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Deadpan characters spew out lengthy standup soliloquies in crimped cul-de-sacs. Nobody works the jokes. They just lie there, asking for your consideration, indifferent to your approval. Harsh lighting and ponderous piano frame six storm-tossed travellers pursued by an amorous ape, sheltering in the home of a crazy lady whose sexually deformed son is locked in the cellar. Best known for co-creating the award-winning sitcoms The Office and Extras with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant began his comedy career doing stand-up in his home town of Bristol.

In he and Gervais co-wrote and co-directed the film Cemetery Junction and he has since worked extensively, both writing and performing, in TV and film. He has won four British comedy awards, three Baftas and an Emmy.

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This is my favourite of their films. Most comedy acts try to live within the parameters of society, but the Marx Brothers are like crazy animated characters walking over furniture and over conventions. Everything is fair game for them to mock and they have no respect for anything: authority, people, danger or each other.


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He had this character on the show called MacGruber, who was essentially a pastiche of action movie hero characters, like Bruce Willis in Die Hard. The sketches were quite popular and then they made a film, which was essentially considered a flop at the time. It never seems to go for the obvious joke. They squeeze every drop of funny out of it; you never feel shortchanged.

When we were making The Office , around the same time this film came out, we also played a lot on discomfort and awkwardness, and I think they did that really well in this film. Being given a polygraph test by your prospective father-in-law is just such a great idea for comedy. Martin Scorsese for me is one of the great underrated comedy directors. I grew up watching Bob Hope films with my dad.

The rapport that he had with Bing Crosby in this film is just delicious. He was subversive. I first saw Swingers when I was reviewing films for a magazine in Bristol. Within five or 10 minutes, I was completely enamoured of the actors and their world. It captured something about the way that men speak to each other in their early 20s, the attempts at machismo and the vulnerability behind that.

I watched it again recently. It absolutely nails everything about those times when you were trying to be cooler than you were or sexier or wittier or smarter. In , after years on the comedy circuit, Bridget Christie won the Edinburgh comedy award for best show with her feminist-themed A Bic for Her.

Christie, now 45, studied at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in Wandsworth and later fell into standup. Details at bridgetchristie. I love this mockumentary comedy film so much I can watch it again and again. And it has dogs in it. It follows five entrants four couples and one man as they travel to, and compete in, a dog show with their beloved pets. Knowing that much of the dialogue was improvised makes it all the more impressive. Eugene Levy and Jane Lynch are especially sublime, but all the performances are glorious.

This black comedy stars Robert De Niro as Rupert Pupkin, an aspiring, unsuccessful standup comedian and fantasist. Pupkin, a stage-door autograph hunter, briefly meets the famous comedian and talkshow host Jerry Langford Jerry Lewis when he is mobbed by fans. After constant rejections from Langford, Pupkin becomes increasingly psychopathic and eventually kidnaps him. Also picked by Tim Key , who says: Scorsese and De Niro have a crack at comedy here and it turns out pretty well, actually. One of their greatest collaborations.

A satire on the behaviour of heavy metal bands and a parody of rock documentaries of the time, this classic follows a fictional British heavy metal band, Spinal Tap, on tour. Mainly improvised, and directed by Rob Reiner, it is a comedic masterpiece from start to finish. My family and I were obsessed with it in the s. Raised in Crawley, Ranganathan was a maths teacher before becoming a comedian in His standup show Irrational is out now on DVD and digital download. Steve Martin and John Candy play two terribly matched travelling companions trying to get home for Thanksgiving.

This film is the perfect odd couple road movie. It has two stunning performances from the leads and manages to transform a familiar comic set-up into something that feels completely new and exciting. The film would be brilliant even without the emotional gut punch of the finale. Three scientists and a regular fella form a team of paranormal investigators and save the world. The acting is superb — Bill Murray manages to make someone bordering on predatory feel charming and hilarious and Dan Aykroyd manages the near impossible task of making puppy-dog enthusiasm funny.

Billy Bob Thornton plays a horrible, horrible conman using a job as a department store Santa to rob the stores. The bickering between him and his elf Tony Cox is achingly funny and the relationship with the child he befriends is beautifully and hilariously played out. This film is Eddie Murphy at his very best, playing a range of characters, and not in a rubbish way like in The Nutty Professor. Arsenio Hall is excellent as his right-hand man and James Earl Jones nails comedy with gravitas.

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels play two idiots. On paper, I should hate this film, a story of a quest undertaken by two nuclear-level morons, but it is brilliant. The Farrellys say that the script sat on their shelf for years, when they would occasionally bring it out and read it to friends. This development process was obviously effective, as the gag rate on the film is astonishing. When Harry had to deal with a failing toilet at the beginning of a date I had to pause the film because I was laughing so much.

The 12 Best Stand-up Comedy Specials on Netflix in 2018

It is lowbrow for sure, but excellent. Shame the sequel was so breathtakingly dire. Brought up in Cambridgeshire, actor and poet Tim Key won the Edinburgh comedy award for The Slutcracker and has since toured several acclaimed standup shows. I used to have that iconic image on my wall of Harold Lloyd dangling off that clock. I never really considered what the feature film it came from might be like until a couple of years ago. Well, the feature is called Safety Last! A sweet, sweet tale about a young man trying to earn money in the big city to send back to his fiance.

Working hard. Being sneaky. Wonderful film. Even better than the poster. The little guy, getting hosed down by the alpha males at the office, as they borrow the keys to his apartment and romance their mistresses in there. Poor old Jack Lemmon.

He plays the underdog to a T, bumbling, put upon, kicking his heels in the streets as these fiends enjoy his central heating. And, ultimately, Lemmon winning. I love Nuts in May. Alison Steadman and Roger Sloman are breathtaking as the self-righteous holidayers. I came late to Nuts in May. I saw it on the BBC as an adult already working in comedy and it just felt so ahead of its time in terms of its underplayed comedy performances, which we would later see in The Office.

I think Mike Leigh left with some actors who have nothing to do but put up with each other is Mike Leigh at his best. This is that classic comedy staple, the Belgian serial killer mockumentary. Offerman styled and structured his special a bit differently than the rest of the lot here. It's slower-paced but still entertaining, like an old wooden roller coaster. The longtime writer and on-air contributor for Chelsea Lately combines solid material and impeccable timing to explain how families ruin weddings.

It's a convincing case. Kirkman also shares a story about the time she impressed a year-old with her bachelorette cougar pad, and pokes fun at parents who practice toddler empowerment.


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  7. Another Kirkman! One special isn't discernibly better than the other, so it made sense to stack them -- either you'll like both or neither.

    In this dispatch, she dissects the benefits and limitations of meditation, explores human reproduction, and reveals the inspiration for her unironic ankle tattoo. The Brooklyn Nine-Nine star brings her act to San Francisco to discuss thwarting unwanted hugs, the difference between "vomit" and "shit" families, and encountering negative material about yourself on the internet. Peretti delivers solid observational humor punctuated with even better timing.

    Absurd and entertaining material helps us forgive the Undateable actor for cracking himself up on stage. This is self-deprecating comedy at its best. Morin lays it on thick with the penis jokes, so come ready. Folks who like the cynical or blue acts may not take to Iglesias, but entertaining the entire family requires skills. Using a range of sounds and expressions, the comedian is like a one-man, live version of a Simpsons episode.

    His hour-and-a-half-long special is fully loaded, and reveals Arnold Schwarzenegger's secret for efficiently meeting and greeting scores of fans. Phil's medical credentials. The Canada-born, UK-based comic makes being funny look effortless as she jokes about parenting, pets, what US immigration to Canada might look like, and casually flirts with an audience member.

    Cinco might be Gaffigan's fifth-funniest special. He dials back his trademark Church Lady-like inner voice for a solid round of PG-rated comedy. But for a veteran, "fifth-funniest" is still a must-watch -- Gaffigan has set the bar very high for himself. Like Gaffigan's Cinco , Comedy Camisado isn't Buress at his finest he can't take down an alleged serial rapist in every set , but a misplaced jab from Hannibal still delivers a good punch. Netflix unveiled this special shortly after Donald Trump's inauguration so the Texas-born Mexican comic's barbs about the new president's impending wall or fence along the US-Mexico border stung even harder.

    Alonzo goes beyond politics and talks about growing up with an immigrant mother raising a family too poor to have allergies.

    Best Stand Up Comedy on Netflix: Original Specials to Watch Right Now - Thrillist

    She also hilariously hits on some frustrating problems that are now obsolete, like having to buy a CD for just one song. Coming from the wave of specials, the extra-cynical Burr trots out a fresh parade of horrible things, including a terrible but seemingly plausible method for population control and why Joseph Stalin gets overshadowed by Adolf Hitler.

    It's classic Burr, full of rage, exasperation, and that kind-of-deranged look on his face. The history-minded Quinn takes a figurative tour through the city's various inhabitants and vices. It's conversational, authentic, and funny, in Quinn's typical style. It's not an original observation, but Che seems more in his element when riffing from his memory bank on stage than from cue cards set up in front of the "Weekend Update" desk on Saturday Night Live.

    In this November special, the comic cleverly covers a range of social and political issues, like gun control, homophobia, and President Trump. The veteran tells the tale of the worst set he ever had, in Roanoke, Virginia in It's mostly been up from there, as the jovial-while-enraged Oswalt explains with a gift for storytelling and relatable punch lines. The observational tactician nails it in this one, compared with the funny-but-not-quite-as-great follow-up, Live at Madison Square Garden.

    In his frenetic, giggling, eyes-wide-open style, Ansari riffs on parents of young children, marriage, and how incredibly excited people get when they witness magic tricks. On stage, Jeselnik is an unapologetically offensive jerk. Maybe in real life, too -- but on stage, the hostility is so offensive it's funny. If you're down for vulgar that borders on obnoxious, look no further. Martin is like a comic IV with a steady drip of one-liners that bounce around topics. He goes everywhere. Soft-spoken and dry, he's like a young Steven Wright who can also whip out a guitar and harmonica before it's all said and done.

    Wong turned a baby bump into a visual gag about pregnancy, conception, and alarming moments of womanhood in this one-of-a-kind special. The comic serves it up with two helpings of crass, hitting heavily on racial topics and bodily functions. The UFC commentator, podcaster, and former NewsRadio co-star goes back to his comedian roots for a high-impact performance that covers marijuana edibles in the form of gummy bears, time-traveling selfie takers, and the necessity of lying to children.

    Rogan admits early that he's not sober, although he operates in a high gear for a guy who's altered his brain chemistry. The big Australian's most recent special devotes some time to what made the other one so popular: his full-throated rant against guns and gun lovers' main argument in favor of firearms. Jefferies is firm in his delivery as he also dabbles in Bill Cosby's "methodology," anti-vaxxers, and his all-around bad behavior.

    The Daily Show host's voice and dialect game is on point for this show covering New York City dwellers' extraordinary faith in traffic lights, British colonialism, and the deeply misguided male admonishment "don't be a pussy. The pot-bellied father-to-be jokes about obese people and his aversion to becoming the "fat dad. Yes, another Burr special he's that good , and Netflix's first dive into the format. In a packed house at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC, Burr pushes the crowd's comfort levels with topics some comedians would consider untouchable.

    It's like an hour-plus therapy session, but with booze instead of a co-pay. A self-described "niche" brand, Birbiglia ambles around the stage and lands almost every joke except a cat pun while discussing "late people" versus "on-time people," the challenge of scratching an itch while handcuffed, and how he became a Muppets villain. Birbiglia also revisits the infamous David O. Russell rant from the taping of I Heart Huckabees ; in case you don't remember, he performs a portion of it.


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    The nonthreatening, paper-thin pushover his own characterization gave himself a tough act to follow after his fantastic special, New in Town. Shlesinger is a burst of energy throughout this hour-andminute show covering everything from Pinterest to party goblins i. She's fast-paced, aggressive, and doesn't waste a line. Birbiglia breaks through in the top 10 again. In My Girlfriend's Boyfriend , Birbiglia -- who looks a lot like at least one guy in your office -- makes his suffering palpable as he describes failed relationships, awkward moments, and seeking justice vigilante-style.

    This special from the Chappelle's Show co-creator goes by 3 Mics because Brennan uses three different microphones for three distinct types of performance: 1 "one-liners," or monologue-type material, 2 confessional-style "emotional stuff" in which he talks about depression and his relationship with his abusive father, and 3 traditional stand-up observational-type material. Brennan nails it from all three sides. It's raw, different, and brave. The comic devotes about 20 minutes to guns and gun ownership in this special, making his case against American "bullshit arguments" in favor of keeping them.

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    While that's the segment you've probably seen before, Jefferies offers much more social commentary that makes this special one of the best Netflix has put out.