The Funniest Stand Up Comedy Specials On Netflix
Those in need of a good laugh can usually find exactly what they are looking for on Netflix. The streaming platform is well-known for a near countless number of stand-up comedy specials that have sparked the on-stage revival of various beloved comic legends or helped skyrocket the careers of comedy’s most promising voices.
As you might imagine, however, there are almost too many stand-up comedy specials to choose from, so what are the funniest available to stream now? Let us see if we can help you narrow down your choices for your next night of laughs with our picks for the funniest stand-up comedy specials available on Netflix.
Taylor Tomlinson: Look At You (2022)
Still in her 20s, Taylor Tomlinson proved herself to be one of the sharpest and boldest comedians working today with her brilliant debut special, Quarter-Life Crisis, in 2020. However, the gold standard of her career might be her latest Netflix original, Look at You, for how she cleverly turns her own struggles with family, friends, and romance after being diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, into one hour of laugh-a-minute delight.
Stream Taylor Tomlinson: Look at You on Netflix.
Mike Birbiglia: Thank God For Jokes (2017)
The state of comedy as we know it is a hotly debated topic these days and Mike Birbiglia believes it really all comes down to one thing: it has been ruined by people who are bad at telling them or try to hide behind their own mistakes by vocally claiming they are “just joking.” Well, the recurring Orange is the New Black cast member and three-time interim Jimmy Kimmel Live host is on a mission to preserve the art with his first Netflix special (out of four currently available on the platform), Thank God for Jokes.
Stream Mike Birbigila: Thank God for Jokes on Netflix.
Demetri Martin: Live (At The Time) (2015)
I have always thought of Demetri Martin as the Bob Dylan of comedy – mostly because he often wears a harmonica around his neck while playing guitar during musical interludes – but also for his inventive, obscure approach to the art that sometimes involves sight gags illustrated on poster board or wonderfully meta edits made to his special in post. The former Daily Show correspondent presents what may be the funniest display of his irreverent style with his first Netflix special, Live (At the TIme) – a title that is totally on-brand.
Stream Demetri Martin: Live (At the Time) on Netflix.
Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh (2018)
A stand-up icon who always loves to incorporate music into his act is Adam Sandler, the SNL cast member-turned-cinematic comedy superstar-turned-acclaimed dramatic thespian (i.e. Uncut Gems). Before taking that award-winning role, the “Sandman” reignited his stand-up presence with this Netflix special on which he raps on our over-reliance on technology, pays tribute to the late Chris Farley, and gives us more material that is truly 100% Fresh.
Stream Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh on Netflix.
Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours To Kill (2020)
Netflix is the ultimate hub for content related to Jerry Seinfeld, as it’s the one place you can stream Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, his groundbreaking self-titled sitcom from the ‘90s, and other titles, including this original special. The comedy icon certainly kills in 23 Hours to Kill by bringing his signature observational style to topics like how similar the words “sucks” and “great” truly are, how different talking and texting are, and more.
Stream Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill on Netflix.
Patton Oswalt: Annihilation (2017)
Former The King of Queens cast member and Ratatouille star, Patton Oswalt, has always had a bold and boisterous on-stage presence, whether he is poking fun at politics or at himself. However, the actor and comedian (who also lends to his voice to Netflix’s The Sandman cast) has never been more candid about either topic than in his second special for the platform, Annihilation – half of which is devoted to honoring his late wife and the mother of his daughter, true crime author Michelle McNamara.
Stream Patton Oswalt: Annihilation on Netflix.
Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery (2017)
Speaking of heartbreaking losses, in 2021, we lost beloved comedian and former SNL star Norm Macdonald to a private, nine-year battle with cancer. Remember the joy he brought to the world of comedy with his first Netflix original special, Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery – one of his finest career efforts for brilliant takes on mundane topics like the abbreviation for “identification” and his analysis of Germany’s volatile place in history.
Stream Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip & Trickery on Netflix.
Bo Burnham: Inside (2021)
After taking a hiatus from stand-up, Bo Burham was planning on returning to the stage right as Covid-19 put most public appearances on hold, as he reveals in this bizarre and bitingly funny project he wrote, performed, and shot entirely on his own and in one single room during the pandemic. While this special barely counts as “stand-up” and sometimes veers far from comedy when the Promising Young Woman star makes devastating confessions about his own mental health, no matter what you prefer to call it, Inside is one of the best Netflix movies of 2021 and nothing short of a masterpiece.
Stream Bo Burnham: Inside on Netflix.
Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts And Prayers (2015)
A championing staple of Comedy Central roasts, Anthony Jeselnik proudly owns a reputation for comedy that does not just hit, but stabs repeatedly, where it hurts, and Thoughts and Prayers – his first Netflix original special – is no exception. He brings his politically incorrect brand of comedy to the politically correct city of San Francisco, where dishes on how he crafts his own family into jokes, reveals his irreverent take on unrealistic expectations set up by Barbie dolls, and looks back on poking fun at high-profile tragedies on Twitter the day they happen.
Stream Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts and Prayers on Netflix.
Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial (2018)
In her third Netflix original stand-up special and one of the best credits of her career, Iliza Shlesinger, explains just what it means to be an Elder Millennial and how it informs her opinions of society. She reenacts the typical night of a single thirty-something, explains “landlines,” and shares the not-so-surprising story of how she met her fiancé on a dating app.
Stream Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial on Netflix.
Trevor Noah: Afraid Of The Dark (2017)
As Jon Stewart’s successor for hosting duties on The Daily Show, it is clear Trevor Noah has an eye for politics, but he lightens his commentary on the state of America (a little) to cover a wide range of topics with his signature energy. He talks about his South African upbringing, apologizes to the women in his audience on behalf of the “creeps” within the male population, and reveals why he is, as the title of his comedy special teases, afraid of the dark.
Stream Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark on Netflix.
Tom Segura: Disgraceful (2018)
While he does not, particularly, exhibit signs of being what the title of this Netflix stand-up special suggests, “disgraceful” would certainly be a proper way of defining the many topics Tom Segura explores – such as a visit to an adult entertainment store, finding humor in mental disabilities, and the satisfaction of letting an elevator door close on a stranger. The Countdown star’s brand of observational humor is refreshing in how it trades brutal honesty for off-beat absurdity that often veers on the edge of uncomfortable relatability.
Stream Tom Segura: Disgraceful on Netflix.
Ellen Degeneres: Relatable (2018)
The title of 2018’s Relatable – Ellen Degeneres’ first Netflix special, documenting her return to stand-up after 15 years – refers to when an acquaintance of the comedian feared her relatability onstage might be hindered by the comfortable celebrity lifestyle she now leads. The Finding Nemo star brilliantly pokes fun at this assumption, in addition to commenting on her marriage to Portia DeRossi, recalling how coming out of the closet in the ‘90s cost her a primetime sitcom, and more.
Stream Ellen Degeneres: Relatable on Netflix.
Marc Maron: Too Real (2017)
He has found success from starring in the Netflix series GLOW, a brief appearance in the box office smash Joker, and, most especially, interviewing Hollywood’s finest as host of the highly rated podcast WTF. But 56-year-old Marc Maron got his start as a comic and you can see him at his best in his 2017 Netflix stand-up comedy special Too Real.
Stream Marc Maron: Too Real on Netflix.
Donald Glover: Weirdo (2012)
In his first stand-up comedy special, Weirdo – which originally aired on Comedy Central – Donald Glover shows how different he is from his character in the Community cast by commenting on the controversies of his rumored Spider-Man casting (long before he appeared in Spider-Man: Homecoming), revealing some of the darker moments of his unique childhood, and plenty more. The future Atlanta mastermind’s magnetic on-stage presence makes even the most shocking topics sound endearing coming from his mouth, making it one of the funniest non-Netflix-original comedy specials you can find on Netflix.
Stream Donald Glover: Weirdo on Netflix.
Neal Brennan: 3 Mics (2017)
In 2017, Neal Brennan – the secret weapon to Dave Chappelle’s career, from co-creating Chappelle’s Show to co-writing Half Baked – came out of hiding in his remarkably unique Netflix comedy special 3 Mics, which refers to the three different microphones set up on the stage. Each one is reserved for a different purpose: clever one-liners, traditional stand-up bits, and deeply personal stories, which is where Brennan truly shines in this astounding achievement mixing comedy with tragedy to rewarding effect.
Stream Neal Brennan: 3 Mics on Netflix.
John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous At Radio City (2018)
As one of the most exciting names in comedy today, it makes sense that John Mulaney would eventually find himself performing at a prestigious venue like New York’s Radio City Music Hall, but that does not stop him from commenting on the very absurdity of that concept in his Emmy-winning Netflix stand-up comedy special, Kid Gorgeous. The former SNL writer’s classically-trained stand-up style, complemented by his formal wardrobe and choice to carry a mic with a wire attached, adds a refreshing, old-fashioned energy to the topics he dares to dissect with his precocious, razor-sharp wit in a special that demands repeat viewings.
Stream John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City on Netflix.
Dave Chappelle: The Age Of Spin (2017)
Regardless of how his more recent Netflix specials may have rubbed off on you, you have to admit that Dave Chappelle’s intelligent observation, fearless expression, and effortless delivery is unlike anyone or anything seen in the world of comedy – now or before his time – and I see no better proof of that than the first of his Netflix stand-up comedy specials, The Age of Spin. Filmed live at the Hollywood Palladium, this Grammy-winning special saw the A Star is Born actor’s triumphant return to the mainstream after a long hiatus following his controversial decision to leave his groundbreaking Comedy Central series, which is easily the lightest of topics he touches on before riffing on everything from racism to sexuality and recalling his multiple encounters with O.J. Simpson.
Stream Dave Chappelle: The Age of Spin on Netflix.
No one’s brand of comedy is the same, so hopefully we have covered everything that fans of stand-up specials might be interested in streaming on Netflix in the list above.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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