This is the time of year where people do their year in review list of “The Best X of the Year.” I don’t remember when things come out and those lists make people angry for no reason, so this is not that. This is also the time of year where work slows down and the temperature drops. You find yourself staying in much more. Many of you will be home with your family, avoiding the kids you went to high school with. You’re going to need something to keep you entertained. That’s what this is.
Here are five comedy “specials” from this year that I think are great, and I am also providing you with some Netflix fodder to get you through the holiday season.
John Mulaney - Kid Gorgeous at Radio City
This is as professional as stand up gets. In the way that a childhood Brandon Flowers saw Elvis on TV and wanted to be a rockstar, Mulaney saw Bob Hope and wanted to be an entertainer. And he does so in America’s Showroom, Radio City Music Hall. We get the classic, comedian-in-a-suit on a set built out of yesteryear. If Mulaney wasn’t owning the stage so hard you’d think he was about to bring out The Beatles. My personal favorite comedian, so there is bias, but Mulaney is at the top of his game as a comic, and as a storyteller, using tales from his youth and razor sharp jokes to wow a sold out Radio City. At an hour run time, this is a great special to watch while you decide whether or not you’re going out. Long enough to give you extra time on the couch, but not too long that it makes the decision for you.
If you want more: Watch Mulaney’s other two specials New in Town and The Comeback Kid also on Netflix
Bumping Mics with Jeff Ross and Dave Attell
Strip away all the glitz and glamor of a Mulaney special and walk down the steps into a basement, better yer, The Comedy Cellar. Dave Attell and Jeff Ross go at each other and at the crowd in an as real of a comedy club experience you can get without buying a ticket. While these two may not be household names, that is not from lack of skill. Ross is “Roastmaster General” being able to find joke in anybody he comes across, and I don’t know if anyone’s mind works faster than Dave Attell’s, your favorite comic’s favorite comic. Take what you know about stand-up and throw it out the window. This isn’t a written act or a sketch. It’s two long time friends pulling the net out from under themselves, consider this a trapeze act of stand up. They go on stage and make small conversation with each other and the audience and absolutely hammer jokes as they come up. There are also some fun guest celebrity appearances. This is broken into three episodes all right around a half hour so watch it in one sitting or space it out over your weekend.
If you want more: Watch Jeff Ross on Comedy Central’s Roast Battle and hear Dave Attell’s albums on Spotify
Adam Sandler - 100% Fresh
The Sandman is back. This feels much more like a concert than a comedy show, in a good way. In part, because Sandler is playing songs, and also because of the size of the venues he’s playing. I think many people are surprised that in 2018 Sandler is producing premium Netflix content, but I think those people will happily admit they were wrong to doubt. Sandler is very of the time with jokes about Tesla and Uber, but also has jokes/songs covering the topics we know him best for. (Family, his religion, and his overall silliness.) There is a feeling of nostalgia because it’s been a long time since we’ve seen Sandler in anything other than a motion picture, but he is far from rusty. Another hour long special this is great to watch when you’re back in your childhood home see someone you grew up watching do what they do, once more.
If you want more: Come on… it’s Adam Sandler
The Comedy Lineup - Taylor Tomlinson, Sam Jay, and Tim Dillon
At the opposite end of Sandler’s stardom, are people beginning to make a national name for themselves. The Comedy Lineup is eight different comedians delivering 15-minute sets. There is plenty to choose from out of this selection, but I would like to highlight three specifically. Watch Taylor Tomlinson, Sam Jay, and Tim Dillon. All three are very uniquely themselves and have found the voice to portray it. These are also three young comics on a meteoric rise in the comedy world right now. Watch these 15-minute sets and go see them perform at the comedy club in your city before they are in theaters and tickets are $50.
If you want more: Taylor Tomlinson has a podcast, Self Help, Sam Jay writes for SNL, and check out Tim Dillon’s podcast, Tim Dillon is Going to Hell
The Stand Ups - Season 2 - Joe List and Kyle Kinane
Similar to The Comedy Lineup, The Standups Season 2 is six comedians all doing a half hour set. Again, feel free to choose any from this list, but my personal taste skews to Joe List and Kyle Kinanae. List is a spot on joke writer, hitting punchline after punchline. You hear him set up a joke and knock down three or four punchlines in a row before a witty transition and the process starts over again. It’s great. If that’s too fast for you taste, Kyle Kinane slows it down with longer bits where the premise gets taken apart every way possible until every thought Kinanae has had on the topic has been examined. (He does a joke about the KKK that goes on for nearly ten minutes.) If you still can’t get enough comedy you have four more to choose from.
If you want more: Kyle Kinane has 4 albums on Spotify, Joe List has 2 albums on Spotify and check out his podcast, Tuesdays with Stories
There you have it. That’s your next few Netflix watches. If you’ve already seen these or somehow burn through them all quickly, tweet with #MillenialFriday and I’ll give you some more. Love ya.
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