I’ll start this off by saying comedy is subjective, so my use of the word “best” in the title should be taken lightly. That said, these are the best stand-up specials available on Netflix Instant right now.
EUGENE MIRMAN: VEGAN ON THE WAY TO THE COMPLAIN STORE
Eugene Mirman is the voice of Gene Belcher on Bob’s Burgers and he’s also a very funny dude. His style is very relaxed and he uses props (mostly paintings and pictures) to help enhance his stand-up – I use the word “enhance”, because often times props do the exact opposite. This special includes crowd Q&A, a wedding, and brilliant rant on why New Hampshire has the worst parking laws in the country.
DAVE ATTELL: ROAD WORK
I’ve been a fan of Dave Attell since his days on Insomniac and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn. If you know his style and enjoy it, you’ll love Road Work. He’s a master. Often quoted by many comics as their favorite comic. Instead of filming in a fancy theater, Dave takes Road Work into smaller nightclubs across the country and adds in an audience handheld camera to give the special an intimate setting. He’s unapologetic, completely filthy, and controversial – all while making you laugh uncontrollably… that is unless you suck.
DONALD GLOVER: WEIRDO
Actor, rapper, and stand-up comedian… it seems like there’s nothing this guy can’t do. Donald Glover is known to many by his character Troy on Community or by his stage name Childish Gambino, but I dig his stand-up best (although “Bonfire” is my jam). He’s got some killer bits on this special, but his closing bit on Home Depot takes the cake.
JIM GAFFIGAN: BEYOND THE PALE
Jim Gaffigan’s style is definitely unique and I think of anyone on the list he’s probably the most endearing. He’s pretty much as clean as it gets, so you can watch along with your moms. But just because he doesn’t drop F-bombs every other minute, doesn’t mean he isn’t hilarious. Beyond the Pale is his strongest material IMO and often focuses on observational humor mainly about food… including a epic rant on Hot Pockets that is worth the price of admission alone.
JIM JEFFERIES: BARE
The greatest Australian comic of all time… I say this only really knowing one Australian comic. As opposed to Jim Gaffigan, Jim Jefferies is definitely someone you wouldn’t watch with your mother around. He jokes about about booze, drugs, sex and religion… basically everything that’s NSFW. Bare is best material, but not too far in front of Fully Functional (which is also on instant).
LOUIS CK: CHEWED UP
I debated whether to add Louis to this list, not because he sucks, he’s one of the greatest of all time, I just feel like everyone knows about him at this point. You probably love him or maybe you hate him. If for some reason you are unaware of his work, start with Chewed Up then go from there. You won’t be sorry.
TOM SEGURA: COMPLETELY NORMAL
Completely Normal is one of best stand-up specials I’ve seen in a very long time. Tom Segura’s confident delivery is perfection and every joke kills. His mannerisms are truly unique and no other comic sounds like him. Definitely a must see for comedy fans. SUP KANE!!!
TODD BARRY: CROWD WORK
Todd Barry has been one of my favorite comics for years. I saw him perform last year at The Gotham Comedy Club and one thing I noticed was how awesome he was at crowd work. Well, he decided to do a whole special about it and it kills. Traveling to select clubs across the west coast, Todd just riffs off the audience. No planned act, just spontaneous back and forth with random crowd members – and it really turned out incredible.
DOUG STANHOPE: BEER HALL PUTSCH
Stanhope is a damn legend. If you’re living day to day on this green earth and still haven’t heard about him, I feel bad for you. If you know about him and dislike his work…. I REALLY feel bad for you. He is so forthright and has a comedic vision that cuts through all the bullshit. Sometimes he doesn’t even make me laugh, instead it’s like he’s teaching me something in a humorous way. So, watch and learn.
BILL BURR: I’M SORRY YOU FEEL THAT WAY
Bill Burr is the greatest stand-up working today. I can’t get enough of the guy. From his podcast (The Monday Morning Podcast) to his numerous specials he is always consistently hilarious. Out of everything he’s done, I think I’m Sorry You Feel That Way is his strongest effort. It’s flawless, brutally honest, and has a classic black & white presentation that really fits the material.
OK… technically this isn’t a stand-up special. It’s a documentary. But it’s a documentary that includes a historic stand-up set and it’s f’ing hilarious… so I’m adding it. I love Tig Notaro. I really didn’t know a ton about her before going into this beside seeing her on Conan, but she’s awesome and this documentary is really worth investing your time if you’re into how a comic processes life and incorporates it into their work.