The 17 Best Stand-Up Comedy Specials on Netflix
From Adam Sandler to Ali Wong, these stand-up specials will have you laughing your troubles away.
People around the world are craving laughter and something to occupy their time now more than ever. If you're looking to kill an hour and come out of it feeling a bit lighter, you might turn to comedy, but it's easy to end up getting click-through fatigue trying to find the right stand-up special. To make things simpler, we've gathered the best stand-up comedy specials streaming on Netflix guaranteed to help you laugh your troubles away. And for more hilarious streaming options, check out these 17 Underappreciated TV Comedies That Are Available to Stream Right Now.
John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous
John Mulaney has brought in a lot of revenue for Netflix over the past few years with three stand-up specials; animated comedy Big Mouth; a filmed version of his Broadway show, Oh, Hello; and his children's musical comedy special, John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch. Kid Gorgeous is Mulaney's most recent stand-up special, filmed in 2018 at Radio City Music Hall. The comedian got his start as a writer on Saturday Night Live, and it shows in his expertly written jokes: Mulaney's strength is his unique delivery and his ability to bring jokes full circle.
Ali Wong: Hard Knock Wife
You might know Ali Wong as the woman who has heroically done two stand-up specials for Netflix while seven months pregnant. In the second special, Hard Knock Wife, Wong discusses motherhood, marriage, and men in her signature unapologetic, irreverent way. And for some comedies you can't miss, here's our list of The 30 Funniest Movies of All Time and Where to Stream Them.
Mike Birbiglia: Thank God for Jokes
Fans assert that Mike Birbiglia's biggest strength is in his storytelling, and the way he weaves a larger narrative throughout his set. That aspect of Birbiglia's comedy is most evident in his 2017 special, Thank God for Jokes. He demonstrates a unique ability to include some genuine heartfelt moments without sacrificing any humor in the process.
Dave Chappelle: Sticks & Stones
Dave Chappelle is an undisputed comedy legend—a fact that was cemented in history when he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2019. However, discussing which of Chappelle's stand-up specials reigns supreme is a highly polarizing debate. While some contend that 2017's The Bird Revelation is Chappelle in his prime, others claim Sticks & Stones, his most recent special, is his strongest. Lucky for you, you don't have to decide, since he has five specials on Netflix you can make your way through.
Amy Schumer: The Leather Special
Surprisingly Amy Schumer's first filmed stand-up special didn't come out until 2017, when Netflix premiered The Leather Special. A few minutes into the set, Schumer tells the audience that all good comedians have a leather special where they are fully clad in leather—even though they always regret it later in their careers—and this is hers. She delivers an hour of comedy about life, love, and dating in all her unfiltered glory.
Sebastian Maniscalco: Stay Hungry
Sebastian Maniscalco may come off as the guy who gets by solely on jokes about his Italian heritage, but his newest stand-up special proves otherwise. Maniscalco uses his entertaining storytelling skills to captivate the audience with eclectic bits about everything from pregnancy photoshoots to spin classes to wedding dances. And for more laughs, these are the 10 Funniest Comedy Podcasts You Can Download Right Now.
Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis
Unlike many of the comics on this list, Taylor Tomlinson is relatively new on the scene. Tomlinson was included in The Comedy Lineup, a 2018 Netflix trial that gave audiences 15-minute snippets of comedians. In 2020, Tomlinson got her own special, which premiered to rave reviews applauding her polished set, confidence, and hilarious delivery. While this special will get anyone laughing, it's especially poignant for millennials who are totally over their 20s.
Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby
There is something so comforting about Seth Meyers, perhaps because we have been seeing him on our TV screens for a couple decades, first on Saturday Night Live, and then on his own show, Late Night with Seth Meyers. It's nice to see Meyers come out from behind his desk to chat about his personal life, including the titular topic of his wife having a baby in their apartment lobby.
Jenny Slate: Stage Fright
Jenny Slate's Stage Fright is unlike any other comedy special out there, mainly because Slate herself is a very unique character. The special is a mix of live stand-up, interviews where she tells funny stories about adulthood, and filmed conversations with her family in her childhood home. Years of all-consuming stage fright kept Slate from performing; during that time, she wrote a book, appeared in some big movies, and voiced beloved TV characters. Now, Slate is back onstage—but only on her own terms.
Bo Burnham: what.
Award-winning writer Bo Burnham began showcasing his comedy skills on YouTube and subsequently through stand-up. Burnham has two stand-up specials on Netflix, Make Happy and what., in addition to comedy albums you can listen to on streaming services. Throughout his set, Burnham—who you might also know as the writer and director of Eighth Grade—vacillates between singing and speaking his comedy. His wit and special brand of self-deprecation combine for an enthralling one-man show.
Bert Kreischer: Hey Big Boy
Bert Kreischer is back and still shirtless in his second Netflix stand-up special, Hey Big Boy. If you're unfamiliar with Kreischer's comedy, it's helpful to know that in college he was profiled by Rolling Stone, and the ensuing article was the inspiration for National Lampoon's Van Wilder. So, yes, you can expect many wild stories—but also commentary on parenting and family life.
Iliza Shlesinger: Elder Millennial
In Iliza Shlesinger's fourth special for Netflix, she uses comedy to convey the thoughts we've all had trouble saying ourselves. Shlesinger began her career as the first woman to win NBC's Last Comic Standing. She continues to prove herself with this exuberant, relatable comedy special about life in your 30s.
Adam Sandler: 100% Fresh
If you're a sucker for some nostalgia, you should check out Adam Sandler's 2018 stand-up special 100% Fresh, which is filled with brand new songs from Sandler in the vein of his classic Hanukkah and Thanksgiving songs. The special also includes a heartfelt tribute to Sandler's dear friend—and comedy legend—Chris Farley.
Michelle Wolf: Joke Show
If you're looking for a zany comic with distinctive energy, look no further. Michelle Wolf is hilarious and has a special way of riffing on a topic for longer than most people can get away with, but you're with her the whole time. In this 2019 stand-up special, she discusses outrage culture, childbirth, feminism, massages, and even otters.
Anthony Jeselnik: Fire in the Maternity Ward
Anthony Jeselnik's second stand-up special on Netflix, Fire in the Maternity Ward, is not for the faint of heart. Jeselnik's carefully crafted structure involves him setting up a joke that will surely make the audience uncomfortable—then suddenly twisting it to make it even worse than expected. While this technique is what makes him so polarizing, it's also why many consider him to be a comedic genius.
Tiffany Haddish: Black Mitzvah
We've all been enjoying Tiffany Haddish's rise to fame onscreen over the past few years, so it was exciting to see her get her own stand-up special in 2019. The extravagant special shows her singing, dancing, and reflecting on her raunchy road to womanhood. If anyone was unsure whether Haddish was a true star, this more than proves it
Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark
The Daily Show host Trevor Noah steps out for some stand-up comedy in this 2017 Netflix special. Noah's comedy requires some intellect and global awareness to fully appreciate, but that's part of the appeal. And even if you don't get all the jokes, his charismatic presence makes this stand-up special a standout performance.