What to Watch: Stand-Up Comedy

May 11, 2020

As audiovisual professionals, our team not only creates videos, but we love to watch them, too. At a time when we all are seeking content to consume, each of the GK Team is offering our top streaming picks.

Our editor and motion graphics artist, Sean is a big fan of stand-up comedy, though he admits like most people, the material can be very hit or miss. Sean tends to enjoy comedians share stories about their personal lives rather than those doing scripted sounding jokes. He says he doesn’t necessarily need to have big laugh after big laugh to enjoy a stand-up special, as long as it feels honest and relatable.

It’s a great time for stand-up comedy, with tons of material on multiple platforms. However, Netflix is King.

My three favorite comedies are Dave Chappelle, Nate Bargatze, and John Mulaney, I recommend looking up anything they have done. With so much great content, it’s nearly impossible to do a top 5 list. Instead, here are the top five comedy specials released on Netflix in 2020 (in no particular order.)

Leslie Jones: Time Machine

I knew Leslie Jones is an entertaining person from what I had seen on SNL, but I had never seen her do stand-up before. I enjoyed this special a lot, she talks about how she’s grown from being in her 20s to now in her 50s, and what she would say to her younger self. She is very animated, super raunchy, and hilarious with some funny crowd work.

Bert Kreischer: Hey Big Boy

Yes, he is shirtless. Most people know him from his Russian mob story – if you haven’t seen it, google it. I think he is a very naturally funny person, but his stand-up can sometimes miss with me. He opens up with “frat boy” humor, as he is known for, but his best stuff comes later when he talks about his family, being a father to two teenage girls, and his dad discovering edibles. It’s very entertaining, and I thought this was his best special to date.

Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis

The title says it all, she’s 25 years old and in an awkward period of her life. She is over partying and doing “young people” things, but is not ready to settle down or commit to a relationship. She is very open and honest about her life decisions, and a great, witty storyteller. Based on her material, you would think she is in her late 30s and maybe been through a marriage or two.

Tom Segura: Ball Hog

He is a very popular comedian and has a lot of specials on Netflix. He is very dark in his humor and in this special, he loves to make you feel awkward and put disturbing thoughts in your head (I’m being vague for a reason.) I enjoy dark humor, and this special had some big laughs. He is hilarious and nothing is off the table with his material.

Chris D’Elia: No Pain

Another naturally funny person with some material that misses with me, sometimes he has me cracking up and other times he feels spastic and unorganized. He is very animated and goofy with voices he does and has a dark sense of humor. I really enjoyed this entire special, and I thought it built momentum and got better as it went on. He was more open about his personal life than he has been in previous specials I’ve seen.

Bonus: Dave Chappelle: The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

Not a stand-up special, but there is plenty of stand-up in this show. It is a mix of the award ceremony and a look back on Dave’s career. Packed with appearances from big-name musicians, actors, and comedians, it is an inside look on what makes Dave Chappelle tick, why he loves the art form, and how he has impacted the rest of the world of comedians.