The Best Comedy Specials on Netflix for When You Need a Little Pick-Me Up

comedy netflix

Now that the worries of lockdown are becoming a thing of the past (hopefully forever) a new concern has started to take its place. Is anyone else a little anxious about diving back into crazy social calendars again, commuting to the office once more and, also, does anyone remember how to put on pants?

The simple act of getting dressed aside, another area in which lockdown has rendered us completely useless is our attention spans. I don’t know about you but gone are the days where I could throw on a series new or old and happily binge for hours at a time. Now, I find it hard to focus on, well, anything really, so I need to be efficient in how I get my laughs.

Luckily, Netflix has been very publicly investing millions of dollars into producing stand-up comedy specials from some of the world’s best comedians and giving a platform to a whole host of new ones. Of course, we’ll always have the classics like Eddie Murphy’s Raw, but (as you may have heard) some of them didn’t age so well.

With that in mind, here are some fantastic stand-up comedy specials from the last few years that are now streaming on Netflix, for when you need to lift your mood in under two hours.

Ali Wong – Baby Cobra 

As a pregnant lady myself, Ali Wong’s very real talk about pregnancy and impending motherhood really hits the spot, but even when I was not knocked up, I found this special to be downright hysterical.

If you like this one, check out her other special Hard Knock Wife.

John Mulaney – New In Town 

Look, this one has been out for a few years and Mulaney has released several stand-up specials since, but New In Town will always be the MVP to me.

In particular, his bit about Ice-T being a detective with the Special Victims Unit and handling New York’s most sensitive cases always has me rolling on the floor, and I also love his anecdote about his encounter with a homeless man that gave him the inspiration for the show’s title.

Pure genius.

Jack Whitehall – I’m Only Joking

Whitehall’s gripes about the number of milk alternatives that are available today is surely a standout in this comedy special, particularly when he chastises those lactose intolerant folk (such as myself) for drinking “nut juice.”

He has a point.

Katherine Ryan – Glitter Room

It’s a shame that Ryan’s Netflix series The Duchess wasn’t renewed for a second season because I would have loved to see where she could take the story, but at least we have Glitter Room. 

My favourite bit, and soon to be yours, is her breakdown of exactly why Alexander Hamilton was not such a great guy and her re-telling of her behaviour when she went to see the acclaimed show.

Hasan Minhaj – Homecoming King

Minhaj is nothing short of a comic genius and the way he relates his experiences growing up in an Indian American Muslim family is both hilarious and heartfelt.

Minaj speaks of his childhood and even the way his family were harassed after 9/11 with such honesty and it is just brilliant the way he is able to mine comedy from such serious events.

Trevor Noah – Afraid of the Dark

Look, I am not going to lie. I am deeply infatuated with Trevor Noah and would probably think it was brilliant if he just stood on a stage a blew his nose.

However, Afraid of the Dark is a good time. In this special, immigration, nationalism, racism and Brexit get Noah’s searing commentary. And of course, Trump gets a little roasting too.

Hannah Gadsby – Nanette

Aussie comedy legend Hannah Gadsby tackles incredibly tough topics such as sexism, homophobia, and the assaults she has dealt with in her own life in Nanette. 

Yes for sure, you will laugh out loud watching this one, but don’t be surprised if you shed a few tears too.

Chelsea Peretti –  One of the Greats

Chelsea Peretti is just my kind of gal. Not only did I adore her as Gina in Brooklyn Nine-Nine, but I cannot get enough of her stand up special One of the Greats, either.

Here’s why: she shares my disdain for small talk and my love of getting to stay home. She also hits the nail on the head when riffing about the absurdity and mundanity of stock standard “getting to know you” chat. Basically, she is a girl after my own heart.

She also does a brilliant job of cutting down the (insanely sexist) notion that all female comedians ever joke about is their periods.

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