For college students, the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be … a lot. So, if you need a reason to laugh this winter or to take a break from finals week, here are some stand-up comedy specials you might not have seen before. The best part: they’re all available on Netflix.
1. Daniel Sloss, “Dark”
You might not be familiar with Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss yet, but once you watch his specials on Netflix, you won’t be able to forget him. With a well-woven blend of sarcasm, dark humor (as the name of the first special implies) and observations of the world around him, Sloss is able to provide an hour of laughter and insight.
The first half of “Dark” focuses on his experiences in America and his relationship with his extremely liberal parents. In an unexpected twist for a comedy routine, Sloss uses the second half of “Dark” to talk about how he was able to find some light following the death of his sister, Josie, who died of cerebral palsy. He goes on to show that it’s possible to find some happiness within sadness, telling the audience, “You just have to make sure that you’re on the right side of the laughter.”
Another satisfied customer. pic.twitter.com/mHUuZYThFs
— Daniel Sloss (@Daniel_Sloss) September 14, 2018
2. Daniel Sloss, “Jigsaw”
“Jigsaw,” the second of Sloss’ specials, is centered on the theme of love. Sloss jokes about how to know when a relationship is over and the mindless patterns that relationships take on when they seem to be going nowhere. He goes on to say, “All I’m asking is, have you ever been in a situation like that in a relationship where you felt trapped, like you couldn’t get out of it, and it was just easier to stay in it?”
While the special stays on its comedic track, it also veers onto the unique path of actual life advice by asking couples relationship questions that they may be afraid to ask themselves. In an interview with Conan O’Brien, Sloss shares that “Jigsaw” has led to 4,000 breakups, 17 cancelled engagements and nine divorces. While he never meant to break relationships up, he admits that he’s enjoying this accidental byproduct of his special. A fun watch and “a love letter to single people,” “Jigsaw” is a great combination of relationship advice and comedy.
3. Chelsea Peretti, “One of the Greats”
If you know Chelsea Peretti, it’s probably from her role as police administrator Gina Linetti on “Brooklyn Nine-Nine.” “One of the Greats” covers a wide variety of topics, like meeting new people, her rescue dog, searching herself on Google and texting-and-driving PSAs.
While there is no specific theme to the show, Peretti’s off-brand humor and silly dark comedy do a great job of drumming up genuine laughter from the audience. Her takes on each topic are unique and playful, and for this reason, the show doesn’t feel like too much is being thrown at you. Peretti has been in the comedy business for a long time and has shown that she definitely deserves to be up on the stage as “one of the greats.” If you’re looking for some lighthearted laughs and quirky humor, definitely check out Peretti’s special.
4. Donald Glover, “Weirdo”
It’s difficult to pinpoint where you may have heard of Donald Glover for the first time. He’s made strides in music, acting, comedy, directing and even producing. “Weirdo,” which actually came out back in 2012, coasts partly on Glover’s amazing stage presence. His comfortableness on stage is easy to see from his charisma, even when he’s telling some pretty gross jokes.
He gets into a wide variety of topics, like relationships, his love for Cocoa Puffs, his own music and the usage of the N-word. The aspect of this special that makes it really work is Glover’s storytelling abilities. Sometimes, he goes off on a tangent that still relates to whatever he’s talking but ends up coming back to the original point. It makes it feel like the jokes aren’t scripted and more like he’s just telling the audience a funny story.
5. Bo Burnham, “Make Happy”
As perhaps one of the most talented comics out there, Bo Burnham has definitely brought an amazingly unique take to comedy by bringing music to the stage with him. The show starts off with an audience-interactive song before delving into a stand-up routine filled with more of Burnham’s musical talents and self-deprecating humor.
His ability to observe the world around him and then take it apart for the audience to see is what makes the special so unique. He deconstructs white male privilege, different genres of music and even the genre of comedy. Although this continued takedown of different topics could be seen as cynical, the truth of the matter is that all of Burnham’s points are true.
He points out that he exists there on the stage to bring entertainment to the audience, and maybe even help them forget about reality for an hour. While it’s a crude statement, it’s astute, so sit back, forget the finals funk and let Burnham entertain you.