2019 End Of Year Lists: Comedy Specials

  • Posted on
  • 21.12.19


Like last year, 7 out of 10 comedy specials in our annual year-end list comes courtesy of Netflix, while the rest are all productions of a traditional force in stand up, HBO, one of which is at the top spot.

Here follow D//E's favorite comedy specials of 2019...



10. Jimmy Carr: The Best Of Ultimate Gold Greatest Hits


A bit more restraint and contrived than his previous specials, the British comedian's latest offers exactly what its pompous title promises, a collection of his favorite material from his long career in the form of well crafted and shrewdly delivered jokes. Although in a safer manner than expected, it doesn't disappoint.



9. Jeff Garlin: Our Man In Chicago


With stable parts in Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development and The Goldbergs, Jeff Garlin has been better known, at least to the larger audiences, as a comedic actor for the latest part of his career, yet, he's someone who started and evolved from standup comedy, so his confidence in his new special Our Man In Chicago is evident. So is his excitement, delivering stories which derive from the experiences he's had in his long career, his weaknesses and grievances.



8. Iliza Shlesinger: Unveiled


With Unveiled being her fifth Netflix special in only six years, Iliza Shlesinger has been a very consistent fresh voice in standup. One more time she angles her writing and frequently over-the-top delivery at social and political commentary, feminism and relationships, making good points and sharp critical analysis, while being relentlessly funny.



7. Daniel Sloss: X


Scottish comedian, Daniel Sloss, writes and paces his narrative incredibly well, and his delivery is always very expressive while down-to-earth. X clocks in at about 90 minutes which he divides into 70 minutes of jokes, and 15 doing a TED talk, as he describes himself. These last few moments in X, a spine-tingling rape story, also work like a showcase of Sloss' ability to handle the darkest aspects of his craft very much masterly.



6. Lil Rel Howery: Live In Crenshaw


Filmed in a beautiful gymnasium instead of a regular theater, while we witness the sun setting through its big windows, and in front of an electrifying audience, rising film star Lil Rel Howery delivers gleeful and all around hilarious standup comedy that examines black culture, familial values and soul music among other subjects. Howery seems to be enjoying his set as much as the crowd, in what feels like the most re-watchable special of the year.



5. Ray Romano: Right Here, Around The Corner


Another household name who emerged from the New York comedy circuit, Ray Romano keeps getting parts in big movies and TV shows, luckily so, because he's proven himself as a fine actor. Still, standup comedy is where at which he seems the most comfortable, and his return to it is more than satisfying. The first part of Right Here, Around The Corner is filmed at Comedy Cellar while for the rest of it we see the popular comedian going around the corner and dropping in at Village Underground for a second set. Both audiences reacted very warmly to Romano's comedy, who at age 61 is still one of the greatest in what he does.



4. Anthony Jeselnik: Fire In The Maternity Ward


Probably D//E's favorite contemporary comedian, Anthony Jeselnik on his newest special seems more safe, with his surprising twist jokes being more or less expected, still, that doesn't make his material less funny. Truth be told, in 2019 Anthony did some hilarious routines as a guest on late night shows, and he's been excellent as the host of his new Comedy Central show, Good Talk, and while Fire In The Maternity Ward still hits, we have more to expect of him in the near future.



3. Seth Meyers: Lobby Baby


Through SNL, on his way to becoming possibly the currently brightest late night talk show host, Seth Meyers found time to develop a successful standup career, without having released a special. On his first one the 46-year old comedian delivers an amazing set centered on his own life experiences, including a little bit of politics of course, as well as observational commentary in the luxury of not getting censored, and those who cannot get enough of the guy's wit four nights a week, will surely delight in this.



2. Bill Burr: Paper Tiger


One of the firmest names in comedy for many years now, Bill Burr is again full on unmerciful, uproarious and profoundly funny in his sharpest special in a few years. With cultural subjects as his greatest strength, Burr kills with every line, using his rage and neuroticisms as a powerful comedic weapon. Instead of repeating himself after so many years in this art, the guy is getting more perceptive and more enjoyable while advancing in both years and experience.



1. Gary Gulman: The Great Depresh


It is often that depression and comedy go hand in hand, and in the case of Gary Gulman it all culminated in something incredibly poignant and moving. Produced by Judd Apatow, The Great Depresh is a fantastic portrayal of a very smart man with a very serious mental problem, integrated with very engaging segments of documentary material, telling a story of incredible turmoil, recovery and hope. Unconventional enough, but still akin to standup's commonplaces, The Great Depresh is an league of its own, and a gripping watch not intended only for comedy fans.




ZR

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