Let's Laugh

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This here's a recommendation of comedy specials you can watch right nah'! No theme, just 5 things I've smiled, guffawed, or (even) cried at and want to give a shout out to:

Prefer YouTube?


1 Louis CK - Horace & Pete

 Stream on Hulu! From left: Aidy Bryant (SNL), Steve Buscemi (Resevoir Dogs, Fargo), Louis CK

Stream on Hulu! From left: Aidy Bryant (SNL), Steve Buscemi (Resevoir Dogs, Fargo), Louis CK

I'm starting my recommendations off with probably the most unique show a popular comedian has ever put out. Horace & Pete is a 10 episode 3-camera theater production (or is it a 3-camera sitcom?) (or is it a 3-camera drama?) available from Louis CK's website or Hulu. It stars Louis and Steve Buscemi (Resevoir Dogs, Fargo) as brothers Horace & Pete, respectively. It also stars Alan Alda (MASH, The Aviator) as their Uncle Pete, and Eddie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) as their sister Sylvia. Horace & Pete run a family-owned bar, that serves one kind of beer and one kind of whiskey, that's been around for a generation. Debts & family issues spiral around them as they basically serve the same people on a daily basis (most of whom are played by fellow comedians). The genius of the show, in my opinion, is the heaviness of Horace & Pete's story really makes the funny bits of comedy even funnier; some of the bits are hot takes on political issues like this.

Louis CK famously created Horace & Pete entirely at his own expense and, initially, without much promotion. He eventually went on shows like Howard Stern & The Tonight Show to ask the public that they watch the first 1 or 2 episodes, respectively they cost $5 & $2 (total all 10 epis cost $31) but you can also stream on Hulu. If you don't like it then he doesn't want you to finish it. Give it a shot! I guarantee you've never seen a show, with a theme song by Paul Simon and Alan Alda arguing he's not a racist because he served n-words, like it.


2 Ali Wong - Baby Cobra

 Watch it now on Netflix!

Watch it now on Netflix!

Full disclosure: I watched this only because I was flipping through Netflix, saw a picture of an Asian woman with a comedy special, said "LOLWUT" in my head, and decided to give it a go. Ladies & gentlemen, how glad I am to this day I lolwut'd my way to watching this.

Baby Cobra is Ali Wong's (Fresh off the Boat, Savages) Netflix original special. She is 7 months pregnant on stage, talks about how she "trapped" her Harvard grad husband, and laments the days before feminism because women could stay at home and watch Ellen. I hope I don't need to go further to sell you on this. Her comedy seems to know it's rare for an Asian woman to be a comedian, so why not take all your expectations and flip them over? She is such a fantastic person who seems to live the way she performs; in an interview (on WTF with Marc Maron) she had to pump breastmilk mid-interview so they continued the interview while pumping, after the interviewer received a little education on how the process works.


3 Marc Maron - More Later

 Watch it now on Amazon Prime!

Watch it now on Amazon Prime!

It's difficult for me to talk about Marc Maron in an objective manner, his award-winning podcast WTF has been filling my ears for what has to be 7+ years; including episodes with every comedian on this page except Chappelle. What's interesting though is that of his 6 specials, More Later is one I'd widely recommend, not just to fans of Marc and/or comedy.

Maron's always been a guy struggling with keeping his struggles from the audience, but despite his best efforts he can't help being himself on stage. In this special Maron has honed this into a tool he uses to channel an inner spectator who provides commentary asides on the things he is saying, mid-joke. It works really well for a guy who's very self-aware of his own faults; for example he says he’s “tightened up the space between outburst and apology” so much he once ended an argument with “SHUT THE FUCK UP I’M SORRY". It's really great and you can watch it right nah' on Amazon Prime!


4 Pete Holmes - Crashing

 Watch it only on HBO

Watch it only on HBO

Where the previous comedians have an I-am-what-I-am vibe, a love-me-or-leave-me personality, Pete Holmes brings a cheerful puppy dog charisma to the stage. If you know Pete, from the promotion he's been doing for this show like on NPR's Fresh Air or his great podcast You Made It Weird, then you know he's a spiritual and deeply introspective guy. This comes out from his HBO 30 minute episodal Crashing, executive produced by Judd Apatow, based on Pete's life. It stars Pete, and features many other comedians like Lauren Lapkus (Orange is the New Black, Jurassic World) and Artie Lange (Howard Stern, Beer League) ((in probably his best role ever)).

The show is about a young comedian at the beginning of their career and what it's like; waiting for hours before you can go on-stage, dealing with personal struggles while hanging with comrades who are partaking in substances, going out in public promoting a hit comedian's show you will only be a part of in the tail-end of. Add to that he is recently divorced from the wife that was supporting him in his career, you then have a story about a guy climbing his way up from the bottom both professionally and personally. The show was just approved for a 2nd season. Being a few epis in, I highly recommend this to comedy fans, and especially to Seinfeld fans who enjoyed the comedy career aspect to the show. Where Seinfeld was lead by a character who is a comedian in a story about "nothing", Crashing is lead by a character who is a comedian in a story with a heartening amount of depth.


5 Dave Chappelle - Netflix Originals

 Watch it on Netflix now!

Watch it on Netflix now!

Dave Chappelle has achieved a legendary status in both the comedy and entertainment scenes. A guy has a hit Comedy Central show and then just abruptly drops the mic for a decade; who does that? Chappelle does. Being a fan of comedy and having watched/listened/experienced a lot of it, there are usually 2 ways a stand-up set goes:

1) comedian provides jokes while sprinkling in riffs and/or crowd-work

2) comedian presents a set of jokes with an recurring theme or wrapped around a story.

The great thing of this 2-in-1 Netflix original combo is that you see both of these. The first special, recorded in Hollywood, is the 2nd style of stand-up: the recurring theme being the times Chappelle met OJ. This was enjoyable but the main observation I had here was, "When was this recorded?". He goes on about OJ, Cosby, and other topics that were so pre-Trump's inauguration. Funny how things like presidents make you mentally age 100 years. In any case it's still an enjoyable show. The 2nd special is in the first style of stand up, was recorded in Austin TX, and is the best one of the two. It's also the best Chappelle because, dang it man, it's just so Chappelle. As it starts you get a few laughs but you can feel the crowd and Chappelle warming up to each other (at one point Chappelle even tells the crowd "lighten up!"). Then a couple audience members yell and this threatens to throw the show off course. But Chappelle, who has been doing this since before he was 18, yells back at the rowdy audience members, asks someone for a cigarette, sits down, and takes a deep drag. Dang it man, it's so Chappelle, and everything after this moment is supreme. Just watch it and tell me whether you agree.

Rishi Bee
Did any of these peak your interest? Who are your fav comedians? Holla':

32 episodes available. A new episode about every 8 days averaging 22 mins duration .