Stand-Up Comedy from the 1990s


   

The laughDB database is dedicated to the funniest comedy movies, stand-up comedy and TV series.

This section is for stand-up comedy from the 1990s. By default they are presented starting with the ones ranking highest on the laugh-o-meter, but you can also sort them by year, title or IMDB rating.


Stand-Up Comedy from the 1990s sorted by Laugh-o-meter (descending) / page 1 of 2


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George Carlin: George's Best Stuff DVDGeorge Carlin: George's Best Stuff
      1996 | USA | Laughs: 9.6 | imdb: 8.5
      who was involved?

One of the funniest DVDs I watched in years. I had to pause it several times as it gave me some of these hard laughters that make you gasp for air. This DVD covers several periods of George Carlin's career. Among the several gems on this disc, the piece about dogs sticks in my memory: it nearly killed me. (Last viewed: August 2010)

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Eddie Izzard: Glorious DVDEddie Izzard: Glorious
      1997 | U.K. | Laughs: 9.1 | imdb: 8.5
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Show featuring Eddie in a gorgeous red lame outfit. Meanders through a hundred topics from Noah sawing wood for the Ark to Queen Elizabeth reacting to Diana's death. When I woke up the next morning, my stomach muscles still felt the previous night's laughter. (Last viewed: August 2010)

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Eddie Izzard: Definite Article DVDEddie Izzard: Definite Article
      1996 | U.K. | Laughs: 9.0 | imdb: 8.5
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Is this five stars, or four and a half? Izzard sets the bar so high that this would be a five if his other shows didn't exist, but four and a half next to Glorious. Bottom line, it's brilliant and it made me laugh. Highlight: the segment about fruits. Might the segment about French and German language tapes be a bit long for someone who never learned a foreign language? Eddie seems really at ease in this show. Your eyes feast on his smile, his purple-champagne hair, his bright red jacket and his shiny black pants. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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Eddie Izzard: Dress to Kill DVDEddie Izzard: Dress to Kill
      1999 | U.K. | Laughs: 8.9 | imdb: 8.7
      wikipedia | who was involved?

This show is often ranked as Izzard's best. I would rate it slightly below Glorious for laughter but on a par overall for different reasons. Eddie's outfit is the most beautiful I have seen on tape: with his planetarium shirt and black shiny vinyl pants, he could be David Bowie's Starman. The show is a bit slow to start, with a slightly boring intro of Eddie doing a goofy voice-over on footage of a San Francisco cable car. But relax, there are nearly two hours on the tape. The show builds up slowly, but you're not going anywhere—you're hooked in, entranced. The second hour is by far my favorite. Right when you think it's all over, after handling applause in a masterful way, Eddie comes back and revs it up for another round. Topics covered include mass murderers, a history of religion, snowboarding, cinema and languages. There's also an amazing segment where Eddie lets you hover between believing that a story he just told is true or untrue, true, untrue, true, untrue… I lived in San Francisco at the time… Why didn't I know enough to go watch Eddie then? (Last viewed: September 2010)

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Bill Bailey: Live Cosmic JamBill Bailey: Cosmic Jam (a.k.a Live)
      1997 | U.K. | Laughs: 8.3 | imdb: 7.8
      who was involved?

I first encountered Bill as the character Manny in the (very funny) TV series Black Books, but it was only when I discovered him in stand-up (sixteen years after this set was recorded) that I realized what a genius this man is. With his easy relaxed style (the product not of sloppiness but of virtuosity), he had me laughing right away. It was only ten minutes into the show that I noticed striking parallels with the style of Eddie Izzard—in gesture, yes, but more importantly in the surreal, perhaps sometimes ad-libbed nature of his stories. About halfway into the set, Bill started using his guitar and piano for backup. I am normally not a fan of the musical comedy genre, but Bill carried it to perfection, and the laughter continued. On a cleverness rating the show would rank higher, but some shows that are not as clever do pull more laughs overall.

After this, I am hooked. I'll be looking for more of Bill's shows. (Last viewed: September 2013)

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Bob Newhart: Button Down Concert DVDBob Newhart: Button Down Concert
      1995 | USA | Laughs: 8.0 | imdb: 7.0
      who was involved?

I didn't know Bob Newhart before watching this set; it was a pleasant surprise. Bob made me laugh more than most contemporary comedians, and he did so without dragging me into the gutter. The laughter was clean, innocent, much as with a Bill Cosby set. One situation that was very funny the first time (a man on the phone listens to a counterpart explain something out of the the ordinary) became boring on the fourth take. Apart from that sin by excessive repetition, this was an excellent show. (Last viewed: September 2013)

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Gad Elmaleh - D├ęcalages posterGad Elmaleh - Jet Lags (D├ęcalages)
      1997 | France | Laughs: 8.0 | imdb: 7.7
      who was involved?

In this early show, Gad explores the theme of landing in new cultures. The slow warm up made me wonder if this was going to be one of those rough early pieces whose main value is historical… But the rest of the show was hilarious, and my jaw cramped from smiling so much. Not to be missed. (Last viewed: June 2015)

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Jerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time DVDJerry Seinfeld: I'm Telling You for the Last Time (a.k.a Live on Broadway)
      1998 | USA | Laughs: 8.0 | imdb: 8.1
      wikipedia | who was involved?

What other comedians have a sitcom in their name and a documentary about their work? In this show, recorded two months after the airing of the last Seinfeld episode, Jerry Seinfeld bids farewell to his old material. For me, Jerry Seinfeld typifies the "eternal best man". In suit and tie, he moves and speaks with poise and ease. The language is clean, but the jokes are abrasive. When they are too long at the expense of the American underclass, I don't like Jerry very much… but he makes me laugh, and after innocent bits about shopping at the supermarket, going to the doctor or horse riding, I just have to forgive him. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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Jim Carrey: Unnatural ActJim Carrey: Unnatural Act
      1991 | Canada | Laughs: 7.0 | imdb: 7.8
      who was involved?

A short-and-sweet set with lots of smiles and some good laughs. There is some culturally insensitive material about Middle Eastern cultures that I found crass. Neither was the adult material particularly helpful, and Jim's pacing wasn't all that great. Despite these few flaws, it's a good set. These kinks would probably disappear if Jim did more stand-up—too bad there isn't more material by him. (Last viewed: August 2013)

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Dave Attell: Comedy Central DVDDave Attell: Comedy Central
      1999 | USA | Laughs: 6.5 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.5
      who was involved?

Focuses on embarrassing moments, many of them relating to matters below the belt, but without using profanity. Rather than assaulting the audience, Dave makes fun of himself. He seems to be able to tap into a rich well of material: I will be curious to watch his later shows. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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George Carlin: You Are All Diseased DVDGeorge Carlin: You Are All Diseased
      1999 | USA | Laughs: 6.0 | imdb: 8.7
      wikipedia | who was involved?

An older George Carlin seems wholly disillusioned with the human species. The playfulness of the earlier years is gone, replaced by a caustic anger that still triggers laughter, if you can take the violence.

My favorite themes on this DVD: children (how parents make too much fuss about them), religion (why George worships the sun and prefers fairy tales). Other themes: honesty in American society, Bill Clinton, the fuss over germs, airport security overkill (pre 9/11). (Last viewed: August 2010)

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George Carlin: Jammin' in New York DVDGeorge Carlin: Jammin' in New York
      1992 | USA | Laughs: 6.0 | imdb: 8.8
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Although it is not one of the funniest, this is one of Carlin's very best shows. In some sets, the material feels a bit used and tired. Not in this one. Masterfully, George weaves his comical critique of assorted topics offering windows into human stupidity, topics such as American foreign policy, superfluous words, safety instructions in airplanes, golf, and the planet. By watching this set two or three times, a young mind could improve her thinking far more than by reading the New York Times for a year. A classic for the ages. (Last viewed: October 2013)

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Bill Hicks: One Night Stand DVDBill Hicks: One Night Stand
      1991 | USA | Laughs: 6.0 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.5
      wikipedia | who was involved?

This half-hour show contains mostly the same material as the 90-minute Sane Man from two years earlier, but without the most vulgar segments, without the drawn-out sound effects, and with higher video production quality. It's a better show in almost every way, and probably a good introduction to Bill Hicks, who shares his views on topics such as tobacco and drugs. I still don't find it terribly funny, but it's worth watching once. (Last viewed: January 2013)

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Eddie Izzard: Unrepeatable DVDEddie Izzard: Unrepeatable
      1994 | U.K. | Laughs: 4.0 (Don't Bother) | imdb: 8.1
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Belongs in the "don't bother watching" section. The show is called Unrepeatable, and indeed in my case there was little risk of it being repeated, because I couldn't catch much. Partly, it's the acoustics of the grand old London theater where this was shot and the fact that Izzard keeps the mike right in front of his face. Also, Eddie speaks with a more pronounced English accent than in his later shows. Eddie also speaks a lot faster than usual, without the pauses that he later learned to use for comic effect. For me, this show falls in the genre of "English comedy", which I perceive as voices that go annoyingly up and down, speaking lots and lots of words that don't really make me laugh. The interminable piece on Star Trek ranked with the most boring stand-up comedy I've ever seen. I don't watch television, and I certainly don't want to watch stand-up comedy about TV shows. On the other hand, I did enjoy the segment on cats and dogs, as well as the one on horror movies. (Last viewed: August 2010)

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Chris Rock: Bigger and Blacker DVDChris Rock: Bigger and Blacker
      1999 | USA | Laughs: 4.0 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.0
      wikipedia | who was involved?

Watch once for research if you want to know who Chris Rock is, although you'll get a better measure of his talent in 2 Days in New York, where he acts opposite Julie Delpy. I like Chris, he just doesn't make me laugh very much. I first saw him in Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine, in the segment about five thousand dollar bullets, excerpted from this show—perhaps its best piece. Themes include crazy white boys, family, medicine, relationships. I smiled a lot and may have laughed once or twice, but I don't love Rock's strident voice and wound up delivery, nor the amount of time he spends on hard-core adult themes. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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