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5 Stand-Up Specials That Will Get You Roaring With Laughter

By Somdutta Mazumder

Updated - May 9, 20244 min read

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Everybody around the globe could currently use a healthy dose of carefree laughter, and with International Laughter Day a few flips of the calendar away, you have all the more reason to get your funny bone tickled. But with the entire world enveloped by an air of restlessness, stress and uncertainty, it's hard to come across things comical enough to distract you from our very serious reality. 


Luckily, stand-up artists and comedians everywhere have pledged to continue supplying hilarious content that will help us stay distracted, and emotionally sane through this pandemic. Your favourite online streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon Prime, have a bunch of hilarious and quick-witted stand-up specials that will make you chuckle even if you try not to. 


So, reasserting the idiomatic expression of "laughter is the best medicine", here's a round-up of the funniest standup specials you need to watch this International Laughter Day! 


1. Hannah Gadsby, Nanette

Australian comic artist Hannah Gadsby has been making the rounds everywhere, and a couple of minutes into Nanette, you begin to understand why. This Netflix standup special will both leave you in stitches, and move you emotionally. And this seemingly impossible experience is created by Hannah, through her quick-witted reflections on life as a queer woman, her thought-provoking observations and her examination of the parallels between sexuality and comedy. In Nanette, Hannah manages to be funny while being truthful, intelligent while being heart-wrenching and ends up making you cry while laughing. 


Image Courtesy - Pinterest


2. Bo Burnham, Make Happy 

If I had to sum up this standup special in one line it'd be "you HAVE to watch it!" If you've never seen anything by Bo Burnham yet, trust me you're missing out on pure comedy gold. In Make Happy, comedy's prodigy child Bo manages to tremendously entertain you not just through his hysterical deadpan humour, but also with his dancing, singing, rapping, piano playing...yeah you get the picture. Seriously, this standup special on Netflix goes beyond a person literally standing on stage and cracking a series of jokes to a dramatic performance packed with music, over the top special effects, and Bo's signature millennial-esque nihilistic humour.


Image Courtesy - Reddit 


3. John Mulaney, Kid Gorgeous at Radio City

I don't know about you, but I would watch John Mulaney for his stagecraft alone. The fact that this standup special got him an Emmy makes an abundantly clear statement about his exceptional comic writing, but that isn't the sole reason you need to experience this standup special on Netflix. What has been popularly dubbed as Mulaney's best work to date, is expertly choreographed, planned and executed with remarkable attention to details. Watch it for John's immaculate, whip-smart wit and brilliant originality. 


Image Courtesy - The New York Times



4. Ali Wong, Hard Knock Wife

With the release of this extraordinary standup special on mother's day 2018, Ali Wong set a new gold standard in the world of standup comedy. A brutally fierce, and very pregnant Ali takes to the stage in Hard Knock Wife, to talk about all things motherhood, and with an explicitly evident refusal to mince words. Wong's blunt commentary is incredibly progressive, hilariously cynical and delivered with a degree of skill found only in the best of the lot. 


Image Courtesy - Netflix


5. Hasan Minhaj, Homecoming King

With his very first standup special, Hasan Minhaj manages to brilliantly hit all the right notes. His humour is smart, polished, intelligent and important. In Homecoming King, Hasan's spotless storytelling takes us through the oddities and struggles of growing up in an Indian American Muslim family, with hysterical honest humour, and engaging craftsmanship. He touches base on solemn topics like racism, rejection and bullying with a charming combination of comedy, emotions and morals. 


Image Courtesy - Entertainment Weekly 

We hereby prescribe you a couple of hours of unrestrained laughter. Continue regular consumption for best effects!