Best stand-up comedy on Netflix in 2018
- Brian Donaldson
- 21 December 2018
Get your streaming laughs with the help of Hannah Gadsby, Daniel Sloss and Chris Rock
Enjoying stand-up isn't just about forking out for tickets and heading out into the big bad world. You can even find yourself ROFL in the comfort of your own home. Arguably, that's a more convenient space to find yourself ROFL than an auditorium. The good folks of Netflix have laid on ever larger heaps of stand-up in 2018, and here's a selection of the best
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
The game-changing comedy show of the last couple of years which won awards in Gadsby's Australia homeland as well as in the UK, came to Netflix and bamboozled watchers for the first 25 minutes. Sure, her gently observational humour is probably above average, but what was the fuss all about? That fuss arrives in the second half when she unleashes a torrent of rage about her own abuse and that of the wider world, with little opportunity for the crowd to feel a comedic release. There are still plenty laughs to be had, but it's the pain that you take away from this unforgettable stand-up experience.
Chris Rock: Tamborine
Directed with a subtle flourish here and there by Bo Burnham, Rock's comeback show was partly a confessional about his own behaviour while married and the repercussions of an asset-draining divorce. But Tamborine is also a state-of-the nation-address as he reflects on how Trump got himself elected and what might come next. There's anger amid the perfectly landing laughs as he cuts a swathe through race in America today, and amusingly suggests how every black parent should guard their children against white people.
Daniel Sloss: Dark
Creating stand-up through the lens of sadness has been the modus operandi of acts for decades, but in the past few years everyone seems to be at it. Even Fife's chirpy own Daniel Sloss, who here finds humour in the bleakest spots in front of a US crowd while discussing his younger sister's death when he was a mere nine years old. If fuels a fine riff on comedy and disability (she had cerebral palsy), some musings on where offence should be taken (pretty much nowhere, reckons Sloss), and recalls that time he had gun-totin' Christian fundamentalists reacting somewhat negatively to one of his gags.
See Daniel Sloss: X on tour from Sat 12 Jan 2019 at various venues around the UK.
Katherine Ryan: In Trouble
This UK-based Canadian is also prone to putting her foot in it with people, and has previously spoken of dialling down her slaughtering of the rich and famous. But here, Ryan recalls the time she upset the entire nation of the Philippines after a Mock the Week joke was taken out of context and spread across social media. Lucky for her, then, that she has to give a speech at her sister's wedding … to a Filipino chap. As for celebs, she is still prepared to give both barrels to Taylor Swift while her tough routine on Joan Rivers can be viewed as the ideal tribute given that Ryan is a huge fan of the late comic who revelled in a similar vein of savagery.
Fred Armisen: Standup for Drummers
The Portlandia co-creator and Saturday Night Live alumnus will never be known for cutting-edge political satire in his solo work, but for pure daftness on an industrial scale, Standup for Drummers hits the perfect beat. Not just a punning title on the Dummies book series, this is actually a show about drumming and music, as Armisen discusses the ideal double-kick pedal, impersonates Ringo Starr and Keith Moon while taking harmless swipes at jazz, blues and zydeco. There's also a relentless section in which he attempts to mimic the accents of every sub-region in the US. It may border on pointless, but through sheer determination of will, Armisen makes it morph into arguably the most hilarious ten minutes of the year. There will be plenty who think this is the most boring hour in the world, and, to be perfectly honest, they'd not be totally wrong. But for commitment to the cause of a niche and in upholding the art of silliness, Armisen's show is flawless.
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