5: Chris Fleming’s Showpig (Available on YouTube)
Chris Fleming is a comedian known best for his hit YouTube series Gayle. You may not recognize him in this special because he is dressed as himself, not as a middle-aged woman. He has fully embraced his status as a queer icon and it really shows in his jokes. Despite calling him my favorite comedian, he is at the bottom of this list because this show still looks a bit amateur. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, he simply cannot compete with the more experienced ones here.
4: Reggie Watts’ A Send Off In Style (Available on YouTube)
Watts’s show has a similar minimal setting as Fleming’s, however, he brings an unusual factor to his stand-up: music as a joke which is rarely done. I’m talking not about the lyrics, but about the sound only. He is a king of musical comedy, without using any instruments, besides mixers and his mouth. Yes, beatbox is hilarious, but not in the way you expected. Music in its purest, deconstructed form is amazingly funny. If you haven’t seen him, you absolutely need to.
3: Bo Burnham’s Make Happy (Available on Netflix)
Bo is our comedian – he represents the humor of the young generation. A 28-year-old who already has three incredible specials and a film Eighth Grade which came out this year. However, what I recommend the most is his latest show: Make Happy, as it gives the audience the deepest insight into his mind. It is surely a craft to make an incredibly funny piece which is still both extremely depressing and hopeful. He also uses music in his comedy, but this time you want to focus on lyrics, his incredible piano skills, and unexpected sound effects.
2: John Mulaney’s Kid Gorgeous (Available on Netflix)
If you are a comedy fan you must have heard of Mulaney by now. You may recognize his voice from Big Mouth as he voices the main character: Andrew. It was hard for me to decide between his previous show The Comeback Kid and Kid Gorgeous, but the joke about “a horse loose in a hospital” as an allegory for Donald Trump is a winner. The writing is just insane and the overall feel is just so retro, so classy and pure you’ll be absolutely delighted. This show earned Mulaney an Emmy this year.
1: Ali Wong’s Hard Knock Wife (Available on Netflix)
Where Bo takes a hard look at our generation and is a person all of us can identify with, Ali Wong is a representation of the modern woman. She speaks the truth, manifests the struggles we face and makes us laugh at them, as a coping mechanism. Her setting is also quite minimal, in contrary to Burnham or Mulaney. Despite that, she manages to create an authentic, extremely relatable performance. It is truly incredible considering that she was very pregnant at the time which makes what she says even funnier.