Laugh until your knees hurt with the best stand-up on Netflix

For most comedians, stand-up comedy is revered as the purist expression of the art form. Though onstage comedy dates back to ancient Greece, contemporary stand-up has its roots in American vaudeville shows and British music halls of the 19th century. From Mark Twain to Kevin Hart, talented orators — regardless of style, race, or gender — have entertained audiences with laughter across the decades.

These days, you don’t have to buy tickets or DVDs to see good comedy — you can get it from the comfort of your favorite recliner. The best stand-up on Netflix spans decades, representing many different comedic styles that reflect both the person delivering the jokes and the era in which the show was recorded. Today, many of comedy’s biggest names have made their way to the red-and-black halls.

The streaming heavyweight boasts a sizable collection of stand-up, both recorded exclusively for Netflix and licensed from other networks. If you’re in the mood for some laughs, a stand-up special is a great choice, especially if you don’t want to commit to one of our picks for the best Netflix movies[1] or best Netflix TV shows[2]. The diverse Netflix catalog can be daunting, however, so we’ve put together this list that features some of the best comedy shows currently streaming on the platform.

If none of this piques your interest, check out what’s new on Netflix for the month of June[3].

Jerry Seinfeld- Jerry Before Seinfeld

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Netflix threw a reported £100 million[4] at Jerry Seinfeld for streaming rights to his Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee series and two stand-up specials, and the comedian’s first special was a return to his famous comedy roots. Jerry Before Seinfeld explores the 63-year-old’s early stand-up career before he became an icon with his titular sitcom in the 1990s. The special is part documentary, part stand-up, and hilarious confirmation that Seinfeld’s brand of humor is timeless. If you’re a die-hard Seinfeld fan, or can stand laughing for nearly an hour, then Jerry Before Seinfeld needs to be in your Instant Queue.

Watch it now on: Netflix[5]

Michael Che — Michael Che Matters

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In his hourlong Netflix special the Saturday Night Live comedian throws you into the most uncomfortable situations and guides you out along a trail of jokes. The sullen face and sharp wit that makes Che’s Weekend Update bits on SNL viral gold are on full display as he tackles racism, gun control, and the confusing theory that evil people from different eras go to the same hell.

You know, all of the tough topics we all think about. Watch it now on: Netflix[6]

Kevin Hart — What Now?

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Anyone who told you stand-up comedy and action films have nothing in common never watched Kevin Hart’s latest special.

The first 15 minutes of Hart’s 2016 performance has him pissing Don Cheadle off during a game of poker, fighting evil henchmen with Halle Berry, and cleaning blood off himself before jettisoning from under the Lincoln Financial Field stage in Philadelphia. Once he starts, it’s an avalanche of humorous tidbits about his son being afraid of a glow-in-the-dark Batman, a scary experience while viewing The Conjuring, and what exactly a “preemie week” is. Watch it now on:

Netflix[7]

Aziz Ansari — Buried Alive

Aziz Ansari’s explosive energy and excellent comedic timing help make this special one of our favorites, and he supplements his natural comedic tendencies with a real dedication to research and writing. Though fans of Parks and Rec know Ansari best as the hyperactive Tom Haverford, his stand-up specials — and his popular scripted series Master of None — display his diverse writing chops to go along with his natural talent. Whether he’s in the middle of a well-rehearsed monologue or taking quick-witted jabs at the spectators in the front row, he always seems within himself and on top of his game.

Watch it now on: Netflix[8]

Mike Birbiglia — My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend

Laugh until your knees hurt with the best stand-up on Netflix

While some comics depend on raunchy or ridiculous subject matter, Mike Birbiglia thrives on the ordinary. Nearly all of his material — whether true or not — stems from everyday situations that we’ve all experienced at some point.

This particular show is full of stories about past relationships that would be depressing if Birbiglia wasn’t the one telling them. Predictably, each of these doomed relationships plays out as a preamble to the one he now shares with his wife, Jen Stein. Birbiglia’s casual demeanor imbues the performance with a sense of authenticity, too, as if he actually has no idea how he gets into these situations.

The show flows so naturally that, at times, you feel like you’re just listening to a story from a friend at a cocktail party. Watch it now on: Netflix[9]

Neal Brennan — 3 Mics

If you were a fan of Chappelle’s Show — and who wasn’t? — you’re probably a Neal Brennan fan, even if you didn’t know it.

Brennan, who worked on the show as both a writer and producer, is best known as Chappelle’s creative co-pilot, but he’s also more than capable behind the microphone. 3 Mics sees the comic alternating between three separate styles of performance. At the first mic, Brennan reads one-liners off of cue cards. At the second mic, he tells sincere stories about his life and his insecurities, temporarily abandoning comedy to give the show a sense of weight and authenticity.

At the third mic, he performs traditional stand-up, with long builds in story form. In doing so, Brennan manages to make you feel for him, creating a sense of authenticity that’s often missing from comedy shows. Plus, he’s really funny.

Watch it now on: Netflix[10]

Bo Burnham — what.

Laugh until your knees hurt with the best stand-up on Netflix

Bo Burnham, one of the earliest products of the YouTube generation[11], brings together cynicism, self-deprecation, and musical talent in what. The show features the 23-year-old comic ruminating on a number of topics, ranging from his own sexual preferences to God’s perspective on mankind. Burnham also performs several musical numbers alongside traditional material, and even mimes masturbation in a segment called “Beating Off in A Minor (the key, not the felony).” Quick witted and relatable, the show sees him reflecting on his own identity, both individually and within society as a whole, and skewering cultural trends that most of us have come to accept as the norm.

Watch it now on: Netflix[12]

Bill Burr — I’m Sorry You Feel That Way

This black-and-white Netflix exclusive is a microcosm of Bill Burr’s comedy: Simple, honest, and straight to the point. Burr dispenses with the pre-show theatrics that dot many contemporary comedy specials, and gets right down to business.

In this case, “business” is 80 minutes of Burr saying whatever he wants, and it’s absolutely hilarious. Despite the title, Bill really doesn’t care how you feel about, well, pretty much anything. He’s uniformly unafraid of broaching topics like how local weather affects interracial relationships (his wife is black), and his borderline-arrogant attitude works to drive the show forward.

Burr is simultaneously approachable and intimidating, with a fast-paced New England accent that perfectly underlines his comedic style.

Watch it now on:

Netflix[13]

References

  1. ^ best Netflix movies (www.digitaltrends.com)
  2. ^ best Netflix TV shows (www.digitaltrends.com)
  3. ^ check out what’s new on Netflix for the month of June (www.digitaltrends.com)
  4. ^ £100 million (www.businessinsider.com)
  5. ^ Netflix (www.netflix.com)
  6. ^ Netflix (www.netflix.com)
  7. ^ Netflix (www.netflix.com)
  8. ^ Netflix (www.netflix.com)
  9. ^ Netflix (www.netflix.com)
  10. ^ Netflix (www.netflix.com)
  11. ^ one of the earliest products of the YouTube generation (www.youtube.com)
  12. ^ Netflix (www.netflix.com)
  13. ^ Netflix (www.netflix.com)

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