8 great new Netflix comedy specials
Netflix has released more than 20 new stand-up specials in 2017 alone, with plenty more on the way. Here are the year's eight best specials so far.
8. Maria Bamford — "Old Baby"
The Minnesota native's erratic, scatterbrained comedy has always been an acquired taste, but she proves herself a manic genius with this special. The structure alone is an act of brilliance, with Bamford performing her hour to increasingly larger crowds, starting with just herself in the mirror.
7. Hasan Minhaj — "Homecoming King"
He killed it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, but here Minhaj moves away from political jabs and devotes the bulk of his special to a highly personal tale about prom.
6. Mike Birbiglia — "Thank God for Jokes"
No one is better at constructing hilarious, personal, soul-searching monologues of insecurity and Catholic guilt than Birbiglia. But he goes deeper here by exploring the idea of jokes themselves.
5. Louis C.K. – "2017"
C.K. is at a point in his career when he can walk on stage and immediately start talking about abortion. Though you may just enjoy him playing a game of sexual "chicken" with Matthew McConaughey and "Magic Mike."
4. Sarah Silverman — "A Speck of Dust"
One of Silverman's strengths is getting deep and real in the moment before suddenly changing course. Here she leads the audience to believe she's telling harrowing stories about rape, abortion and a near-death experience, but Silverman always finds the gross silver lining.
3. Cristela Alonzo — "Lower Classy"
Alonzo has the physical humor and occasional foul mouth of Melissa McCarthy. But her best jokes draw from her Mexican-American heritage — and how it affected her fourth-grade fantasy of meeting New Kids on the Block.
2. Neal Brennan — "3 Mics"
Most comedians excel at just one style of comedy. Brennan aces three. At one microphone he delivers one-liners about neck tattoos. At a second, he waltzes through traditional stand-up about Catholicism and interracial sex. At a third, he's self-reflective, talking about depression, his father's neglect and, as a co-creator of "The Chappelle Show," living in Dave's shadow.
1. Dave Chappelle — "The Age of Spin"
Chappelle keeps us laughing at the hardships of the world and his own strange experiences, including four incredible encounters with O.J. Simpson. He makes some of the sharpest observations in comedy, too, including that Harambe got more sympathy than countless young African-American men killed by police.
BRIAN WELK, The Wrap