Stand up comedy for a ten year old?
April 24, 2012 7:28 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for stand-up comedy appropriate for a ten year old.

During a recent car ride I played my son some Bill Cosby stand-up comedy, him being the only comedian I could think of that would be appropriate, and my son loved it. I'd like to find some more comedy to play for him.

Stand-up preferred, but sketch comedy that would work in audio-only would be ok too. Video suggestions are welcome but I'd prefer something I could download as an MP3 from Amazon and play in the car.

By "appropriate for a ten year old" I mean someone who isn't dropping F-bombs and talking about blowjobs. I don't mind the occasional "shit" or some jokes that might go over his head, and I don't mind answering questions after the fact ("so, dad, why did those girls in Castle Anthrax want to be spanked?") but I'm generally looking for subject matter he'll find funny and that won't get him in trouble were he to repeat it at school. Subjects that a kid can relate to rather than routines about politics and periods. Cosby's "dad gave us chocolate cake for breakfast" bit was a big hit.

I'd also prefer stuff that we'll enjoy along with my son. So while he'd probably lose his shit if he saw Gallagher smashing some watermelons, or Carrot Top doing whatever the hell it is that Carrot Top does, I'm not sure that's the stuff I'm looking for. I don't want to be cringing while he's laughing.

Links to specific routines would be preferred, rather than just stuff like "I hear Jim Gaffigan is clean."
posted by bondcliff to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (43 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Certain Monty Python sketches could work -- the Cheese Shop, the Dead Parrot, and Crunchy Frog in particular. (And yes, you can get them in audio form.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:30 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

.....And only after post do I realize that Monty Python isn't "standup." Ooops. (Accept it as an alternate if you have a hard time.)

Would Eddie Murphy's bit about the ice cream man work? I'm trying to remember how blue he went in that one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:31 AM on April 24, 2012

Jim Gaffigan is definitely clean. Maybe you're already familiar with him, but if not I would start with the 'hot pockets' routine (you can find it on Youtube). He does a lot of stuff about food, which should be pretty relateable for a 10 year old.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 7:33 AM on April 24, 2012

Both Andy Griffith, and Bob Newhart worked clean, and were quite funny.
posted by timsteil at 7:34 AM on April 24, 2012

Brian Regan fits the bill and would make both of you laugh. He's a maniac.
posted by even butter at 7:36 AM on April 24, 2012 [8 favorites]

Emo Philips! King of the one-liner. I listened to him all throughout my childhood.

Tom Lehrer (if you count that as stand up), or Victor Borge.

Bob and Ray (link to their great Komodo dragon bit)

And, not really standup, but the Goon Show. Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, and Harry Secombe's radio show from the 1950s--full of crazy characters and sound effects and riotously funny.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:38 AM on April 24, 2012

Dr. Katz! Animated show in which all of the shrink's guests were stand-up comedians, doing bits of their routines. Always clean, and very, very funny.
posted by jbickers at 7:38 AM on April 24, 2012

Paul F. Tompkins is famous for working clean. He barely even swears. Check out his podcast appearances and his own Pod F. Tompkast.
posted by gerryblog at 7:38 AM on April 24, 2012

Specific Paul F. Tompkins routine: the peanut brittle bit.
posted by gerryblog at 7:39 AM on April 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan (Beyond the Pale, King Baby) are a good start. Oh, and on preview, seconding Paul F. Tompkins. Just saw him on a stand-up TV special for the first time the other day and he is pretty clean/funny.

If you are looking for some short, mostly clean, stand-up routines try looking up comedians that appear on network TV late-night talk shows . They usually can't get away with hugely dirty stuff on there.
posted by littlesq at 7:40 AM on April 24, 2012

Jake Johannsen! He's great and famous for not 'working blue'. I think Steven Wright also might be good, but you'll want to screen it. I can't say for sure that he never crosses a line, but most of his stuff is totally 10 year old appropriate.
posted by pazazygeek at 7:40 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

My son looves Jeff Dunham. There's bits about boobies and tatas and the slant is just a bit too conservative for me; a lot of "golly gee aint them homosexuals and Muslims just so weird and strange and HIGH-larious" rather than out and out slurs, all distanced by being spoken by the puppets he uses. He has several specials and had a weekly show for a while. Lots of stuff on netflix.

i think you're gonna have to give most things a pre-listen, just to make sure, because your line of what's appropriate may be different from anyone else's who is giving recommendations.
posted by lemniskate at 7:42 AM on April 24, 2012

Oh - if he likes just weird non-sequitors, there's early Steven Wright. Pretty clean, but just....really, really odd. I loved him, but I was a weird kid.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:50 AM on April 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Just to clarify a few things:

And only after post do I realize that Monty Python isn't "standup." Ooops.

That's ok. As I said, sketch that would work in audio is fine.

Would Eddie Murphy's bit about the ice cream man work?

Possibly, but I'd prefer it if most or all of the person's routines would work. I love Louie CK to death, and he has a lot of great stuff about kids and family, but then we click on the next YouTube link and it's all about cum. Not gonna work.

There's bits about boobies and tatas

That's fine, as long as it's somewhat tasteful and respectful of said boobies and tatas.

and the slant is just a bit too conservative for me; a lot of "golly gee aint them homosexuals and Muslims just so weird and strange and HIGH-larious"

Yeah, no.

i think you're gonna have to give most things a pre-listen

Oh yes.

I think Steven Wright also might be good

I was thinking about Steven Wright but it's been so long since I've listened to him I've forgotten what he's like. My son has already read through The Complete Far Side, so I think Wright's stuff might be right up his alley.
posted by bondcliff at 7:54 AM on April 24, 2012

Seconding Steven Wright. The entire album 'I Have a Pony' is totally clean.
posted by komara at 7:54 AM on April 24, 2012

Bill Cosby
posted by Studiogeek at 7:58 AM on April 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

The Goon Show.

A series of classic British/English radio shows, they can be a little surreal and very silly at times but that is part of the humour. No swear words or touchy subject matter. They kept me amused and confused for hours as a preteen. You can download most episodes online if you hunt around.
posted by wwax at 8:06 AM on April 24, 2012

I loved Wright's "I Have A Pony" when I was your son's age.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:06 AM on April 24, 2012

As I remember it from age 10, Cosby's God and Noah routine was the gateway drug that led me to the George Carlin and Robin Williams stand up albums, which are decidedly not 10 year old friendly. Of course, that just makes them that much more appealing to a 10 year old!

So be vigilant ;)

I didn't see Jay Leno above. I'm pretty sure he was fairly clean even before the Tonight Show.
posted by COD at 8:06 AM on April 24, 2012

A lot of Mitch Hedberg's (RIP) stuff is clean and could be right up a 10 year old boy's alley. I can't vouch for all of it - all of his albums on Amazon seem to have the "explicit" tag - but if you stick to the TV appearances it should be mostly fine.
posted by Roommate at 8:11 AM on April 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

I don't know which Cosby album you played for your son but "Why is there Air" was one of my favorites when I was little.
posted by ljesse at 8:12 AM on April 24, 2012

Response by poster: I don't know which Cosby album you played for your son

Himself and To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With.
posted by bondcliff at 8:22 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I listened to Steve Martin's Wild and Crazy Guy religiously at that age. I still know most of it off by heart three decades later.

I do remember there is a pussy joke ("Aw, come on! I'm talking about her cat!...") but I also remember there is a small child in the actual audience recorded on the album, so, how bad could it be? And some of it is just plain absurd.
posted by looli at 8:25 AM on April 24, 2012

Shari Lewis is famously funny, and her acts were completely clean (because they were partly intended for kids). Youtube
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:04 AM on April 24, 2012

I had to Google forever to find this, but when I was 10 I thought Sinbad's Brain Damaged was the most hilarious thing ever (sample: "God knows your mom can't outrun you. That's why he gave her that rubber hand. 'Don't you RUUUNNNN FROM ME!'"*). It's available on iTunes, along with several of his other stand-up albums.

*And now I'm laughing so hard at work that I'm crying.
posted by rebekah at 9:05 AM on April 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Adding an Nth for Cosby. His albums from the 60s were based on tales of his childhood and kids can relate. My favorite album is Wonderfulness.
posted by buggzzee23 at 9:07 AM on April 24, 2012

Tim Vine. That guy is the king of unapologetically brilliant punnage. "Crime in multi-storey car parks. That is wrong on so many levels."
posted by lovedbymarylane at 9:16 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Huh. So it's listed as explicit only because one line is "they got that shit done"

Stuff like that is fine. We watched Smokey and the Bandit together and he stopped counting the shits after about 30 or so. It's not so much the words but how they're used.
posted by bondcliff at 9:29 AM on April 24, 2012

I cannot recommend Adam & Joe highly enough. They're super super hilarious without ever being vulgar or even mean. It's amazing. They do a radio show on BBC6 Music (currently on hiatus) -- podcast versions of the show are available on the BBC 6 Music website or on iTunes. You can also find some of their XFM podcasts on iTunes. Check them out, your son will love them.
posted by capnsue at 9:45 AM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would recommend Brian Regan as well. While he isn't Mormon, he saw an opportunity for a comic with a clean show to do well. He has done VERY well. So, no cursing, no sex jokes, etc.

I Walked on the Moon is probably one of the most hilarious shows I've ever seen.
posted by magnetsphere at 11:11 AM on April 24, 2012

It's not stand up, but he's the perfect age for anything by Weird Al Yankovic.
posted by Wild_Eep at 12:07 PM on April 24, 2012

nth'ing Brian Regan. Especially "Lousy in Little League", "Science Project", "Spelling Bee", or really the entirety of "Brian Regan Live"....he talks a lot about being a dumb kid. My nephew (who was 11 at the time) actually showed me a homemade animation on his Nintendo DS that some other kid made to a Brian Regan clip (I think it was the science fair/cup of dirt bit).
posted by redbed at 12:48 PM on April 24, 2012

My computer just ate my last comment...

Tim Vine is a good choice, and on a similar vein is Milton Jones. Lots and lots of one-liners, no swearing (both are actually Christian, though not 'Christian comedians'. I wonder if that has a lot to do with it?). Peter Kay is seen as a comedian nans like, because he works fairly clean, but he may be too English for you with the references. There's the odd 'tits up' or 'bloody', but he's more or less PG. (He did a great sitcom, Phoenix Nights, but you pretty much need to be from the north-west to get the most out of it.) Live At The Apollo is a British stand-up show, so you might find some tips there (Michael Mcintyre is very clean) but take care - Frankie Boyle, for example, is *very* blue.

I really liked Stewart Lee when a couple of years older than him - there's an absurdist bent to his stuff that really appealed to me - but his subject matter isn't always grokked by kids. Same with Dara O'Briain - he does some material on science and atheism which might not yet be his thing. I do think Harry Hill is worth trying. He's really popular with kids due to his TV Burp show, satirising television, but has also done stand-up. He is quite surreal, and a bit of a Marmite comedian - some absolutely loathe him, some think he's brilliant.

I'm personally left cold by The Goon Show, but I think Hancock's Half Hour, another old BBC radio comedy, might be a good choice. might work. I can think of a ton of radio sketch shows that might be good (The Museum of Everything comes to mind) but Radio4Extra has a lot of stand-up too, so if you can listen to it where you are do give it a go.
posted by mippy at 1:19 PM on April 24, 2012

Sorry - I just realised that Dara O'Briain clip is a wee bit sweary. More than I remembered!
posted by mippy at 1:20 PM on April 24, 2012

Nthing Brian Regan and also nthing Hedberg. I think he is mostly clean but there might be some F bombs in there so the above poster who suggested to stick to the TV specials - great idea.

If you can, please have your son *watch* Bill Cosby Himself because that is half of the joke, I think, is watching Cosby and his actions. Mr. Getawaysticks is much more of a comedy nerd than I and once he has seen a stand up special once, he never has to watch it again, because it's engrained. (Me, on the other hand... my memory isn't so great)
posted by getawaysticks at 1:37 PM on April 24, 2012

You might also look into some Old Time Radio shows. Jack Benny, Life of Riley, The Great Gildersleeve, Burns and Allen all "worked clean" (since there wasn't really another option), and much of their stuff holds up even 80 years later (!).. There are tons of free podcast feeds of them on iTunes, since they're all out of copyright, or you can order CDs from someplace like RadioSpirits.

I grew up without a TV in my room, so old time radio shows were my entertainment.
posted by softlord at 4:51 PM on April 24, 2012

Seconding Adam and Joe as fairly perfect for a ten year old. Which is not to say it's puerile, crass, or even targeted at kids. But there's something about their vibe that's very much like hanging out with your friends as a kid, possibly because they've known each other since they were kids.
posted by ignignokt at 4:58 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I grew up listening to George Carlin's Take-Offs and Put-Ons and as far as I can remember it's completely clean. (Apparently a lot of the routines had been written for TV performances so they had to be.) I still think it's just as funny as any of his later stuff, though in a completely different way — goofy and light-hearted rather than satirical.
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:34 PM on April 24, 2012

Nobody has yet mentioned Ellen DeGeneres? It's been a while since I've watched her standup, but I remember loving it as a kid. She's hilarious, clean (to the best of my recollection), and not cruel.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 6:48 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kevin James ("Doug Heffernan" from King of Queens, "Paul Blart" from Paul Blart: Mall Cop) has some good standup, and he's always been known as a clean (i.e, no swearing), comic.
posted by KillaSeal at 7:04 PM on April 24, 2012

I've always loved Brian Regan, but noticing the audio-only part of your request, part of his entertainment factor is the ridiculous faces and physical poses he makes to emphasize his more idiotic moments. But I imagine his material still works sound-wise.

I've recently started to enjoy Mike Birbiglia, who I first heard via This American Life. Smart, affable, even thoughtful. I can't recall if his stuff was particularly suited for "general audiences" or would appeal only to adults. I guess his signature act is the one about sleepwalking.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 3:42 AM on April 25, 2012

Check out Tom Shillue; he's similar to Cosby in that his comedy is more clean, long stories than jokes. He's great.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:26 AM on April 25, 2012

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