For the last two years or so, Netflix has been a booming platform for stand up comedy. They’ve even created a campaign called Netflix Is A Joke as a hub for comedians to record and release their specials. Netflix has been cultivating quite the collection of original stand up releases to the point where you may not know where to begin. Here are some of the great ones they have to offer at the moment:
Chris Rock: Tamborine
It was hard to find a comedian bigger than Chris Rock in the late 90’s to early 2000’s. The guy dropped his HBO special Big Ass Jokes and, from there, was propelled into fame for his amazing analysis of modern America. Whether it was political, racial or just observational comedy, Rock found a way to knock it out of the park with back to back specials Bring The Pain and Bigger & Blacker. Rock took the next few years to dabble in television with The Chris Rock Show and even star as the leading man in great sleeper movies like Head of State and I Think I Love My Wife. He fired off two more critically acclaimed specials, Never Scared and Kill The Messenger, before creating what is probably one of your favorite sitcoms of the new millenium. After resting off of that Everybody Hates Chris success for a couple of more years, he released this new Netflix special Tamborine. It chronicles the journey he has taken into maturity in his older age and sheds new light on his favorite topics: family, politics and America.
Nate Bargatze: The Tennessee Kid
The son of an actual party clown grows up to be a stand up comedian with a very matter of fact outlook on the world around him. Nate is an observationalist that has one of the most unique voices and mental processes in modern day comedy. Watch a man take very real and normal life occurrences and tell them in the most entertaining way possible. Nate Bargatze is a real treat and if you have the time to look up some of his older albums I highly recommend it.
Dave Chappelle: Equanimity & The Bird Revelation
Dave Chappelle’s return to stand up came in the form of a Netflix special back in 2017 that was simply titled Dave Chappelle. He addressed some of the aftermath of his speedy Chappelle’s Show departure, the Bill Cosby rape accusations and much more. It was actually a collection of two specials. It had a Los Angeles special titled The Age of Spin and a Texas special titled Deep In The Heart Of Texas. Word began to spread about Chappelle having possibly signed on for another special with Netflix and within that same year he released two more. Equanimity covers his childhood, personal life and a look back at his “give Trump a chance” monologue on SNL. The Bird Revelation is a more calm and seemingly unscripted set from the comedy legend about his time away from show business and the sexual assault issues surfacing in Hollywood. I highly recommend all of the recent Chappelle stand up on Netflix. It is perfect for a chill night in.
Neal Brennan: 3 Mics
Speaking of Chappelle’s Show, co-creator and writer Neal Brennan recently dropped his special 3 Mics. It is more of a one man show than just a stand up special. The crux is, essentially, that he has three microphones on the stage. The first mic is for Mitch Hedberg style one-liners. Mic two is for the more emotional stories and reconciliation in his life. The third and final mic is for some good old fashioned stand up comedy. Brennan combines topical, social talk with meaningful stories. It is something very different from the stand up comedy out today.
Anthony Jeselnik: Fire In The Maternity Ward
While this may not be his first comedy special, it may be his most offensive to date. If you are unfamiliar with the comedy of Anthony Jeselnik, imagine something along the lines of Daniel Tosh or Patrice O’Neal in subject matter. It mostly covers darker material about death, abortion and violence. If you’re not easily disturbed or offended, laughing at such twisted statements acts as a cathartic release. You react because you see this person up there just saying all of the things you probably should not say in front of people. Jeselnik is most known for his sets on Comedy Central Roast and his short-lived, but great, television show The Jeselnik Offensive.
There are too many great comedians with Netflix original specials, so go and sift through the selection they’ve cataloged there for you. Some good stuff to check out on there can include specials from Tom Segura, Bill Burr, Hannibal Buress, and even Louis C.K. (I know, but the dude is hilarious). The most recent big name to drop a Netflix special is Kevin Hart with his new release Irresponsible. In it, he touches upon the cheating scandal that recently affected his relationship with his wife and children. Good comedy is out there, and Netflix seems to be doing their best to expand the platform and give you the means to find it.
Who is your favorite comedian? What kind of comedy do you gravitate towards?