by Clara Butler
Watching stand-up comedy has been my late night go-to recently for when I’m too awake to fall asleep or if I’ve been procrastinating too much and need a break from cramming for that midterm/essay I have due tomorrow. Enjoy my five favorite stand-up comedy specials that are currently on Netflix for your viewing pleasure.
New In Town, John Mulaney
A few months after watching this on Comedy Central’s website, I ‘accidentally’ watched the entire special again. Even after the second time, Mulaney’s jokes make me laugh so hard and I still think about the sketch that the special is named after. Mulaney’s voices and impressions are also completely on point and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes watching comedians reenact hilarious scenarios that make you question why your life isn’t as entertaining as theirs.
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, Mike Birbiglia
Ever since reading excerpts of Birbiglia’s memoir, Sleepwalk With Me, I have been obsessed with his pizza-related humor and tales from his humorously awkward life. Birbiglia’s delivery is really what cracks me up because his slow, almost monosyllabic tone adds a humbleness to his stories that I find a lot of other comedians lack. He even remarks in this special that it seems like people are waiting for the real act to come on and tells an anecdote about forgetting that he is a celebrity and waiting for the real one to show up. Mike Birbiglia is like that kid that sits in the back of the classroom mumbling jokes that no one hears except for you.
Buried Alive, Aziz Ansari
Aziz Ansari is basically the exact opposite of Mike Birbiglia yet Aziz’s over-the-top personality is what makes all of his comedy shows shine. Any fan of Parks and Recreation will love this special because it is alarming how similar Aziz and his character, Tom, happen to be. My favorite joke is when he challenges his friends’ baby to a walking competition and rejects the notion that he has to settle down anytime soon. Aziz still manages to throw some wisdom into his comedy, though, like when he jokes about how our generation communicates primarily through single word text messages.
What, Bo Burnham
I first started watching Bo Burnham’s videos on YouTube where he would always sit down at a piano and then play a hilarious song that had too many references for me to even understand yet every song always left me in tears. His intellectual, yet very crude, style of comedy only gets better and What is a great showcase of not only his musical talent, but his poetical side as well. Although many jokes seemed to be recycled from his last show, Words, Words, Words, Bo is always full of life and puts on an amazing show.
Mr. Universe, Jim Gaffigan
This was my first encounter watching Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up, but I was pleasantly surprised! I had seen his face in a lot of shows, and on Netflix, but this is a really great special if you want to try out a new comedian. His jokes are mostly self-deprecating but they’re done in such a way that he laughs along with the audience and you can tell that he is confident with himself, despite the constant blows to his appearance. He also tells hilarious parenting stories that will leave you wanting him to be your dad, or at least a distant family member that will liven up the holidays.
So here are my suggestions for your next Netflix binge! And for all my feminist sisters that are wondering why there aren’t any women on this list, the disturbing fact of the matter is that out of more than 150 stand-up comedy specials currently available on Netflix, only 13 starred a female comedian and only a couple more had featured a woman in the group of comedians. Despite this appalling number, I plan to watch more so that I can release a list with five of my favorite female stand-up comedians in the future. Happy procrastinating, y’all!
Clara Butler is a sophomore at Barnard and a staff writer for The Nine Ways of Knowing.