I love a long-drawn seven-season drama TV show just as much as the next person — but sometimes it can just get exhausting. You don’t want to always have to be so invested in the plot (and subplots) and characters. Sometimes, you just want to switch on Netflix and have a good laugh.
Netflix is full of stand-up comedy specials and they all average around the duration of an hour. It’s the perfect way to unwind after a long day or something to watch while you scoff down dinner. You know what they say, laughter is the best medicine!
But we don’t want you to spend all your time scrolling through the Netflix stand-up comedy catalog. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best comedy specials for you to choose from. We haven’t ranked it in any particular order — since it would be unfair to call one of them funnier than the other, and we’d rather let you be the judge of that.
Hannah Gadsby, Nanette
This is a Netflix comedy special that’s unlike any other. We thought it only fair to include it at the top because it truly blurs the boundaries between comedy and personal documentary. Hannah Gadsby has made a name for herself for her witty and self-deprecating humor on her unique life experiences as a lesbian stand-up comedian.
In this special, she explores her ambivalent feelings towards comedy — openly and vulnerably expressing what it’s like to be a self-deprecating comedian that feeds on humiliating themselves.
But don’t worry, although it sounds heavy and serious — Hannah Gadsby manages to weave in these moments of vulnerability with light-hearted quips and clever takes.
Run time: 69 Minutes
Hasan Minhaj, Homecoming King
You’ve probably heard of Hasan Minhaj by now, the Indian-American political commentator, show host, and comedian. In this comedy special, he puts aside the politics to delve into his childhood as the son of South Asian immigrants. Minhaj has hilarious experiences to share about the identity of a brown teenager means in an All-American high school. It’s funny and super relatable because no matter what our race, gender, or orientation: we’re all familiar with what it means to be an outsider.
Run Time: 73 minutes
Bo Burnham, Make Happy
Bo Burnham is considered a comedy prodigy. He’s also a screenwriter, a poet, a musician, and a vocalist. His comedy special has the word Happy in its name, but it’s anything but. Sure, you’ll laugh, but you’ll also be taken completely aback by Bo Burnham’s startling perspectives on the world and his performances that completely transcend genres. Make Happy is the kind of special that you’ll find yourself coming back to again and again: in awe of rapid quick wit and discerning self-aware one-liners.
Run Time: 60 minutes
Chelsea Peretti, One of the Greats
If you recognize Chelsea as the girl from Brooklyn Nine-Nine: yes, this is Gina Linetti, the civilian administrator. And she is every bit as entertaining and hilarious as her on-screen character (if not more). In this comedy special, she actually talks about the hilarious aspects of comedy itself. She highlights the various idiosyncrasies and awkward moments that repetitively occur in almost every stand-up comedy. If you’re someone who watches a lot of stand-up comedy, you’ll greatly appreciate this self-referential meta-take-on comedy.
Run Time: 74 minutes
There are plenty of great comedy specials that you can watch on Netflix, and we’ve only highlighted our favorites. But be forewarned: watching comedy specials is addicting! Soon, you won’t have the patience to dedicate time to a TV show, and you’ll only want to unwind by laughing at some of the best comedians on the planet. Have fun!