Before we get started, I just want to point out, this is NOT a list of the “best” stand-up specials on Netflix streaming. It’s a list of the highest rated, by you, the Netflix viewers. So put your pitchforks away, please.
If you’ve had your fill of action blockbusters at the movie theater this weekend and are looking for something a little lighter, Netflix streaming has an array of stand-up specials to fit nearly every taste.
And personal taste in comedy seems to be something of constant debate on the internet, with people ceaselessly arguing what is “legitimately funny” — aka “smart” — over what is simply “dumb” masquerading as funny. Generally, somebody chimes in with “Shut up, man, comedy is subjective.” It’s an easy defense to go to, and it largely holds true, too. George Carlin had a vocabulary that no other comic could touch and was like Beethoven when it came to the linguistics of a joke. A comedy legend. He’ll never make me laugh as hard as Brian Regan though.
You’ll probably notice two glaring distinctions about this list: 1) There are no female comedians on it. Again, that’s on you, the viewer. 2) There is a comedy giant who’s missing, but more on that at the end.
1. Kevin Hart, Seriously Funny — 4.2 stars out of 2,124,762 ratings.
I imagine Kevin Hart had it rough growing up in Philadelphia. If it was bad for Will Smith it had to be ten times worse for a Hart who’s only 5’2. The comic has milked that pain into four stand-up specials that have helped make him one of the highest grossing touring comics. Hart pulls out new stories about his childhood and family with each special and Seriously Funny has emerged as the fan favorite.
2. Louis C.K., Chewed Up — 4.2 stars out of 1,422,514 ratings.
I feel like it’d be a little redundant to add more praise to the Louis C.K.’s reign as current stand-up god. Lots of comics talk about their health/weight, but few have the chops to come up with a comparison as good as, “both of those guys still need a fat baby and a dead dog to make me.”
3. Bill Burr, You People Are All The Same — 4.2 stars out of 516,436 ratings.
In the opinion of this writer, there’s not a comic working today who is both as prolific and funny as Bill Burr. Every time he makes an appearance on Conan he rolls out a twisted new theory on current events. You People Are All The Same is an hour of those unapologetic warped theories.
4. John Mulaney, New In Town — 4.2 stars out of 231,433 ratings.
The old stereotype is that stand-up comics are depressed individuals from dysfunctional homes. John Mulaney doesn’t seem to fit any of that and his first stand-up special is both incredibly lighthearted and widely relatable. If you’re not already familiar with Mulaney, New In Town’s long-form stories about the awkwardness of looking like a “12 year-old boy” serve as a great introduction before the debut of his new sitcom.
5. Gabriel Iglesias, Hot And Fluffy –4.1 stars out of 2,395,757 ratings.
Gabriel Iglesias doesn’t necessarily cover any new ground about enjoying food that hadn’t already been done by the late John Pinette. He does manage to mix-in sound effects and goofy voices though, which combined with a likable stage persona has helped him garner more views than any other comedian on Netflix.
6. Jim Gaffigan, Mr. Universe — 4.1 stars out of 896,163 ratings.
Jim Gaffigan is amazing. Besides finding the time to write new material, tour and do film projects while raising five kids, he continues to find new angles for what seems like the same three subjects: food, being fat, kids. Watching the sample clip, you might initially think “Hey, didn’t I hear this joke in 2004?” Nope, that was manatees, the whale bit is completely new and just as good.