Despite Best Stand Up Comedy Specials only gaining mainstream appeal in the ’70s, it is said to have begun many decades ago. In the 20th century, front-cloth comedians in music halls were the first to perform. There has been a marked change in the genre since then.
Live audiences are typically the target audience in stand-up comedy. Some also record singles of their performances before releasing them together as a comedy album. The past few decades have been filled with many great performances. But which is the best? People say these are the best stand-up comedy specials of all time.
1. Bill Burr: I’m Sorry You Feel That Way
Netflix exclusively released the stand-up comedy special I’m Sorry You Feel That Way in 2014. An Atlanta, Georgia, theater hosted the special in the summer of that year. Films of such a nature are rare today because they have been shot exclusively in black and white.
As he discusses sex, religion, hugging children, and Lutheran beliefs that there is no afterlife in I’m Sorry You Feel That Way, Bill Burr displayed his unfiltered commentary. Additionally, he talked about marital problems such as being thrown out of bed by your wife.
2. Robin Williams: An Evening At The Met
Robin Williams’ last comedy special in the ’80s, as he was transitioning from stand-up to acting during that decade. As part of the special, he discussed a variety of topics, such as the return of Jesus, the tenure of President Reagan, as well as pregnancy and childbirth.
1988’s Grammy Award for “Best Comedy Album or Single, Spoken or Musical” went to the special’s album. He played at Lincoln Center in front of a packed audience in what many consider one of his finest pieces.
3. James Acaster: Repertoire-Best Stand Up Comedy Specials
Acaster’s Repertoire is a Netflix collection of four stand-up specials by the British comedian, and it continues to be well-received in America. While Acaster is primarily known in England, his observational humor approach makes him a relatable comedian in America.
If you enjoy relatable observational humor, this special is worth checking out on Netflix.
4. Dylan Moran: Monster- Best Stand Up Comedy Specials
His best-known work includes starring roles in Black Books and the top-rated Monster comedy show.
As he holds a wine glass and a cigarette, he displays his signature dry humor. It is a great special for anyone who enjoys dry humor with a sense of self-deprecation and the fact that it is a top-rated special means that the approach worked.
5. Bo Burnham: What.-Best Stand Up Comedy Specials
He incorporates outside skills into his comedy special as a comedian, musician, and filmmaker. Take your engagement to new heights.
His jokes in the special are even funnier due to Burnham’s use of music in his act. His deadpan style with catchy tunes makes even something as mundane as getting a Pringle stuck hilarious.
6. Louis C.K.: Chewed Up
Filmed at Berklee Performance Center in Boston, this highly-rated one-hour special is a hit with viewers. George Carlin also filmed his special that night, on the same day as Louis C.K. He died shortly after that.
Among the topics, he explores in Chewed Up are a white privilege, weight struggles, offensive language, terrorist attacks, parenting challenges, and embarrassing doctor visits. The special only came out on DVD in 2008.
7. George Carlin… It’s Bad For Ya!
Even though it was George Carlin’s final special, It’s Bad for Ya was still widely respected. He died of heart failure four months after it was published. The 71-year-old man died in the incident. Uniquely designed for the stage, it represented a glamorous living room.
In his talk, Carlin addressed one of the things people say when someone dies. In addition to the numerous Emmy nominations, HBO’s special won a Grammy for “Best Comedy Album” and a Grammy for “Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special.”
8. Eddie Izzard: Dress To Kill
The special recorded in San Francisco mostly dealt with religion and history. Throughout his performance, he retold British history from Stonehenge to the Reformation.
Then he talked about the pope and the Church Of England, mimicking both French and Italian accents. Izzard also discussed his experiences as a transvestite. His dreams of joining the armed forces came to an end because of it. There should be a transvestite brigade as the first battalion.
9. Bill Hicks: Relentless
Before his death, Hicks had presented a special titled “Relentless”.At the annual Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, he performed it at the Centaur Theatre.
Specials are characterized by long pauses before the punchline. As well as criticizing right-wing religious institutions, he discussed endless topics such as the Gulf War. Not only is it considered his finest work, but it is also the most daring special ever made.
10. Dave Chappelle: Killin’ Them Softly
One of Chappelle’s many hour-long specials, “Killin’ Them Softly,” marked his first. A version of this program aired on July 26, 2000. In addition, the comedian discussed a range of topics, including police brutality, racism, and drug abuse.
According to Rolling Stone’s list of the “25 Best Stand-up Specials of All Time,” Dave Chappelle: Killin’ Them Softly ranked sixth on the list. Among all of Chappelle’s work, this special received the highest rating. A few years after its release, the comedian went into a long retirement before returning in the late 2010s.