The Funniest Stand-Up Comedy


   

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Stand-Up Comedy Sets sorted by Recently reviewed (descending) / page 4 of 12


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Joe Lycett: Thats The Way, A-Ha, A-Ha posterJoe Lycett: Thats The Way, A-Ha, A-Ha
      2016 | U.K. | Laughs: 6.5 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 7.7
      

Since this is a long set and we often find long sets hard to watch in one sitting, we sat down with the intention of watching half of it before going out—but ended up watching all 75 minutes of it, our first viewing of a show by Joe Lycett. We laughed a few times and smiled a lot: we were entertained. Joe has a very clever, likeable delivery that is his very own. Often when watching a stand-up who is new to me, he or she naturally evokes other comedians, but in Joe's none came to mind. The weaker points (and they shouldn't discourage you from watching) were that Joe sometimes referred to people we didn't know (lacking the English background), and that the time when he read jokes sent to his phone on social media went a bit long. But the device of relating electronic exchanges he's had worked. I'm glad to have discovered a "new" stand-up comedian I enjoy and will be looking for his next show. (Last viewed: June 2017)

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Reggie Watts: Why S??? So Crazy posterReggie Watts: Why S!?! So Crazy
      2010 | USA | Laughs: 1.0 | imdb: 7.2
      

Reggie was highly recommended to me by a friend who often has similar tastes. Reggie's specialty is to sing humorous lyrics, with a range of funny voices, over a background of loops that he lays by skillful beat boxing. There is no doubt that Reggie is extremely talented, but unlike my friend I wasn't blown away by those performances. For one, I couldn't agree with him that they were unique—having seen a number of acts using looping over the years. Bill Bailey, whom my friend didn't know, certainly comes to mind. For me, in a sense, Bill is the original Reggie Watts, although Bill's sets (such as the wonderful Part Troll) have lots in them besides "funny music". And that's another thing that dampened my enthusiasm about the extremely talented, immensely likeable Reggie Watts: for me, too much of the show was "the same". Sad to say, but I kept falling asleep, and it wasn't sleep deprivation as I was later able to sit through a moderately funny episode of the Australian comedy series Rake. During Reggie's video I smiled a lot, I was impressed, but I dozed off too many times and just didn't laugh.

So while I respect Reggie's talent and find him immensely likeable, I won't be seeking out more of his work. On the other hand, your tastes might be more aligned with my friend's, so I encourage you to check him out. (Last viewed: June 2017)

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Tom Segura: Completely Normal posterTom Segura: Completely Normal
      2014 | USA | Laughs: 6.8 | imdb: 7.8
      

After watching Mostly Stories, I was motivated to watch Tom's other sets. This one from two years earlier did not disappoint. I know this may sound weird but for me half the show is in Tom's face, and half of the other half is in his demeanor: it seems to me that he doesn't talk all that much, and what he says isn't always all that funny—but the delivery is always perfect. I'm glad to have added Tom to my collection of to-watch comics and can't wait to see how he evolves. (Last viewed: June 2017)

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Tom Segura: Mostly Stories posterTom Segura: Mostly Stories
      2016 | USA | Laughs: 6.5 (Laugh Out Loud) | imdb: 7.4
      

This show, my introduction to Tom Segura, made me laugh some and smile lots. I felt that Tom adds something to what his contemporaries (Bill Burr, Louis CK, Jim Jefferies…) are already doing, and that's not a feeling I get every day.

The material isn't extraordinarily sophisticated, but half the show is watching Tom's face: he is very expressive. He also makes great voices. Overall he comes across as very confident…perhaps too much so, as with confidence comes a slower pace, and some of the bits felt a tad drawn out. For my taste Tom could also have less time below the belt, but we all know that's not going to happen.

I'm looking forward to watching more by this talented stand-up pro. (Last viewed: May 2017)

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Pete Johansson: You Might Also Enjoy Pete Johansson posterPete Johansson: You Might Also Enjoy Pete Johansson
      2016 | USA | Laughs: 3.5 (Watch Once) | imdb: 5.3
      

After watching an excerpt from one of his sets, I thought I might enjoy Pete Johansson, so my lady friend and I popped this tape in to give him a go. We both liked him—she perhaps more than I. What I liked was that Pete appeared to be fairly bright and that he made me laugh a few times. His brand of humor seems to be somewhere on the Bill Burr - Louis CK continuum. For now I found the set a bit diluted (not enough laughs), but it's entirely possible Pete may devise something more potent in the future. (Last viewed: May 2017)

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Jimmy Carr Comedian posterJimmy Carr: Comedian
      2007 | U.K. | Laughs: 7.2 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.1
      

Three years after I'd watched the Jimmy Carr: Live set, a friend convinced me to give Jimmy another go. Since I laughed, I wasn't disappointed, although I was left a little dissatisfied. As with the other show, this is not the kind of comedy that feeds your brain, as do those by (say) Bill Bailey or Doug Stanhope.

My review is essentially the same as that for Jimmy Carr: Live. Rapid-fire jokes, good laughs, but, oddly, not a set I'll want to watch again as it fails to challenge and nourish, leaving me a bit dissatisfied. (Last viewed: April 2017)

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Louis CK - Oh My God posterLouis CK - Oh My God
      2013 | USA | Laughs: 6.5 (Laugh and Smile) | imdb: 8.4
      wikipedia

Over the years, Louis CK has been feeding his shows from two different taps—the smart tap and the trashy tap. For this special, thankfully, he doesn't have the trashy tap all the way open, which makes it easier to watch than his Beacon Theatre special.

For laughs, the show starts at its peak. Then there is a very long lull. Then the show picks up again and Louis ends strong.

Overall, a very enjoyable hour. (Last viewed: September 2016)

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Jim Jefferies - Freedumb posterJim Jefferies: Freedumb
      2016 | Australia | Laughs: 8.0 (Laugh Out Loud) | imdb: 7.7
      

Jim Jefferies has done it again. I always feel apprehensive when I sit down to watch one of my favorite stand-up comedians, as, following its own law of gravitation, all comedic talent that rises must eventually fall. What a treat then to see Jim at the top of his form.

The material that will most stimulate a US audience might be the bit when Jim compares a component of the American self-image ("land of the free") with reality. Some day, who knows, Jim could be the one who bases a whole set on Chomsky and makes his contrarian analysis more accessible by turning it into comedy.

My only complaint (and a minor one) would be that Jim mentioned a couple of "celebrities" I'd never heard of—circumstantial humor which is perishable by nature, as no one will know what the joke was about when we watch the tape again ten years from now.

The set's ninety minutes went by fast. I was beaming throughout. More than ever, I was left thinking that Jim Jefferies's talent is a gift to the English-speaking world. (Last viewed: August 2016)

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Bill Bailey: Dandelion Mind posterBill Bailey: Dandelion Mind
      2010 | U.K. | Laughs: 6.5 | imdb: 7.6
      

This show is not Bill's best but it has its good moments. To nitpick: one bit involving the public is particularly repetitive; there are many musical numbers, not all of which are inspired; there are many references to celebrities, which makes the show less universal, and prone to faster to aging. (Last viewed: November 2015)

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Bill Cosby: Far from Finished posterBill Cosby: Far from Finished
      2013 | USA | Laughs: 6.0 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.0
      

Maybe I was tired, but for me the first 30 minutes of this show was a bit of a yawner. When I picked it up the next day, Bill made me laugh, and apart from a few long moments, it was a delight until the end. The main themes (the wife, kids) will be well familiar to those who have seen Bill's other sets. (Last viewed: June 2015)

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Louis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store posterLouis C.K.: Live at the Comedy Store
      2015 | USA | Laughs: 7.0 | imdb: 7.8
      

After a while, most stand-up comedians naturally peter out as they exhaust their source of material. In his past shows Louis CK seemed well-engaged on this down slope, but this set firmly reverses the trend, and features Louis at his funniest I had seen him in a long time. The setting is intimate, and the camera captures facial expressions that greatly enhance the performance. If you don't mind a little crudeness, this is an entertaining set. (Last viewed: February 2015)

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Trevor Noah: That's Racist posterTrevor Noah: That's Racist
      2012 | South Africa | Laughs: 2.0 | imdb: 6.9
      

Even though this show didn't make us laugh, we found it well worth watching for cultural reasons. We don't have any real sense of what it's like living in South Africa today, and the perspective of a stand-up comedian provides a valuable window. I did smile a lot and chuckle a few times. Trevor's material is clean and largely focuses on race relations and internal politics. A number of references went over my head, but that didn't matter because Trevor is a real chameleon with accents and it was a treat to hear him switch from various South African accents to something as remote as suthern. (Last viewed: December 2014)

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Eddie Izzard: Force Majeure Live posterEddie Izzard: Force Majeure Live
      2013 | U.K. | Laughs: 4.5 | imdb: 7.4
      wikipedia

Despite being an Izzard fan and watching with a lot of goodwill, I must admit to sitting through much of the show without laughing. Eddie's pacing, delivery, miming were as finely tuned as in his finest shows, but the material just didn't excite either of us. Have we reached an "Izzard saturation threshold"? Probably not, as older shows still work for us. Maybe we were just tired, or maybe Eddie wasn't as inspired as in the late 1990s. (Last viewed: December 2014)

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Jim Jefferies: BARE posterJim Jefferies: BARE
      2014 | Australia | Laughs: 6.8 | imdb: 8.1
      

(Warning: foul language, adult themes.) This show didn't seem as polished or original as Jim's earlier ones. It seemed to me that the "smarter themes" had been removed (the remaining segment on gun control would hardly be controversial in Boston), leaving the bulk of the show to focus on bedroom material. In other words, it seemed to me like Jim had sold out. The language and themes are cruder than ever (too crude for my taste) but if you can get over that, you might just enjoy Jim's bright mind and some aspects of his unique blend of comedy. For my part, I don't watch stand-up comedy to hear a lot of bedroom jokes, and overworked themes such as airport security don't interest me either. Despite these shortcomings, the show made me laugh and there were still lots of bits to enjoy, such as the South African accent Jim puts on in one of the segments.

If you haven't seen Jim yet, I'd recommend you start with another of his shows, such as Fully Functional or I Swear to God. (Last viewed: December 2014)

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Bill Burr: I'm Sorry You Feel That WayBill Burr: I'm Sorry You Feel That Way
      2014 | USA | Laughs: 8.5 (Laugh Out Loud) | imdb: 8.4
      

When I saw that Bill Burr had a new show out I was really excited to watch it. After they've done a few specials, most stand-up comedians peter out—and who can blame them? Coming up with new material is hard work. But Bill still has it: this show didn't disappoint and left me with a tingly feeling in my laughing spot for many hours after.

Stand-up comedy has a lot to do with being smart, and Bill is one of the brightest guys around. Although he swears a lot, he's not gratuitously filthy and dedicates most of his stage time bravely tackling taboo topics ranging from religion to various of our civilized hypocrisies. Hearing a bit of sanity every once in a while really hits the spot, and I'm grateful to Bill not only for the endorphin rush but also for recharging my philanthropic batteries. (Last viewed: December 2014)

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(This section: Stand-Up Comedy Sets)


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