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 9 of 12


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Zach Galifianakis: Comedy Central Presents DVDZach Galifianakis: Comedy Central Presents
      1998 | USA | Laughs: 3.0 | imdb: 8.0
      

After enjoying Zach more in recent movies such as Due Date than in his earlier roles, it was a pleasure to see him on stage—but I found the segment pretty weak. He opened by rolling out one joke after another. I much prefer when the material is connected. After five minutes, Zach jumped on the piano—to my mind, an accessory that rarely add comic power, but more often covers up loose material. It was cute, but not what I'm looking for when I want to laugh, and I nearly went to sleep. The audience of young women laughed hysterically at the least syllable, so at least someone liked the show. I'll be looking for a full set of Zach's material to see how he performs without the constraint of a twenty-minute TV segment. (Last viewed: November 2012)

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John Cleese: The Alimony Tour DVDJohn Cleese: The Alimony Tour
      2011 | U.K. | Laughs: 3.0 | imdb: 7.0
      

As a John Cleese fan, I found this set just watchable, and only out of interest in John Cleese. Aided by slides and video clips, Cleese navigates through episodes of his life and career, episodes which include a costly divorce that forced him out of retirement—the show's premise. There were a few chuckles, but overall this is not a great piece of stand-up. Unless you have a rabid interest in John Cleese, you can safely skip it. (Last viewed: May 2012)

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Lewis Black: Red, White and Screwed DVDLewis Black: Red, White and Screwed
      2006 | USA | Laughs: 2.5 (Don't Bother) | imdb: 7.9
      

This 2006 show has little more than fast-aging, circumstantial material focused on the main preoccupation of the city where it was taped, Washington, D.C.: the two main political parties of the United States. It is slow, it is weak, it is not very funny, except for a laugh or two that fail to redeem the show. Black on Broadway, by the same comedian, is older but much funnier. (Last viewed: January 2012)

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Lewis Black: Black on Brodway DVDLewis Black: Black on Brodway
      2004 | USA | Laughs: 6.5 | imdb: 8.1
      wikipedia

Does it take twenty minutes for Lewis Black to warm up, or does it take twenty minutes to warm up to him? To my ears, Black often seems to yell, which I find unpleasant. He is also heavy on expletives that don't really help his material; at least he doesn't dwell on the content of his underpants. The first laugh was a long time in coming, but by the middle of the show, I had started laughing out loud. I like that Lewis draws laughs by placing his compatriots' world view ("America number one") in a wider context. Some countries are good at making fun of themselves, some not as good, and that makes Lewis's efforts all the more valuable. Red, White and Screwed, by the same comedian, sits firmly in the "Don't Bother Watching" category. (Last viewed: January 2012)

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Brian Regan: Standing Up DVDBrian Regan: Standing Up
      2007 | USA | Laughs: 8.0 | imdb: 7.8
      

I was impressed that none of the material repeats that from 2004. For the most part, just as funny as I Walked on the Moon. I took off one quarter of a star because of the parts of the show when Brian mentions his children—cute but not funny. Very strong show overall. (Last viewed: April 2011)

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Wanda Sykes: Sick and Tired DVDWanda Sykes: Sick and Tired
      2006 | USA | Laughs: 8.2 | imdb: 7.3
      

I think I may have enjoyed this show even more than Tongue Untied. Wanda's style is unlike that of any other comedian I know—male or female. I find her brilliant. Much of the humor in this show comes from Wanda divulging thoughts that are normally kept private. This gives her a surprising ability to draw laughs out of "dirty topics" without making you feel dirty. Not that the entire hour of the show is spent below the belt: it also visits "serious topics" such as war and medical care. (Last viewed: April 2011)

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Ricky Gervais: Out of England DVDRicky Gervais: Out of England
      2010 | U.K. | Laughs: 7.6 | imdb: 8.0
      

Taken independently, this show rates four stars on my scale. But if you've seen Politics, you may be disappointed—it seemed to me that three quarters of this show's material was identical to the earlier show's. Yet the stage was magnificent, with massive lit letters spelling the name "Ricky", a clear effort to go "over the top", perhaps because the show was recorded in the United States. (Last viewed: April 2011)

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Ricky Gervais: Politics DVDRicky Gervais: Politics
      2004 | U.K. | Laughs: 7.4 | imdb: 7.9
      wikipedia

Gervais is so politically incorrect that he can make you ashamed of laughing at his jokes! I enjoyed this show's dark and naughty sense of humor, though at times I almost wanted to make sure no one saw me watching. I couldn't help laughing, but even as I laughed I had to feel sorry for Ricky' victims. One is left wondering if the man on stage is truly mean, or if his meanness is only his act.

I found the pacing excellent, full of pauses in the right places, except for a crude segment purporting to describe a funny pamphlet. It went on forever: Ricky certainly knows how to stretch a bad joke. (Last viewed: April 2011)

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George Carlin: Carlin at Carnegie DVDGeorge Carlin: Carlin at Carnegie
      1982 | USA | Laughs: 6.5 | imdb: 8.2
      wikipedia

In this show George wears a spectacular green outfit, and that's a good thing because in the beginning there is not much else to hold your attention. It was a good fifteen minutes until I cracked a laugh. Before then, the funniest thing was to see members of the audience roaring at jokes that completely flopped in our living room. I should also say that I don't care for the faces Carlin makes (in this show and others) to mock people whom he wants to portray as having a low intellect. Why does he have to cross his eyes? Is strabismus a sign of low IQ? I don't suffer from that condition, but the mime annoys me—I find it to be stupid, mean, gratuitously offensive comedy. This show has other weak bits: one of these interminable sessions where George pretends to read "the news"; and a variation on his classic bit about the words you cannot say on television. It only felt like an hour long. So why the 3.25 stars? I really like the part about fussy eaters. And for me, the segment about dogs (also on George's Best Stuff) may be his best skits ever. It is followed by a few minutes about cats, also George at his best. (Last viewed: March 2011)

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Bill Maher: Be More Cynical DVDBill Maher: Be More Cynical
      2000 | USA | Laughs: 7.8 | imdb: 7.0
      wikipedia

Wherever you live, and particularly in the USA, there is so much stupidity in the mainstream culture that when someone points his finger at it and shows things for what they are, you can feel a relief that releases laughter. This is what Maher does here. He does it well—without rage or insults, but with a smile. My favorite segments where the one about society's fixation on kids and the one about government telling you what's bad for you. Some of the material will age poorly as it bears the stamp of current events, but I would watch the show again, unlike The Decider, another Maher show. (Last viewed: March 2011)

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Dave Chappelle: For What It's Worth DVDDave Chappelle: For What It's Worth
      2004 | USA | Laughs: 7.0 (Watch Once) | imdb: 8.5
      wikipedia

I discovered Dave Chappelle in the movie Half-Baked, which I hadn't expect to like, but did. I'm a bit sad because I really would like to give Chappelle four stars. When he's good, I love him. He's obviously really bright (good comedians have to be), and it shows in his style, the style of an independent thinker. But why does Dave have to spend half the show talking about the contents of his underpants? Is it to reach a broader audience, or does he really like smut talk? Anyway, for me, if you have such a hard time getting out of your underpants, I don't know if you can get four stars. (Last viewed: March 2011)

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Eddie Izzard: Sexie DVDEddie Izzard: Sexie
      2003 | U.K. | Laughs: 6.0 | imdb: 7.5
      wikipedia

If you've seen all of Eddie's shows, watching Sexie is a bit like a visit with an old friend. You have fun, it's very pleasant, but it's not a high of your existence. Sexie is not breakneck-speed-Eddie-Izzard, but more of a casual presentation to an audience that already loves him. The most striking part of the show is perhaps Eddie's costume, taken to an extreme that suits the famous rock'n roll venue, a series of cross-dressing outfits complete with high heels, skirts and fake boobs. Apart from a few flashbacks to other shows (speed archeology, Achilles heel), the material is fresh. My friend and I found the ending weak, with a horse-riding skit that goes on for about three times too long, then, for an encore, an impersonation that would be more at home in a "bonus material" section. I liked the show but will probably not watch it again.

There is a second DVD release from the Sexie tour called Live from Wembley. (Last viewed: December 2010)

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Richard Pryor: Live in Concert DVDRichard Pryor: Live in Concert
      1979 | USA | Laughs: 6.0 | imdb: 8.2
      wikipedia

When this show was taped, Pryor's "white people do this… black people do that" routine and use of foul language may have been cutting-edge material. Today, these aspects of the show feel tired. But there's lots left to like, from the skits about hunting in the woods and about boxing with Mohammed Ali to the fact that Richard is just a beautiful, mesmerizing performer. Just for those, I'd watch this tape again in ten years. A few laughs guaranteed, smiles throughout. (Last viewed: November 2010)

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George Carlin: Carlin on Campus DVDGeorge Carlin: Carlin on Campus
      1984 | USA | Laughs: 7.0 | imdb: 8.1
      wikipedia

Some of Carlin's show repeat old material. I like that most of the material here is original. There is a long and effective segment on driving. And even though I'm not a sports head, I love Carlin's upbeat-downbeat comparison of baseball and football. (Last viewed: October 2010)

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Bill Cosby: Himself DVDBill Cosby: Himself
      1983 | USA | Laughs: 8.0 | imdb: 8.2
      wikipedia

Many comedians make you feel dirty just for listening to one minute of their show. When you spend an hour with Bill Cosby, you feel like you've just visited with a genius uncle. Bill can make you laugh forever with ordinary topics such as dogs and children: Why would he ever bother with smut?

Unlike many comics who do their whole show without an expression on their faces, Cosby is an actor too—he may well have the most expressive face in the business. There isn't much Cosby stand-up on DVD, and, although on this one Bill is actually sitting for most of the show, it's a treasure. (Last viewed: October 2010)

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