I personally have a massive level of respect for comedians. Men and women who typically toil away for years for little to no recognition, generally not giving a shit what other people think and doing something solely for the love of their craft.
It is a labour of love for all involved, with very few making it to the heights that Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman and Stephen Colbert vibe in.
Back in the day, it was the comedy specials on HBO and the like that were the touchstone for young comedians, often a springboard for bigger and better things.
Comedy specials propelled some comedians, such as Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock, into being some of the most well known and respected entertainers of our generation.
Nowadays, with the advent of podcasts and the like, the comedy special has somewhat taken a backseat in the natural progression for an up and coming comedian. However, Netflix is throwing things back to the 80s and 90s by investing heavily in comedy specials, for both newcomers and legends alike.
So, have a squizz at 6 of my favourite comedy specials you can currently get around on Netflix.
TOM SEGURA: DISGRACEFUL
Of all the specials in this list, *for some strange reason, this is my favourite.
It's full on and chockas with stupid jokes about porn, boozing, being fat and even about people with disabilities, but it is so bloody funny.
It might be because I wasn't expecting it to be any good but Tom Segura absolutely kills it in this 2018 special, delivering super hectic jokes and punchlines as if it's just a normal convo about buying milk and butter at the shops.
If he was anymore laid back, he'd be horizontal.
He literally tells a story about his freshman year in college and him being so in to porn, that he became the bloke that would go to the adult shop to get pornos for his frat bros (mind you, this is before the internet).
His interaction with a bloke he calls "Mr. F**k Dynasty" and how the bloke wants him to use his glory hole is so insanely funny, because he makes it seem as if it's a conversation most people have on a daily basis.
If you don't like crude humour, you will not froth Tom Segura in the slightest. If you can cop hectic jokes, even just a little, do yourself a favour and get around this in a big way.
*It's not so strange - I'm a sick, twisted piece of shit
CHRIS ROCK: TAMBORINE
I mentioned earlier that some comedy specials have literally turned comedians into superstars almost overnight, and that's exactly what happened with Chris Rock after his second special, 1996's Bring The Pain.
Despite planning on leaving Saturday Night Live after the '92-'93 season, Rock was effectively fired and bounced around for a few years. Next thing you know, Bring the Pain goes off like a frog in a sock and Chris Rock is literally being called "The funniest man in America" by TIME and Entertainment Weekly.
Now, every Dick and his dog knows Chris Rock, his distinctive voice and pretty full on comedic vibe. But that is completely flipped on its head in his first comedy special in 10 years, Tamborine.
The first half is a bit how ya' goin, where Rock just seems to be doing the same ol' same ol' that you've seen from him over the last 20+ years. It's not until he says "I f**ked up... Divorce, man. It's my fault, cos I'm a f**king asshole. I wasn't a good husband. I didn't listen. I wasn't kind." that things really start to turn.
Rock went through a messy divorce in 2016 after cheating and decides to open up about his cheating, separation, divorce and eventual custody battle to save his relationship with his kids, Zahra and Lola.
The best thing about this comedy special is that you get the Chris Rock you know and love, as well as something so strangely candid.
"Niggas vs. Black People" is the routine from Bring The Pain that shot Chris Rock to fame, and it's his uncanny ability to make light of something so confrontational, be it race or infidelity, that makes him a legend.
HARI KONDABOLU: WARN YOUR RELATIVES
Hari Kondabolu is a pretty understated bloke... In fact, he literally refers to himself as looking like "a Muppet getting his PhD."
Kondabolu is far and away the least well known comic on this list, yet he's still got one hell of a comedy CV, having worked as a writer on the Chris Rock produced Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell as well as having a popular podcast with his younger brother, Ashok.
Kondabolu is actually a pretty switched on cat, so his earlier PhD quip is rather fitting actually. He's pretty fearless in his comedic style, addressing some typically in your face topics, such as; terrorism, race, sexuality, religion, science, healthcare, philosophy and politics.
He's not really a dirty comic per se but he certainly tackles topics that some people would find confronting or awkward, which makes this comedy special unique in its ability to not really be pigeonholed... Essentially, Hari doesn't really give a f**k and will talk about what he wants to talk about.
AGE OF SPIN & DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS
Dave Chappelle is a big swinging dick in the world of comedy.
So much so, he was able to walk away from his absolutely massive sketch show, Chappelle's Show, after just 2 seasons and have it still rated as one of (if not the best) sketch shows of all time.
Fame seemed to take a toll on Chappelle, who stayed out of the limelight for almost a decade, until he dropped a surprise gig on the folks at The Comedy Club in NYC in 2013, then going on a stand-up tour.
Chappelle showed he still has it, with Netflix offering him $60 million for 2 specials as a result. He decided to drop a 2-parter on us, with The Age Of Spin & Deep In The Heart Of Texas.
Both specials are a couple of years old, so the jokes don't necessarily have much relevancy to modern day topics (which is a bit of a shame as he would completely eviscerate some of the whack units doing super twisted shit nowadays) but Chappelle still rips people a new arse hole, that's for sure.
His biggest gripe seems to be that as a father in his early 40's, he doesn't have a f**king clue as to what is wrong with some people, which makes for insanely funny viewing.
Some of the weird cats he rips in to include OJ Simpson, Bill Cosby, Donald Sterling, Ray Rice, Caitlyn Jenner and Manny Pacquiao. Chappelle is at his best when he just feeds people for doing weird shit and he delivers that in spades in both specials.
If you're even the slightest fan of Chappelle, you'll certainly froth these specials.
JOE ROGAN: TRIGGERED
Joe Rogan is one of the most beloved media personalities on the planet. He's also a super talented and deeply interesting bloke:
- Host of the world's no.1 ranked podcast
- UFC colour commentator
- TV Host
- Black belt in 10th Planet jiu-jitsu (whatever the hell that is) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu
- Advocate of marijuana legalisation, hunting, and overall mental and physical well-being
- Big fan of ripping chongos
- More shredded than a julienne salad
Now, of all of Rogan's accomplishments, comedian is probably his most divisive. Many people would only know Rogan as the MMA commentator, or as the TV/podcast host. So some people don't really vibe on Rogan's comedic style.
He's an insanely smart and philosophical dude, who's loud and rips in at full speed, which is exactly how he does things in Triggered. Many reviews online about Rogan's special are that they love him in his other disciplines, but not as a comedian, which is fair enough.
Do you want to know what Joe Rogan thinks about that? He wouldn't give a flying f**k.
This special isn't for everyone, but at the very least, his impersonation of The Kardashian's tempting Bruce Jenner to become a woman at the end of the show is ridiculously hectic and over the top... And I loved it.
JERRY BEFORE SEINFELD
How could we not round out this list with Jerry Seinfeld? If Dave Chappelle is a big swinging dick in the comedy world, then Jerry Seinfeld is the biggest swinging dick of them all.
Comedically speaking, the bloke could play golf with his hands tied behind his back.
Easily the greatest comic of his generation, if not ever, everything the man touches seemingly turns to gold. That's why Netflix forked out $100 million to get the bloke in the Netflix mixer.
For that, Netflix gets the streaming rights to Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, an additional 10th season of said series, as well as 2 comedy specials. That's some bloody good scratch, even for a bloke who's already worth $800 million thanks to his and Larry David's syndication of Seinfeld.
We've been given the chance to peak behind the curtain with Seinfeld before through his '02 special Comedian with Colin Quinn and Orny Adams, but the first of his specials, Jerry Before Seinfeld, is especially fascinating.
It's a mix of documentary and comedy special, as Jerry takes you around where he grew up in Long Island, the exact spot he decided he wanted to be a comedian and even does his set in the exact venue he first gave stand up a crack.
Jerry runs through a whole gamut of jokes, from the very first he says he nailed on stage, to just straight up ragging on people and dissecting modern day grievances that he has as a 64 year old man.
Jerry says “Would I have been funnier if I grew up in Peoria in a whore house raised by prostitutes? Absolutely. But this is what I had to work with.” To see where the man, the myth, the legend that is Jerry Seinfeld came from is just so fascinating, as a man that is clearly so hilariously red hot came from the most normal of upbringings.
He didn't need a whore house in Peoria to be funny, just like he doesn't need all the bells and whistles to be considered arguably the funniest person of all time. This is no frills observational humour at its best.