The Funniest Stand-Up Comedy


   

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

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


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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: 6.1
      

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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Russell Brand: Messiah Complex posterRussell Brand: Messiah Complex
      2013 | U.K. | Laughs: 3.0 | imdb: 6.8
      

I enjoyed Russell Brand in Get Him to the Greek but hadn't seen him in another context until this show. For me, it was similar to listening to a kid who is quite bright (but not that bright) excitedly share his latest views. The kid may make you break out a smile, but if you've had a chance to entertain all sorts of ideas over your long life, the kid's ideas are probably not that interesting. Russell is not a kid, of course, but that's a way to describe what watching the first twenty minutes of the show. I walked away at that point, so I can't comment on the overall performance, but for the intended audience, this is probably a fine show. (Last viewed: May 2014)

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Bill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra posterBill Bailey's Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra
      2009 | U.K. | Laughs: 2.5 (Light-Hearted) | imdb: 7.7
      

This is not a traditional stand-up set, but rather a humorous musical tour (with some elements of stand-up) with the full support of the BBC concert orchestra. Those who are familiar with Bill's material will recognize many of his humorous songs, whose recycling is not always enhanced by the orchestral backing. The funniest part was the very end of the show, when Bill and the orchestra compete for who will play the final measures.

For those who are familiar with Bill's earlier material there is not much else to laugh at—but there is lots to smile at, and this is still a fun and worthwhile performance. If nothing else, the idea of having Bill (the epitome of "casual" in past days) in charge of an orchestra in full pomp—and in a grandiose setting—is a delicious premise, and the contrast created thus is the only humor this show needs. (Last viewed: January 2014)

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Jimmy Carr Live posterJimmy Carr Live
      2004 | U.K. | Laughs: 6.9 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.0
      

Jimmy Carr seems to belong to the tradition of stand-up comedians who deliver unrelated jokes in rapid-fire, rather than the tradition of those who take the audience through an exploration of loosely connected themes. I find this style harder to follow, and it may well be harder to perform as well. Jimmy also interacts with the audience. His use of written material, his businesslike presentation and the desk on the stage reminded me of Bob Newhart's Button Down Concert. But where Newhart is likeable, Carr is (by choice) unlikeable, less because of his foul mouth than because he picks on easy targets, as Ricky Gervais often does. It's hit-or-miss, but when it hits, it really works. I laughed and smiled, I was entertained and I'm glad I watched this set—but I probably won't run out to look for more of Jimmy's material. (Last viewed: December 2013)

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Dara O Briain: Craic Dealer posterDara O Briain: Craic Dealer
      2012 | U.K. | Laughs: 5.5 | imdb: 7.7
      

This tape felt like the fast-food of Dara O'Briain stand-up sets: high in fat and low on nutritional value. Much of the show feels less like watching stand-up than like watching an MC amping up the crowd about the main act that's about to come on stage. Sadly, the main act never shows. Yes, there are good moments, but far too much filler in between. Perhaps that is digestible in a land where sandwiches contain half an inch of butter (my memories of England), but I doubt this formula would work overseas. The last quarter of the show is probably the strongest.

ps: Yes, I know the show was taped in Scotland. You can put down that world map. (Last viewed: December 2013)

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(This section: Stand-Up Comedy Sets)


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