Standup Comedy Recommendations
January 20, 2023 8:31 AM   Subscribe

My New Year’s resolution was to watch more standup as it brings me joy! Please recommend me your favourite standup comedy specials, I like feminist, pro LGBTQ+, no punching down comedians, below are specials some I’ve watched and enjoyed recently. Thanks!

Atsuko Okatsuka: The Intruder
Katherine Ryan: Missus
Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel
Sheng Wang: Sweet and Juicy
Hasan Minhaj: The King's Jester
More, More, More! How Do You Lycett? How Do You Lycett? (Joe Lycett)
Fern Brady: Power & Chaos

(There is a similar question from 2011 but the first two answers recommend Bill Cosby, Louis CK, and Dave Chappelle so definitely time for an update!)
posted by ellieBOA to Media & Arts (62 answers total) 83 users marked this as a favorite
Taylor Tomlinson (any)
posted by tristeza at 8:35 AM on January 20 [14 favorites]

Anything by Clara Olshansky, Sara Pascoe, Kiri Pritchard Maclean, Sophie Duker or James Acaster
posted by JJZByBffqU at 8:43 AM on January 20

Taylor Tomlinson (any)
posted by tristez

posted by Carillon at 8:47 AM on January 20

If you're willing to listen, old episodes of Put Your Hands Together are delightful: up-and-coming comedians and more established names, hosted live by Cameron Esposito and River Butcher. Really diverse representation.
posted by knile at 8:47 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]

Sarah Millican's always a joy.
posted by penguin pie at 9:11 AM on January 20 [11 favorites]

Jackie Kashian, "This Will Make An Excellent Horcrux"
Steve Hofstetter, "The Recipe"
Both Hannah Gadsby specials that are on Netflix
posted by hanov3r at 9:12 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]

River Butcher was already mentioned, but his work has delighted me from day one, and I've been so happy to see him come into his own. Check out his latest special, A Different Kind of Dude.

(And yes, PYHT was a wellspring of incredible local female/queer/gender-chaotic talent. The only comedy show in L.A. that I could walk into and know I'd both feel safe and laugh myself to suffocating tears.)
posted by mykescipark at 9:20 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Deanne Smith
posted by H21 at 9:25 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Fortune Feimster
Ali Wong

Both have a couple of specials on Netflix.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 9:58 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]

Youtube keeps algorithming me Taylor Tomlinson, and whenever I've actually watched one of her videos, I've enjoyed it. (And I'm not really a comedy person, so if I enjoy it, it's probably good.)
posted by kevinbelt at 9:58 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

+1 for James Acaster and Ali Wong

Also: Bo Burnham, Aparna Nancherla, Tig Notaro.

I don't love all of Demetri Martin, but I thought The Overthinker was a good special.

Iliza Shlesinger is a bit more broad, and it might seem like at first it's going to be classic 'Men are from mars, women are from Venus' schitck, but she is very clever about it - I haven't seen everything by her, but Elder Millennial was my favorite.

Also, this is obviously not new, but I finally got around to watching some old Richard Pryor, and it was fascinating - some of his stuff on gender is definitely, uh, outdated, but I'd say it's still worth watching.
posted by coffeecat at 10:08 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

For anyone else who was wondering, I believe this is the 2011 question referred to: What are some great standup comedy shows, specials or DVDs that I should see?
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:11 AM on January 20

Oh definitely Cold Lasagne Hate Myself 1999 (Acaster's Netflix specials are also very good).
posted by babelfish at 10:25 AM on January 20 [5 favorites]

Julio Torres has a special on HBO that I thought was pretty funny. His whole shtick is very unique and charming.
posted by cakelite at 10:30 AM on January 20 [4 favorites]

Nthing Taylor Tomlinson and Fortune Feimster. I think Nick Kroll's new Netflix special is hilarious.
posted by gnutron at 10:38 AM on January 20

Amy Miller's Ham Mouth is very good
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:53 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Jimmy O’ Yang: Good Deal (haven’t watched Atsuko Otsuka’s special yet but based on the brief snippet I saw, it seems like if you liked her stuff you’ll also enjoy Jimmy O’ Yang).

Mo Amer: The Vagabond (kind of similar to Hasan Minhaj)
posted by dean_deen at 11:00 AM on January 20

Mawaan Rizwan: a gay Pakistani-born British actor, writer and comedian who began his career as a YouTuber.

Mawaan: "Are You Checking Me Out Or Are You Just A Racist?" on Friday Night Live

posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 11:10 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Love Mawaan! He made a music video for the song!

So many great suggestions, thank you all so far!
posted by ellieBOA at 11:14 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Check out the Bullseye end-of-the-year comedy roundup for a bunch of worthwhile possibilities.
posted by umbú at 11:25 AM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Figuring out how to access them depending on jurisdiction seems to be confusing, but I recommend seeking out Alice Fraser's specials trilogies:

The Resistance

posted by General Malaise at 11:32 AM on January 20

The specials straddle the line between storytelling and standup but Mike Birbiglia's work is incredible.
posted by telegraph at 11:40 AM on January 20 [7 favorites]

Mae Martin hasn't been mentioned yet!
posted by Iteki at 12:18 PM on January 20 [3 favorites]

Also if you haven't checked out John Mulany, he's just this very sweet, wholesome, funnnny comedian; proof that straight white men can be funny! (jk)
posted by Iteki at 12:21 PM on January 20 [4 favorites]

Gareth Reynolds. There's a lot of short, free stuff online if you want to taste it first. (He's a straight white guy, but unusually kind and self aware.)
posted by eotvos at 12:22 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Also, I didn't mention Eddie Izzard 'cause I assumed it was already listed. (Maybe it has been? I don't remember any of the specific show names.) Any recorded show will be very good.
posted by eotvos at 12:28 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Go Faster Stripe's lineup (downloads; they also have DVDs) has some absolutely joyful stuff; it isn't all stand-up, some of my favourites play about on the edges of standup/sketch/character/clowning/general bullshit (eg, John-Luke Roberts).

Of the standup maybe Bethany Black, Sooz Kempner, Susan Calman fit your bill best? None of their bill that I've ever seen do punching-down comedy, though.
posted by Shark Hat at 12:45 PM on January 20

Judy Tenuta died recently. I think she was brilliant. I don't think she lands anywhere on any political spectrum. Think a deranged bag lady who thinks she's a sex goddess. "It could happen."
posted by AugustusCrunch at 1:13 PM on January 20 [5 favorites]

I really like what I’ve seen of Hari Kondabolu!
posted by armeowda at 1:18 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Shark Hat, don’t worry, the question was for not punching down comedians!

Thanks again for the latest suggestions.
posted by ellieBOA at 1:19 PM on January 20

Jen Kirkman has a couple of great specials on Netflix.
posted by ejs at 1:38 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Enthusiastic +1 for Alice Fraser.

Kurt Braunohler might fit the bill. I haven't seen all of his new special yet, but it's available on YouTube.
posted by doift at 2:03 PM on January 20

Fortune Feimster reigns queen of the Venn diagram of queer + wholesome + super funny. (Don't know that she's "feminist", though -- I've never seen her do a political act.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 2:15 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

Nate by Natalie Palamides is mindblowing. Genuinely mindblowing.
posted by saladin at 4:54 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

I don't love all of Demetri Martin, but I thought The Overthinker was a good special

If OP is looking for LGBTQ-positive comedians, she might want to skip Demetri Martin.
posted by Umami Dearest at 5:31 PM on January 20 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend Maria Bamford, Jackie Kashian, Laurie Kilmartin, and Jen Kirkman.

Sheng Wang's special reminded me a lot of Mitch Hedberg so he might be up your alley if you like that style.
posted by Twicketface at 6:13 PM on January 20 [2 favorites]

I really like Aboriginal comedian Steph Tisdell.

Part One

Part Two
posted by chariot pulled by cassowaries at 8:05 PM on January 20

Get a one year streaming pass for Next Up for 30£( It's UK based and tons of great stuff. Absolutely worth the money.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:10 PM on January 20

Eleanor Morton is a Scottish comedian who is (I think) great fun. She became internet famous during the pandemic for her deadpan tourguide, 'Craig', but has a bunch of other short sketches on youtube etc. She is also on the Next Up service that fluffy battle kitten recommends above - I watched her special 'Eleanor Morton has peaked' last week, and it was really fun.
posted by sedimentary_deer at 2:20 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]

Thanks so much for this thread, ellieBOA! I've been nosing around online for good standup suggestions but this is a gold mine. Checked out Taylor Tomlinson and 2020's "Quarter-Life Crisis" had me cracking up from the first 2 minutes, and last year's "Look At You" is so far fantastic, with lots of smart riffs on her bipolar diagnosis, therapy and more.

Can't wait to explore the other suggestions here. Again, thanks for this question; it's just what I was looking for.
posted by mediareport at 4:36 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks again everyone! Eleanor Morton's special is on ITVX too after having a look online.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:05 AM on January 21

Response by poster: And mediareport - one I can recommend that I remembered when I was looking on Netflix for some in this thread is Romesh Ranganathan: The Cynic.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:10 AM on January 21 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: And sorry for the multiple replies but too many great answers for 'best answers'!
posted by ellieBOA at 5:22 AM on January 21

Ooh, I love Eleanor Morton, saw her Craig the Tour Guide special at the Edinburgh Fringe this year, didn't know her other special was online, will have to seek it out.

She also does sketches with Irish comedians Sean Burke and Michael Fry which are on her twitter feed and presumably her other feeds too (for example).

All of which is just a prelude to me crowbaring in a link to this work of heartbreaking genius written by the three of them and performed by Michael Fry, as an elderly (Irish!) Shaggy from Scooby Doo, looking back on his days in the Mystery Machine. So, so good.
posted by penguin pie at 12:52 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]

Another vote for James Acaster. Specifically, watch all four parts of Repertoire (on Netflix).

I also love Maria Bamford.
posted by easternblot at 1:04 PM on January 21

Iliza Shlesinger's most recent Netflix special, Hot Forever, was really good IMO. The extended bit about ugly bras particularly spoke to me.

I also really enjoyed Paul Taylor's first special, after my spouse ran across some of his bits on tik tok-- Franglais. It's half in English and half in French, but subtitled, delivered to an audience in France. I haven't watched his second special which is also free on youtube but I've been meaning to.
posted by Tesseractive at 2:26 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]

I loved Joel Kim Booster: Psychosexual on Netflix
posted by armacy at 2:42 PM on January 21

Gary Gulman: "The Great Depresh" on HBOmax, and "In This Economy?" on Amazon Video.
posted by Flexagon at 2:55 PM on January 21 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: French is actually fine, I live in France! Paul Taylor is funny but I haven’t seen the whole special so will watch that, thanks. And Joel Kim Booster - Psychosexual should have been in my initial list, so good!
posted by ellieBOA at 3:33 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]

You might actually find some good recommendations in my AskMe from last May: smart, funny, GENTLE, non-edgy comedy. Among the great recommendations were Aparna Nancherla, Tig Notaro, and Sarah Millican - and also Ellen DeGeneres.
posted by kristi at 3:44 PM on January 21 [1 favorite]

Strong ditto to both More, More, More! How Do You Lycett? How Do You Lycett? & Acaster's Cold Lasagne.
posted by juv3nal at 6:57 PM on January 21

An Audience with Billy Connolly is one of the greats.
Jon Richardson's two stand-up specials are excellent.
Chris Rock's great too.
Richard Pryor's still the absolute gold standard for me.
Robin Williams at the Met for the sheer density of jokes-per-minute he manages to cram in.
Seconding Sarah Millican.
Frankie Boyle if you're not easily offended.
Simon Amstell for thoughtful, sometimes tortured, relationship stuff.
Early Frank Skinner for joyful filth.
Stewart Lee for interrogating the form.

For a quick taster of many British stand-ups look for Live at the Apollo clips on YouTube. Short sets before a big theatre audience. They're quite hit & miss, but you'll likely discover a few new favourites along the way.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:02 AM on January 22

Response by poster: Paul Taylor has a second special on his YouTube too!

And FYI I’m adding these to FanFare as I’m watching them.
posted by ellieBOA at 5:54 AM on January 22 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Sorry Tesseractive just reread your comment and you mentioned the second special!
posted by ellieBOA at 6:04 AM on January 22

I watched a great LGBTQ+ special on Netflix called Stand Out, it was a big medley of standups from super-famous (Margaret Cho, Eddie Izzard, Tig Notaro, etc) to up-and-coming.
posted by radioamy at 5:07 PM on January 23

Hasan Minhaj's first special Homecoming King is amazing.
posted by nayantara at 8:02 PM on January 23

Keep It Real by Kanan Gill is also hysterical but as he's an English speaking comedian based in India some of the jokes may not land unless you know how things are in India. Worth a try though, he's very charming and intelligent.
posted by nayantara at 8:06 PM on January 23

This set by Robin Tran is amazing.
posted by foxjacket at 12:42 PM on January 24 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This set by Robin Tran is amazing.

This was hilarious! It’s not on IMDb or I would add it to FanFare. TW suicide.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:30 PM on January 25

Response by poster: And I just watched a really funny comedian I hadn’t heard of on Late Night with Seth Meyers, Sam Morrison.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:37 PM on January 25

The Great Depresh - Gary Gulman
There's also lots of him on You Tube. He's intelligent and nice
posted by Sassenach at 4:45 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]

Lots of great ones have already been mentioned and I won’t bother nth-ing them unless you want that.

Ron Funches has a lovely special on Netflix. I also really enjoyed Shalewa Sharpe’s “Stay Eating Cookies” special.

For some more well-known feminist comedians: Wanda Sykes (although I mostly enjoy her older stuff), and I enjoyed Chelsea Handler’s recent special too.

The youtube channel Don’t Tell Comedy has some good clips of comedians that are a bit less experienced but quite skilled generally.
posted by graticule at 10:01 PM on January 28

« Older Acrylic shower surround or tile?   |   Book layout starting from scratch? Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments