There has never been a better time to get hooked on stand-up comedy. Currently available to stream on Netflix are several stand-up specials sure to bring tears to your eyes and stitches to your sides. Featured comedians include Bill Burr, John Mulaney, Jim Gaffigan, Bo Burnham, Iliza Shlesinger, among many others. Each comedian gives his or her take on a series of topics ranging from single life to the economy. Below are the standouts who provide a comedy routine that’s cringe-worthy, sarcastic, self-deprecating and overall hilarious.
Aziz Ansari: “Live at Madison Square Garden”
Background: Aziz is a first generation American-born child in his family. His parents emigrated from India to South Carolina. At the time, his father was a doctor and his mother was a medical office worker. Aziz Ansari is commonly known for his character Tom Haverford on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” That being said, his resumé includes roles in plenty of movies such as “Observe and Report,” “I Love You, Man,” “Funny People,” “Get Him to the Greek” and “30 Minutes or Less.” Several other of his stand-up comedy specials are featured on Netflix including “Dangerously Delicious,” “Buried Alive,” and “Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening.”
Topics Covered: Emigrating to America, the food industry, Ja Rule, creepy men, honesty, making plans and single people versus people in relationships.
Type of Humor: situational, laugh-at-life, quirky cultural references
SFP? (Safe for Parents): Yes. Aziz keeps it mostly clean and focuses his act on big issues, rather than dirty jokes and anecdotes.
Kevin Hart: “Laugh at My Pain”
Background: Born in Philadelphia, Kevin Hart started his comedic journey entering competitions at comedy clubs. He had small parts in films such as “Scary Movie 3,” “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Superhero Movie” until his small roles became leading ones. Last year, Hart was the lead in three movies including “Ride Along,” “About Last Night” and “Think Like a Man Too.” He had the leading roles in two films already this year and is casted for three more in 2016. Along with “Laugh at My Pain,” other Kevin Hart specials featured on Netflix are “I’m a Grown Man,” “Seriously Funny” and “Let Me Explain.” In “Laught at My Pain,” Hart partly explores his roots in Philadelphia and then performs his stand-up routine.
Topics Covered: Financial situations, his dysfunctional family, childhood.
Type of Humor: self-deprecating
SFP?: Mostly. His material about having a drug addict dad might be a bit squeamish for parents. Other than that, it’s a pretty clean routine.
Best Line: “Look, my grandmom is the king of fake pass-outs. She’ll pass out for three seconds, wait, and then peek to see if anybody looking.”
Donald Glover: “Weirdo”
Background: In 2006, Donald Glover graduated from New York University with a degree in Dramatic Writing. Soon after he became the executive story editor for NBC’s “30 Rock.” Since then he’s starred in 89 episodes as Troy Barnes in NBC’s “Community.” Glover was also part of the comedic trio Derrick Comedy, which produced skits for Youtube and eventually made a movie. His movie credits include roles in “The To-Do List,” “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and “The Lazarus Effect.” He is also commonly known as the Grammy-nominated rapper Childish Gambino with hits such as “3005” and “Heartbeat.”
Topics Covered: Childhood, running for Spiderman, acting, weird music, homeless people, the n-word, evil children, babies vs. AIDS, Coco Puffs.
Type of Humor: self-deprecating, situational, quirky cultural references, dirty.
SFP?: Definitely not. Glover gives his audience a fair warning in the beginning by saying, “I feel bad for a lot of people who come to the show because they bring their kids and stuff and I’m just like D*CKS D*CKS D*CKS”
Best Line: “And the bear isn’t eating Kanye because he has so much respect for him.”
Louis C.K.: “Hilarious”
Background: Louis C.K. has quite the writing portfolio. Among the shows he has written for are “Late Night with Conan O’ Brien,” “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Chris Rock Show” and “Saturday Night Live.” He also writes and stars in his own show “Louie” on FX, which is heading into its fifth season.
Topics Covered: Single life, clubs, the economy, parenting, depression, divorce, misogyny
Type of Humor: deadpan, dark, self-deprecating.
SFP?: No. Louis includes cringe-worthy material for any age.
Best Line: “Technical high school—that’s where dreams are narrowed down.”
Chelsea Peretti: “One of the Greats”
Background: Peretti is typically known for her role on Fox’s “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” as Gina Linetti. She attended elementary school with her “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” co-star Andy Samberg and graduated from Barnard College in 2000. She wrote, starred and produced Comedy Central’s “Kroll Show.” Peretti’s character Gina in “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” is as sarcastic and one-toned as her stand-up. In “One of the Greats,” the camera cuts to random people Peretti has placed into the audience…including dogs.
Topics Covered: the male sex, small talk, parties, dogs, confidence, air travel, sexting, being in a relationship, engagement, using the restroom
Type of Humor: sarcastic, ironic
SFP?: Yes. Her routine is rather clean and straightforward.
Best Line: “Do you guys think it’s worse to wear a Fedora or kill 15 people?”
Nick Offerman: “American Ham”
Background: Nick Offerman is most recognized for his role as Ron Swanson on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” Other television shows Offerman has appeared include “Children’s Hospital,” “Fargo,” “Drunk History,” “Gilmore Girls,” and “George Lopez.” He’s starred in popular movies such as “We’re the Millers” and “21 Jump Street” along with the sequel, “22 Jump Street.” In “American Ham,” Offerman is just as Ron Swanson as ever.
Topics Covered: romanticism, manners, hobbies, red meat, the outdoors, drugs and alcohol
Type of Humor: deadpan
SFP?: For the most part. Offerman focuses more on being manly than he does on being dirty.
Best Line: “But when Jesus said something like ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’– I heard that in Sunday school and I said, ‘f***ing nailed it, Jesus.’
Sammi Brennan can be reached at Samantha.Brennan@spartans.ut.edu.