5 must-watch Netflix stand-up comedy specials | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 07, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 07, 2019

5 must-watch Netflix stand-up comedy specials

When most people get a Netflix subscription for the first time, they're usually excited about all the shows they will get to stream in high definition without having to painstakingly look for it.

For me however, the excitement was all about getting to watch the Netflix specials by all my favourite comedians. Even snippets of these specials have been highly difficult to locate online. Of course, once I had watched a few, my home page was flooded with more similar content. And after an entire month of binging on stand up specials by various comedians, I knew I'd have to share my favourites with you.


I was initially apprehensive to watch At Large because as hilarious as he might be on talk shows, Jack Whitehall's previous specials had me under the impression that his comedy was too niche. However, Whitehall starts At Large by mentioning that it's his first stand up special for a much more diverse crowd, and it's clear throughout that it is structured to be more relatable. Whether he's blowing up over Robert Pattinson stealing his limelight or “accidentally” divulging the real identity of his friend who got into a fight with Prince Harry, Whitehall is an effortless goof who will definitely have you cracking up.


Although Make Happy is marketed as a stand-up special, it is in fact so much more. It would have been more appropriate to call it a multi-instrumental concert, except for the satirical humour laced throughout each segment of the performance. Bo Burnham's timing is impeccable and he keeps the audience hooked without missing a beat. He doesn't shy away from truths about majority privilege that could potentially alienate the audience and successfully pulls them out of the rut each time. If you have never watched a Bo Burnham show before, you're in for a ride.


Personally, I never found Hasan Minhaj to be particularly funny. He wouldn't hold a place on my top ten list of comedians. Yet, I could not resist placing Homecoming King on this list. Regardless of whether you like Patriot Act or his other work, I would highly recommend Homecoming King. This special is an absolute rollercoaster in which Minhaj plays his audience like a harp. In one second he has them doubling up with laughter and in the next they're crashing down in a whirlwind of emotional trauma, usually stemming from his second-generation immigrant experiences. He executes this routine multiple times throughout the special, yet it never ceases to be unpredictable. Minhaj masterfully uses props, a large screen behind him, and the entire area of the big stage to his advantage, making Homecoming King one comedy special where I can say he definitely knew what he was doing.


Unlike all the other comedians on this list, Daniel Sloss was one I discovered on Netflix. This hour-long stand-up special is aptly named, as I discovered after re-watching it with some companions who aren't as desensitised to dark humour, and it had me doubling up with laughter on both occasions. The thing about dark humour is making the joke funny enough for the audience to be forced into laughter despite their discomfort with the subject matter. And, in Dark, Sloss demonstrates his ability to do exactly that. He makes his hour long show about death and disability hysterical, while also making the audience question their own initial responses. With his self-proclaimed “babyface” and mischievous attitude, Sloss comes off like the naughty kid in class who the audience can't help but love.


In 3 Mics, co-writer of the Chappelle Show, Neal Brennan, reveals that after years of success directing and writing comedy, he finally decided to follow his gut and do stand-up. Despite his stating that your gut is wrong about eighty-five percent of the time, anyone who watches 3 Mics would agree that this wasn't one of those times. With a unique set-up for a stand-up show with one microphone dedicated to one-liners, one to general stand-up and one for emotional exchanges, Brennan likes to keep the audience on their toes. When he goes into talking about his relationship with his father, and his clinical depression, he doesn't attempt to introduce intense humour where it doesn't belong. When he transitions seamlessly into one-liners and stand-up, he shows that he is undoubtedly as good, if not better, than most other stand-up comics. 


Rabita Saleh is a perfectionist/workaholic. Email feedback to this generally boring person at rabitasaleh13@gmail.com

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