Best Comedy Specials: Top 11+ Best in 2023 So Far

Best Comedy Specials
Image Source: Paste Magazine

Whenever the mood strikes, it’s always good to know that Netflix has a wide variety of hilarious standup comedy specials available to stream. We all know that Netflix has been working hard to improve the quality of its movies and TV shows in recent years, but fewer people realize that the streaming service has also become a comedy specials industry powerhouse, boasting a lineup that includes some of the biggest and best names in the business today while also giving rise to the careers of some previously unknown talents. Keep reading to see the top 11 best comedy specials on Netflix.

The following is a complete list of the top Netflix stand-up comedy specials:

#1. Chris Rock, Tamborine

After ten long years, Rock finally hit the stage with a performance full of heart and passion, demonstrating that he grew into a wise elder statesman without losing any of the ferocity of his earlier years. Though his political gags may land differently now that we’re no longer in the midst of Trump’s first term in office, his barbs are still as sharp as ever, and the main meal is his story of becoming a father (and a human being). Bo Burnham’s special gives us the impression that we are watching the funniest therapy session ever. Rock also directed his own version, which adds half an hour of new content for fans who can’t get enough. Performer Chris Rock Although Total Blackout: The Tamborine Extended Cut 2021 lacks the intimacy of the theatrical release, it makes up for it with a plethora of new humor.

Year: 2018

Length: 64 minutes

Rating: TV-MA

#2. BO Burnham: Inside

Bo Burnham: Inside is the latest in the comedian’s long line of increasingly introspective work, and it’s unlike any other comedy special in the way it challenges the medium. The mysterious Bo Burnham wrote, directed, and performed every aspect of this program, which explores his mental state as a result of being in quarantine with the rest of us. The fact that he was able to achieve such astounding results while working within the constraints imposed on him is proof that necessity may serve as the fuel for highly creative work. Featuring some of his best musical and acting work, it effortlessly moves between hilariously silly and introspective moments.

It’s an experience that’s both grand in scope and intimate in delivery, and one that benefits from being seen more than once. With each successive release, Burnham further establishes himself as a leading voice of his generation.

Run Time: 1 hr 27 min

Director: Bo Burnham

#3. Jim Jefferies, Bare

Few comedians can say whatever they want on stage like Jefferies. In this one-hour special, the brash Australian went for everyone’s throat with a sly “telling it like it is” glee. He went on and on about the insanity of America’s response to the plague of gun violence, in addition to sharing gruesome details about his dating life and his appreciation of some painful sex activities. This is why this special’s clips keep popping up throughout the year. In a lengthy bit that is unfortunately still relevant today, Jefferies discusses Australia’s gun prohibition and pokes fun at American gun culture. It was one of the best comedy specials at that time in 2014.

Year: 2014

Length: 76 minutes

Rating: TV-MA

#4. Mark Maron, End Times Fun

Marc Maron is the perfect person to help you laugh off your blues. Only Maron’s particular brand of cheerful sadness, applied to a worldwide existential threat, can redeem the coming end of the world. The sky may be on fire, but at least we remembered to bring our own bags to the supermarket. Even though he claims his job consists solely of “thinking of things that are funny,” Maron shines as one of the most empathetic critiques of our modern existence. His pursuit of the charlatans who are making our time on Earth more unpleasant comes as he confronts the end of the world (and examines his own existence with the philosophy-killing cat Monkey).

Year: 2020

Length: 71 minutes

Rating: TV-MA

#5. John Early, Now More Than Ever

John Early’s creation Now More Than Ever is a skit, stand-up routine, and concert documentary all rolled into one. It’s a rant against millennial society that doubles as an ode to millennial fatigue. In this picture of narcissistic stage presence, Early spends the bulk of the episode strutting his stuff on center stage. It pokes fun at sincerity and clumsily imitates the current trend of musical-comedy specials by interspersing bits of Early’s stand-up with perfectly fake, highly sincere cover songs. The whole thing is ridiculous, and there are probably a dozen themes that aren’t needed that are forced into the concert documentary format and then undermined by the cynicism of the production. 

However, the majority of Now More Than Ever is so clownish and upbeat that it’s easy to overlook the minor lapses. Being cynical has never been more entertaining.

#6. Dave Chappelle, the Age of Spin

Some readers may wish to skip large chunks of The Age of Spin. All of it points to a brilliant comedic mind that, at the ripe old age of 42, is raising its fist at the sky. What works is how straightforward and honest Chapelle is about his disorientation in a modern world he feels he has outgrown. As a result, much of the subject matter feels oddly old, even in 2017. Nevertheless, Chapelle manages to make it all work with astounding insight and clarity. It’s real, and while Chapelle is tough and biting, he’s also trying to put himself in the shoes of today’s youth by reflecting on his own experience of growing up during the time of the Challenger explosion and wondering how today’s youth deal with daily exposure to such tragedy. 

Year: 2017

Length: 67 minutes

Rating: TV-MA

#7. Tom Segura: Sledgehammer

Sledgehammer, starring comedian, novelist, and podcaster Tom Segura (Instant Family) and directed by Ryan Polito, is a racy-as-hell comedy show. Phoenix, Arizona is the setting for Tom Segura: Sledgehammer, a documentary on the comedian’s life and interests, particularly his obsession with Hollywood star Brad Pitt. Nothing appears off-limits for Segura, who includes anecdotes about his own father as well as the difficulties he faces as a parent. Tom Segura: Sledgehammer, featuring Segura’s deadpan approach, discusses uncomfortable truths that parents of all ages may relate to. It is one of the best comedy specials on Netflix in 2023.

Run Time: 1 hr 1 min

Director: Ryan Polito

Cast: Tom Segura

Year: 2023

#8. Bert Kreischer: Razzle Dazzle

Bert Kreischer: Razzle Dazzle is one of the best stand-up comedy specials on Netflix that takes a refreshingly unique approach by having the comedian perform shirtless and sharing stories about his life. It is a hilarious extravaganza thanks to director Jeff Tomsic, who was able to film the entire concert in Omaha, Nebraska, and bring Kreischer’s blatantly comic act to television audiences everywhere. Bert Kreischer: Razzle Dazzle features the comedian’s heartfelt recollections of his boyhood, including his struggles with bullies and his own bullying, as well as his more recent escapades with his family.

Run Time: 1 hr

Director: Jeff Tomsic

Cast: Bert Kreischer

Year: 2023

#9. Natalie Palamides: Nate: A One-Man Show

When it comes to consent and machismo, Nate: A One Man Show is a bold farce that never fails to provoke. One of its strengths is that it deviates significantly from the standard stand-up show format. In addition to raising important concerns about genuine issues, Natalie Palamides is much more provocative and boundary-pushing than those Jurassic stand-up bozos who act as if racism, misogyny, and homophobia are somehow still startling after being the norm for most of human history. Even while watching this comedy on Netflix won’t compare to the thrill, transgression, or hilarity of experiencing it in person, it’s still one of the most memorable things you’ll ever see.

#10. Taylor Tomlinson: Look At You

Tomlinson is the only major comedic breakthrough of the past few years. The comedian who found her footing in a church comedy class is now a major force in the industry, and she’s done with life well in advance of turning thirty. Quarter-Life Crisis is a full manifestation of Taylor Tomlinson’s sarcastic wit delivered with a cheerleading smile, only this time it’s bigger and bolder. She may have gotten over her stage fright, but there’s also the bipolar disease that 1) she just found out about and 2) is the main subject of her program. This could account for your former agitation in front of an audience.

In this special, Tomlinson shows she is unafraid, completely killing a long-form riff in which she equates mental illness to not knowing how to swim, tapping into her unique role as a beloved figure for both older Millennials and the TikTok youth. Being so matter-of-fact, confident, and hilarious, Tomlinson makes the word “brave” feel like a cop-out.

Year: 2022

Length: 60 minutes

Rating: TV-MA

#11. Patton Oswalt, Annihilation

Essentially, Annihilation is a two-for-one comedy special. The first is a lively, ridiculous routine on politics and the weirdness of daily living. The second deals with the pain of parting ways with true love. This stand-up comedy special is a magnum opus to the early stages of great grief; it was written, developed, and delivered in the year following the death of his first wife, crime writer Michelle McNamara. Patton, who formerly mocked Star Wars with affection, is still around, though he has become angrier and messier on his journey to his own peculiar brand of light. The special has the air of someone who is going back to his roots to secure them before building on them with something new.

Year: 2017

Length: 66 minutes

Rating: TV-MA

Trailer: Watch here

#12. Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh

Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh sees the Saturday Night Live alum touring the United States to do stand-up, and musical numbers, and reminisce about his life and career. Sandler has been entertaining people for decades, and his humor is still well-received everywhere he performs, be it at a comedy club, a concert hall, or even a tube station. Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh is a celebration of the comedian’s career that is extremely Sandler. Rob Schneider and Dan Bulla both make appearances. The special is a gorgeous homage to the comic with the egg-shaped skull, directed by Steven Brill and featuring bits from Nicholaus Goossen. 

Run Time: 1 hr 13 min

Director: Steven Brill, Nicholaus Goossen

#13. Kyle Kinane, Shocks and Struts

The purpose of Kyle Kinane’s comedy specials is not to spark new ideas or spark cultural dialogue. They are often low-key performances with a compilation of gags that don’t address any deep philosophical questions or profound epiphanies. They are not typically presented as solo performances. But it is beside the point. Shocks and Struts is proof of Kinane’s superhuman ability to stand on stage and utilize words in odd, interesting ways; he is, after all, a comedy bloodhound with one of the keenest noses for where to discover every stray part of a joke. A pillow joke that travels backward through the innate homosexuality of 17th-century commerce networks. His work for cruise ships evokes a decadent nightmare carnival. His account of a van takes an unexpected turn.

The act-out about a jam band in Shocks and Struts is wonderfully frustrating while remaining practically silent, reminding us that Kinane is so talented that he can do it with no words, too.

Who Is the Indian Comedian in Netflix Special?

Vir Das is the Indian comedian in a Netflix comedy special. Born on May 31, 1979, Vir Das is a comedian, actor, and musician in India. In the Bollywood films Badmaash Company (2010), Delhi Belly (2011), and Go Goa Gone (2013), Das played supporting roles after starting out in stand-up comedy. He made an appearance in the 2017 Netflix movie special Abroad Understanding. Over the course of his career, Das has appeared in 35 plays, 100 stand-up comedy appearances, 18 films, 8 television episodes, and 6 comedy specials. His satirical essays have appeared in Femina, Maxim, Exotica, DNA, and Tehelka, among others. He first appeared on American television in 2019 in the sitcom Whisky Cavalier.

What Is Comedy Central’s Biggest Show?

Comedy Central’s original shows have left an indelible mark on the minds of many viewers. The current owners of HBO, Time-Life, launched the network as a side project. In 1989, they had the idea to create the first cable channel whose only focus was comedy. The rising popularity of specialty channels like MTV and VH1 led to this decision. There was an instant explosion of comedy-centric cable channels in response to the shift, but they quickly fizzled out.

After a period of consolidation, Comedy Central became the dominant player in the cable television comedy genre. Because of its popularity, the channel expanded from showing only old comedies online to making its own high-budget programs. Here is the Central’s biggest show.

#1. Mystery Science Theater 3000

Mystery Science Theatre 3000 is at the top of the list. It debuted in 1989 and ran for seven seasons on Comedy Central. The format of the show was improvisational comedy over classic films with commentary. The plot is about a man named Joel who, while in captivity, is made to watch B films by his mechanical puppet companions. Although it was never meant to be a groundbreaking show, the original premise did a great job of keeping the laughs from getting stale.

#2. South Park 

In 1997, Comedy Central debuted the cartoon comedy South Park. The show follows four kids as they get into all sorts of mischief in the made-up Colorado town of South Park, with the help of parodies of famous people and absurd events. Comedy Central gained a new audience thanks to the show because of how much buzz it generated due to its contentious nature. The show would gain a lot of attention because it was one of the first on television to receive an M-rating. The show would become so well-liked that subscribers would pressure cable providers to add the Comedy Central channel only so they could watch South Park. By 1998, more than half of all American households will have access to Comedy Central, a dizzying surge.

#3. Nathan For You

Canadian comedian Nathan Fielder stars in the comedic series Nathan For You. Beginning in 2013, it ran for four seasons on Comedy Central. Nathan, in this role he plays for himself, is a consultant who hopes his marketing ideas would aid struggling firms. The awkwardness of Nathan and the rapidity with which his advertising strategies get out of control are the show’s defining characteristics. Nathan’s character is socially inept, misreading the reactions of others around him to his obnoxious and uncomfortable antics as signs that they like him. Critics praised the show for its excellent comedy and unflappable awkward energy, and it went on to win critical acclaim.

Has Will Ferrell Ever Done Stand-up?

Yes. After starting off as a stand-up comedian and training with the legendary improv group The Groundlings, Ferrell quickly ascended through the ranks at Saturday Night Live to become a fixture (so much so that SNL creator Lorne Michaels now considers Ferrell one of the “top two or three that have ever done the show”).

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