Whether you're stressed out about taxes, frustrated to death with politics or just getting over that nasty cold that's been going around, few things are more relaxing than cranking up a good comedy special. Standup comics are basically the comfort food of television, while an added zing of satisfaction that can only come from a person who just gets us and isn't afraid to say what we're all secretly thinking.
Fortunately, Netflix has been churning out a ton of comedy specials in the last couple of years, so we have plenty of big-name performances to choose from. TooFab has put together a list of some of our favorites -- plus a few hyped-up comedians who didn't quite hit the mark.
See our list of nine top Netflix comedy specials below.
He's been gone a long time, but he hasn't lost his edge. After reappearing on the comedy scene right after the election in a pitch-perfect episode of "Saturday Night Live," Chappelle has released his first two comedy specials in ten years, performing to roaring crowds in LA and Austin. He's still not afraid to get dangerously close to crossing the line about things like racism, O.J. Simpson and Bill Cosby -- he even rips into everybody's current faves Key & Peele for supposedly stealing his act while he was gone. You might need to dock him a point or two for his cruder jokes about women and the transgender community, but even then it's hard to keep a straight face.
Schumer virtually became a household name overnight after the release of her comedy special, “Mostly Sex Stuff,” and since then it has been easy street for her. After finding comedy success, Schumer has landed major leading roles, played herself in a hit television show, released two books, and is starring in her own comedy special on Netflix. As she puts it, she's gotten very "rich, famous and humble" this past year. Unfortunately, as we've seen with many other comedians who go from zero to 100 overnight, her act has just become ... unfunny. “The Leather Special” drags -- she jokes about genitals and gross bodily functions for a straight 30 minutes before awkwardly segueing into a sincere but preachy bit about gun violence and women's rights. Watch at your own risk, or maybe just revisit "Inside Amy Schumer's" greatest hits instead.
In the age of Trump, Louis CK seems even more like one of those politically-incorrect blue-collar white male voices everyone insists we should be listening to, so it's nice and cathartic to have him come onstage and mock the shit out of the whole concept. "So you know, I think abortion is ... " he starts off, and by the end of the joke nobody comes out unscathed. There's also never been a better time for his brand of everything-sucks-forever sarcasm as we trudge through the daily grind of going to work, navigating relationships and having arguments about our current political climate. Crack open a beer and have a nice long laugh at how screwed we are.
Iliza Schlesinger is literally every 20-something woman, seen through the added wisdom of her 30s. She tackles the real issues going on in our lives -- body glitter, the current obsession with mermaids, and digging through oversized purses, just to name a few. We can’t be the only ones who laugh at every one of Schlesinger’s jokes about millennials getting drunk and embarrassing themselves on Instagram, knowing full well that we are the exact people she is making jokes about. (We, like, can’t even, you guys.) Don’t stop with “Confirmed Kills” though -- Netflix has two more comedy specials from the Mother of Party Goblins for you to dive into.
It's not every day you see a tiny, hugely-pregnant Asian lady do a standup comedy special -- much less a tiny, hugely-pregnant Asian lady who complains loudly that feminism is the worst thing to ever happen to women because now we're expected to work for a living. Which is a shame, because Ali Wong's style of comedy is hysterical. Somehow embracing and defying stereotypes at the same time, she jokes about what a terrible driver she is, wishes she could lie down and watch "Ellen" for the rest of her life now that she's caught a husband, and talks about how nice it is to be married to an Asian man so they can go home and be comfortably racist together. She also takes a glorious shot at Louis C.K. by pointing out how male comedians who become fathers get hugely popular just by calling their kids assholes, while female comedians who become mothers are expected to disappear. Well, this mother's not going anywhere.
Bo Burnham is a pretty brilliant performer who became famous through YouTube and Vine, became disillusioned with the concept of fame and turned his singing/rapping variety show into a searing commentary on social media culture that turns us all into constant performers. "What I do know is if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it," he tells his adoring audience at one point. You should definitely watch this one if you don't mind sinking into a quiet existential crisis every so often. It's not all intensely introspective, though -- his one-liners are silly and hilarious, and he does a perfect parody of mainstream country music that you won't want to miss.
Don't get us wrong -- we love Aziz Ansari. He's been a favorite since "Parks & Recreation. His Netflix series "Master of None" is a great show and a breath of fresh air in an entertainment industry that desperately needs diversity, and we'd totally recommend his book "Modern Romance." But your mileage may vary when it comes to his standup specials -- the over-the-top, manic persona that works so well in his scripted work can get a bit exhausting when he's on stage. We do appreciate any standup comedian who rants about creepy dudes on the internet, though.
Patton Oswalt won a Grammy for "Talking for Clapping," his last standup performance filmed before his wife passed away. It's hard not to view this comedy special through the lens of that tragedy, particularly when he talks about raising his daughter. Even so, this is a solidly enjoyable watch from beginning to end, with Oswalt cleverly needling San Francisco liberals, PC culture and how hard it is for a well-meaning old straight white dude to get all the LGBTQ+ terms right. Other highlights include Oswalt explaining the plots of "Star Wars" and "My Little Pony," and his hilarious story of a suspicious-looking clown that showed up to one of his daughter's birthday parties.
You may recognize Brent Morin from the NBC sitcom “Undateable,” which he starred in alongside Chris D’Elia for three seasons. Don’t let the name fool you, though -- Morin is anything but undateable. He landed his first comedy special with Netflix in 2015 and lets out all of his awkwardness for us to enjoy. If you’re looking for a night of comedy that avoids sensitive subjects but delivers solid LOLs, “I’m Brent Morin” is waiting for you.