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 8 of 9


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Jim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale DVDJim Gaffigan: Beyond the Pale
      2006 | USA | Laughs: 6.0 | imdb: 8.0
      wikipedia

Gaffigan addresses a square-looking, middle class, mostly white audience, on topics suitable for the prude (food, the holidays, celebrations, gifts and church), and in a language devoid of profanity. I enjoyed the absence of curse words for a break from comedians who run on expletives and bodily functions. I didn't feel mentally stimulated after watching Jim's show (unlike shows by Carlin, Izzard and Stanhope), but I felt good because I had laughed. Jim alternates between his strong Irish-American voice and a fledging voice meant to be the inner dialogue of an audience member. It's not very funny at first, but the technique gets some mileage by the end as the show builds up. I'd watch this again in ten years. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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Dane Cook: Harmful if Swallowed DVDDane Cook: Harmful if Swallowed
      2003 | USA | Laughs: 6.2 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.2
      wikipedia

There's something about a good George Carlin or Eddie Murphy show that makes you think "I wouldn't mind watching that again someday". Dane made me laugh, but I have no desire to see him ever again, probably because his show lacks a certain brilliance. It's comedy for the masses, and indeed it feels like television: a young audience, an aggressive camera style, and a boyish performer who would be right at home on MTV: Dane puts a lot of energy into showing off his toned upper body. Actually, I really like that Dane acts out his jokes; he is very physical, sometimes a bit too much. For some reason, I'd say this is the kind of comedy that would go down well with a hamburger and a coke—foods I haven't touched in years. Perhaps by coincidence, I really enjoyed Dane's bits about working at a Burger King drive-through and about bathroom graffiti. Other good bits: what it would be like if we could spit acid; spelling toys of the 1980s. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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Robin Williams: Live on Broadway DVDRobin Williams: Live on Broadway
      2002 | USA | Laughs: 5.0 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.5
      wikipedia

A lot of people love Robin Williams. He has amazing powers, but that doesn't mean I have to laugh at his stand-up comedy. For the first half hour of this show, I thought he was horrible. By the end of the show, he had done a handful of brilliant bits that made it all worthwhile.

Overall, I found him really vulgar, and not because of the language. Don't look to Williams for new perspective. This is not someone showing you a new way of looking at the world, but someone who make fun of people, often with amazingly cheap shots, as in the bit about Michael Jackson. If you want to understand the first part of the show, you'd have to subscribe to People Magazine: Williams spends a lot of time making fun of people I've never heard of. As time passes, these people will become more and more obscure. This gives the show a very short "best-by date", unlike the shows of people who address universal topics, such as Carlin and Seinfeld.

But Robin is fabulous with several accents, particularly the French accent (the show's best line: "Look…I'm giving a cigarette to a baby"). His segment about the countries that have the atomic bomb lets him showcase his accents, and it made me laugh. I also loved the part where Williams plays a Scottish man explaining the game of golf—it's five-star stuff, for the archives. Last, there was a passage about religions, straight out of Eddie Izzard. It made me wonder if Izzard ghost-wrote that piece, as I read on Izzard's site that Williams promoted his Dress to Kill show in the United States. (Last viewed: September 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

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

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

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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Eddie Izzard: Stripped DVDEddie Izzard: Stripped
      2009 | U.K. | Laughs: 7.0 (Watch Once) | imdb: 7.8
      wikipedia

Belongs in the "watch once" section. Izzard at the top of his mental powers, but not of his comical powers. Stripped of his former dazzling costumes, bare of make-up, less animated, Izzard puts his brilliant mind on display. You laugh less, but you admire him more. How can the man carry on for a hundred minutes? Well, the reliance on stream-of-consciousness to move the show along is too heavy, and the segment on the Greeks far too long. Perhaps this is a good show for the English: it's a bit on the brainy, sophisticated side, which makes me wonder if Eddie is trying to get on track for a knighthood. His unsparing caricature of the queen (one of the show's choiciest bits) could improve his chances with a fair-dealing monarch. Among the other bits that made me laugh, I remember those about computers, religion, the stone age and the sect of the Hashishins. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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Russell Peters: Outsourced DVDRussell Peters: Outsourced
      2006 | Canada | Laughs: 7.5 | imdb: 8.1
      wikipedia

A Canadian of Indian origin does a whole show on various ethnic groups that compose the US and Canada. The audience is multi-cultural, and they love it—there must be something cathartic and therapeutic about someone addressing your cultural group, for a change. Russell's jokes will not make history, but I like how he interacts with the audience, and he brought me good laughs and a smile. (Last viewed: September 2010)

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George Carlin: George's Best Stuff DVDGeorge Carlin: George's Best Stuff
      1996 | USA | Laughs: 9.6 | imdb: 8.5
      

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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George Carlin: George Carlin at USC DVDGeorge Carlin: George Carlin at USC (a.k.a An Evening with George Carlin)
      1977 | USA | Laughs: 8.0 | imdb: 7.9
      wikipedia

In the first of Carlin's twelve HBO specials, you see George at his handsomest—two months short of forty—on a simple but groovy 1970s set. His animated face can sometimes remind you of Russell Crowe or Bill Murray. My favorite bits are those about shopping in the supermarket; how people sometimes miss a step on a staircase; getting dogs to look at something; what it was like, as a kid, to be small in a world built for big people; and portions of the very long (a bit too long for my taste) segment about strange words and dirty words. (Last viewed: August 2010)

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George Carlin: Playin' with Your Head DVDGeorge Carlin: Playin' with Your Head
      1986 | USA | Laughs: 6.0 | imdb: 8.2
      wikipedia

I don't particularly care for the show's wrapper, a film noir segment called "The Envelope", but the show itself delivers laughs. Some of the jokes in the show don't work for me, but several segments (such as those on greetings and lost things) are quite effective. (Last viewed: August 2010)

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George Carlin: You Are All Diseased DVDGeorge Carlin: You Are All Diseased
      1999 | USA | Laughs: 6.0 | imdb: 8.6
      wikipedia

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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Doug Stanhope: No Refunds DVDDoug Stanhope: No Refunds
      2007 | USA | Laughs: 8.8 | imdb: 8.2
      wikipedia

A social commentary that makes you laugh from relief at hearing someone else than the voice in your head bring out the ignorance, hypocrisy and complacency embedded in our society. One of those rare times when you can see someone on a TV screen use his brain to think about the world he's in. To enjoy Stanhope a threshold capacity for critical thinking is required, so he's not for everyone.But if you love him… you'll love him. (Last viewed: August 2010)

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Doug Stanhope: Word of Mouth DVDDoug Stanhope: Word of Mouth
      2002 | USA | Laughs: 4.5 (Don't Bother) | imdb: 8.2
      wikipedia

The first half of this show features Doug's trademark brand of comical lucid rave about the world we live in. It's funny, and the set may be worth watching if you hit stop around the one-hour mark. The last half-hour ruins it. Doug seems to challenge himself to see how gross he can get. He succeeds, and in so doing probably loses half his audience and most of the goodwill accrued earlier. (Last viewed: August 2010)

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Wanda Sykes: Tongue Untied DVDWanda Sykes: Tongue Untied
      2003 | USA | Laughs: 8.1 | imdb: 6.9
      

This show was a nice surprise. From seeing her on Curb Your Enthusiasm, I expected Sykes' humor to be on the aggressive side. Instead, I found that she had a light touch. She gave me many innocent laughs on topics as wide as airport security, George W. Bush, the pope, being out drinking, strip clubs, how women test men, and feeling sexy. Thank you, Wanda! (Last viewed: August 2010)

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(This section: Stand-Up Comedy Sets)


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