2015 End Of Year Lists: Comedy Albums And Specials

Four on Netflix, two on HBO, one on Comedy Central and three audio albums comprise our list of the best Comedy of 2015. Forget all other lists and enjoy...

10. Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo

In 2015 Amy Schumer's fame reached unbelievable heights, mostly because of Trainwreck and also because the internet decided the time had come for her to make it big. On Live At The Apollo she comes out as a bit more down to earth, turning her shocking factor down a notch. Her material is still funny and thought provoking, but obviously her days being of the struggling comedian are over for her, as she has clearly made it to the big leagues.

9. Iliza Shlesinger: Freezing Hot

The second special of Last Comic Standing only female and youngest winner, Iliza Shlesinger, shot in Denver, is full of observational comedy, mostly about relationships and gender differences. Following her promising debut, War Paint, Iliza seems confident and her level of energy and intensity help create a friendly bond with the audience almost immediately. At the age of 30, Iliza's killed it (as she observes on the show's outro) on her specials twice, and surely she's going to do it again in the future.

8. Aziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden

Artistically Aziz had an excellent 2015, with his new bittersweet TV show, Master Of None, earning well deserved appreciation and with his special in the legendary New York venue being among the best of the year. He has started looking like the grown up that he is, still very energetic but more self aware now, focusing his material on racial issues and relationship problems, proving that the time has come for his talent to be taken way more seriously, both as a writer and a stand-up.

7. Kyle Kinane: I Liked His Old Stuff Better

On his second Comedy Central special, on the stage of the 40 Watt Club in Athens, Georgia, Kyle Kinane looks and delivers his material like the next door dude. His stories are vivid, amusing and wild and while not very young (he's 38), Kyle sounds youthful, full of energy and he still looks like he has a bright future in stand-up; definitely among the ones to keep an eye on.

6. Tig Notaro: Boyish Girl Interrupted

Tig Notaro owns the stage at the Wilbur Theatre in Boston from the moment she steps out. Her impassive tone and trademark deadpan delivery make her look lazy like usual, but definitely not apathetic about her material, as the level of intimacy she builds between herself and the audience has its foundations on how deep and personal her subjects are. The writing is excellent, both the comedian and the crowd look like they're enjoying every moment of the show. Also there's what happens just about twenty minutes before the end that makes this a special for the ages, a show that will be referenced and talked about for many years to come.

5. Louis CK: Live at The Comedy Store

Apart from creating the best TV show of the last decade, fortunately Louis keeps delivering specials quite often and this hyper-productivity seems like it's coming freely and spontaneously out of his mind. It may be that the content of Louis CK's comedy has deep existential qualities but the comedian himself doesn't sound intellectual. It all seems like it's coming from an honest man in his late forties, a smart guy that spots life's cruelty and unfairness and turns it into funny material with ease.

4. Mike O'Brien: Tasty Radio

Mike O'Brien tried his acting abilities for a season on SNL, but shortly he returned to the writer's desk and since then he has been occasionally supplying the show with some of his offbeat short films, very similar to the absurdity of the contents on Tasty Radio. Crowded with some current comedy all-stars like Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Seth Meyers, Nasim Pedrad, John Mulaney, even Scarlett Johansson and many more, Tasty Radio is the only comedy album on the list that has nothing to do with stand-up. Expect a nostalgic approach towards the craziness of radio with nonsensical sports talk, beer ads, sex lines, sexy bible reading and my favorite of all – Spanish lessons.

3. John Mulaney: The Comeback Kid

John Mulaney returns to his hometown, Chicago, looking more comfortable than ever. He recently had a setback with his attempt on a new sitcom being canceled midway through its first season, but at 32 he has already accomplished much, like releasing a couple of excellent comedy albums and being one of the better writers of the latest years at SNL. On The Comeback Kid Mulaney is energetic and his stories are livelier than ever, delivered in vivid narration; stories that vary from his childhood days to married life, all described as if they happened a minute ago. His self deprecating jokes, combined with his seemingly innocent Christian boy appearance work every time and his nerdy transitory rants about subjects like Back To The Future and his out of place absurd elaboration on The Fugitive, somehow balance the contained, but definitely swaggering part of his humor. Mulaney is one of the best comedy writers and stand-up comedians of his generation and with every new album/special he builds up what when it's all said and done, will probably be a journey among the brightest ones ever in comedy.

2. Brooks Wheelan: This Is Cool, Right? 

On his debut comedy album, SNL reject, Brooks Wheelan, proves that he is better suited for stand-up rather than sketch comedy and delivers a hilarious record on which the storytelling flows naturally and vividly, featuring priceless stories about his childhood and family, the birth of the internet, Bonnaroo and of course Saturday Night Live. Brooks sounds humble but self-assured and there's not a single dull moment on his extremely funny set.

1. Anthony Jeselnik: Thoughts And Prayers

Anthony Jeselnik is probably the darkest writer in comedy at the moment and on his shows he doesn't hold back at all. On his latest special, the agitation his jokes cause to his San Franciscoan audience can almost been seen lingering around the room like an entity, but the man goes on delivering one black joke after another, in his usual manner: short jokes with twist ending punchlines that make the crowd gasp in surprise. Anybody can become Jeselnik's target, from the uncomfortable audience members themselves to Eric Clapton, as the comedian seems like he's daring you to learn what your limits are during the whole hour. Towards the end of the show he draws a line from fictional comedy to real life storytelling and expands on what happened to his TV program and how he got in life threatening trouble for his humor, but his comic character doesn't go away for a single moment, ending the show on a high.

Jeselnik is topping our annual Comedy chart for the second time in three years. At this pace the guy's bound to become a stand-up legend, if he isn't already.


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