Finally! A topic I feel qualified to speak on. Maybe not qualified, but at least comfortable with. Today we’re talking about Netflix comedy specials baby! I love standup, I started watching it at a young age and just fell in love with it. The idea that someone could go up on stage armed only with a microphone, and could completely captivate an audience with laughter always fascinated me. So, when I turned 18 I started doing it. Hitting open mics around my small suburban city until I finally graduated high school. I would then move to Milwaukee where I would get consumed by standup. It’s all I thought about my freshman year of college. Watching it, doing it, thinking about it, I ingrained myself into a community that seemed so far away from me. I’m excited to do this list is what I’m saying. One thing I want to clear up before starting is that comedy is subjective. What one person might find funny someone else might not, and that’s fine. This is my list, and I guarantee everything I like won’t resonate with everyone the same way and that’s fine. That being said let’s get into the list.
1.) Bill Burr’s “I’m Sorry You Feel That way”
Bill Burr might just be the best standup comic alive today. At the very least he’s an all time great. If I was doing a sure top 10 list I’m sure almost all if not all of his specials would be inside that top 10, but in order to avoid multiple comedians to be on the list more than once I picked my favorite Bill Burr Special. I like this one the most because it stands apart from the others with how it was shot. The Black and White just adds an element I’ve never seen before in a special and the whole thing is just fantastic.
2. ) Tom Segura “Mostly Stories”
Tom Segura is my favorite comedian. I relate to his antisocial personality and just think he’s a once in a generation talent. Similar to Burr, if I was putting more than one special per comic in this top 10 every Tom Segura special would be on that list, he’s just that good, and I find him that funny. “Mostly Stories” is my favorite special of his on Netflix because of the Mike Tyson story. It’s also funny to see him before he dropped all the weight, it brings me back.
3.) Anthony Jeselnik “Thoughts and Prayers”
Thoughts and Prayers is at number three for me because it changed how I thought about comedy. I didn’t know you could go so dark and be so funny. Not everyone likes Anthony Jeselnik’s style, but I do. As a comic it’s amazing to see jokes so clean. Not clean in the content, actually quite the opposite. Clean in the sense of there’s no wasted words. Every joke is precise, all fat has been trimmed off. If you want to see what a polished joke looks like, watch this special.
4.) Bo Burnham “Make Happy”
Bo Burnham is an anomaly. Born from YouTube with comedy songs he’s unlike any other comic out there. His style is so unique that when I see other people try to imitate it I’m annoyed. It’s something special because it’s something only he can pull off. It’s very unusual for a comic to find a voice at such a young age, but Bo is the anomaly. He does things other people simply can’t do and his special Make Happy is funny. I like Bo, I envy his talent, and think this is one of the better Netflix specials out there. Wish he would make another one soon, but masterpieces take time.
5.) Dave Chappelle “Age of Spin”
Some of you are mocking this list for me not putting Chappelle in the top 2 or 3. That’s fine, I love Dave Chappelle. The man is a comedy icon, and Chappelle show is probably the best sketch comedy show of all time. Dave, like Bill, is a legend walking. If I ever met him I wouldn’t even know what to say. Age of Spin is my favorite special out of all the one’s he’s dropped in the past couple of years.
6.)Ali Wong “Baby Cobra”
Ali Wong’s “Baby Cobra” is what every comic dreams of. A defining special, it’s funny, memorable, and really launched her into superstardom. People that didn’t know who Ali Wong was pre “Baby Cobra” know who she is now. She’s a force in the comedy world. I’ve been team Ali since day one and I’m ride or die at this point.
7. ) Aziz Ansari’s “Buried Alive”
This special introduced me to Aziz Ansari and really got me invested in Netflix comedy. I’m pretty sure there’s some jokes that have aged poorly in this special, that’s fine. I think this is another case of a star being born from a Netflix special. We all know what Aziz has gone on to do in his successful career, and this along with Parks and Rec really launched that.
8.) John Mulaney “Comeback Kid”
This special could be higher on this list, and New in Town could have also been on this list. Mulaney is an animal. I think Mulaney is an example of everything SNL could be, and what people from SNL can do in standup. I think he’s relatable and hilarious that’s why he’s found such a massive audience. It’s a good combo to have in the stand up world.
9.) Jim Jefferies Bare
I’m not sure if it’s the jokes mixed with the accent, but I think Jim Jefferies is a killer. The dude knows how to be funny and really represents the average guy. He’s bit about gun control in this special cracks me up and it’s a really solid special.
10.) Joe Rogan “Strange Times
The podcast legend has been doing standup for a long time, and surprise he’s good at it. Joe Rogan I don’t find is as naturally funny as some of the other people on this list. That’s not a knock on him by any means, he’s going up against the funniest stand ups in the world. That being said he is still very funny, and he’s smart. He has perspective, and is popular because he has such an open curious mind. I think that curiosity is on display in this special and he presents it in a very funny way.
Did I miss your favorite standup special, too bad, you’re probably wrong anyways. That being said let me know your favorite special in the comments.
Jackson Wiberg is a student, comedian, and podcast personality. He currently attends school at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee where he is pursuing his bachelors degree in communication. He's toured his stand up routine around the midwest and when he's not working likes spending time with his family and friends. You can follow Jackson on his social media: @jackson_wiberg on all social media platforms, and you can listen to his podcast The Blockbuster Boys podcast, the number 1 rated college comedy podcast in the world, on Apple podcasts and Spotify.