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts and Prayers
If you’re looking for warm, fuzzy wholesome humor, that’s not what you’ll get from Jeselnik’s stand up. However, if you’re a fan of observational comedy that is full of sharp and sarcastic punchlines, you’re in for a treat. Thoughts and Prayers made its Netflix premiere in 2015 around the time Jeselnik’s Comedy Central show The Jeselnik Offensive was canceled, so he had a whole lot of dark things going on in his mind when putting together this special.
Tig Notaro: Happy To Be Here
Notaro made a name for herself in the early 2010s when she incorporated her breast cancer diagnosis and all of the pain and uncertainty that came with it into her stand up act. With Happy to Be Here, which was released in 2018, she is able to focus on the joys of life now that she has beaten the disease. Whether it’s talking about raising two toddlers or her endearing observations about her cat’s silly antics, she is as relatable as ever in this Netflix special.
Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything
There are two reasons to love Oswalt. First, he is a genuinely good person who wants the best for humanity. Second, he has an incredible imagination in which he can conjure up a collection of zany weirdos and outcasts who don’t actually exist in our universe, but who he is able to make vividly come to life through his hilarious stories.
Greg Davies: You Magnificent Beast
The teacher-turned-comedian (and actor) has stated in the past that when he first began his stand up career, coming up with material was easy: all he had to do was visit his father and bring a notebook to jot down his old man’s amusing takes. Sadly, his father has since passed away, but that doesn’t mean Davies is short on ideas. In this stand up special he focuses on the challenges of growing old without losing his sense of humor about it.
Yvonne Orji: Momma, I Made It!
A Primetime Emmy Award nominee, Orji uses her multicultural experiences (she was born in Nigeria but raised in Pennsylvania) to offer commentary on society that is both hilarious and intelligent. Her confidence and command on the stage adds to the enjoyment of her stand up.
Aziz Ansari: Right Now
Nominated for a Grammy for Best Comedy Album in 2020, this was Ansari’s first Netflix special since allegations of sexual misconduct had emerged. The comedian addresses the issue head-on and as a result, many in the media felt the show had helped repair his image. He also discusses such topics as his relationship with his grandmother as well as his take on wokeness.
Maria Bamford: Weakness is the Brand
Hailed by many as the funniest female comic in the world, Bamford brings a blend of surrealism and erraticism with some empathy mixed in. She isn’t timid about discussing her dysfunctional family as well as serious topics such as depression. In Weakness is the Brand, she seeks to understand how the human mind works, and she is able to embody the mindset of others.
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
The comedian from Down Under is changing the way comedy is perceived. Rather than make observations about the world utilizing a heavy dose of ironic detachment, Gadsby makes it very personal. She discusses her upbringing in Tasmania, issues related to sexuality and LGBT, and once-renown male comedians whose inappropriate behavior have made them problematic.