Recently, within the last year or so, I’ve gotten pretty into watching the comedy specials available on Netflix. They’re a great way to mix up The Alienest and How to Get Away with Murder type stuff I like to watch. (But seriously, did you watch The Alienest?! It’s Criminal Minds in 1896 and it’s awesome. But gruesome. Tread lightly.)
I’ve watched both of Ali Wong’s specials, Baby Cobra and Hard Knock Wife. She’s pregnant in both of them, which is great. I really like her delivery. When she’s delivering a punch line she tends to speak slowly, emphasizing each word, and kind of scrunches up her face. It’s really cute. There was one part in Hard Knock Wife that made me a bit uncomfortable, I will admit. I’m kind of a prude when it comes to language (which probably doesn’t make sense with all of the How to Get Away with Murder I’m watching) but I really don’t like the word… oh I don’t even want to type it… pussy. I just shuddered. Anyway, she says it a lot in this one bit and it’s a funny concept, but went on too much for my little goody two shoes self.
I watched Amy Schumer’s Leather Special. I feel pretty indifferent about Amy Schumer. I don’t have a strong opinion either way. Sometimes she makes me laugh and sometimes she makes me clap and sometimes I’m tired of hearing about her sex life. So that’s that one.
Last year I read Trevor Noah’s memoir Born a Crime. It was enlightening and entertaining and eye opening. Mostly it opened my eyes to Trevor Noah and upon finishing it I watched everything I could find on the guy. His stand up special, Afraid of the Dark, is similar to his book. It’s enlightening and entertaining and eye opening. And I’m not even going to pretend his accent doesn’t make it so much more enjoyable.
Because Gina Linetti of Brooklyn Nine Nine is one of my favorite characters of all time, I’ve watched Chelsea Peretti’s One of the Greats twice. It’s pretty funny. Not as funny as Gina Linetti, but I’ll take it. Twice.
Recently I watched Sara Silverman’s A Speck of Dust. I liked it. I like her delivery and her attitude. She seems like a fun chick. I know that some of the things she says are controversial and make people feel uncomfortable, but I like that she not only speaks her mind, but also knows what she’s talking about. She doesn’t have isolated opinions. She knows her stuff.
John Mulaney is one of my favorite comedians as of late. Part of this could be that he reminds me SO MUCH of my supervisor last summer, Trevor. So I feel like I know him. Plus, John is kind of an approachable, relatable kind of guy. A comedian of the masses. Only dressed better. I like that his comedy doesn’t rely on his sex life and he really makes me laugh. I’ve watched Kid Gorgeous and The Comeback Kid and thoroughly enjoyed both.
Jim Gaffigan is another funny one who keeps things appropriate. I’ve listened to a couple of his audiobooks. Recently I listened to Fat Dad which is one of his older books and so I had heard most of the jokes and stories in various stand up situations. But I did thoroughly enjoy Food: A Love Story. It’s just a whole book about food so…. my kind of content. Jim Gaffigan has FIVE hour long specials on Netflix, and I’m sure I’ve watched a couple of them, but Netflix has no record of that, so I can’t tell you which two. I can tell you that Jim Gaffigan is funny and talks a lot about raising five kids in New York City and food.
I watched most of Tig Notaro’s Happy to Be Here, but got bored and quit. I like Tig, but maybe just in small doses. She doesn’t have a ton of energy and she did this one bit where she introduced the Indigo Girls as a special guest and they never came out and it was taking too long, so I gave up. But it’s nice low energy, pretty chill comedy.
The whole point of this blog post is that this morning I watched Hannah Gadsby’s comedy special, Nanette, and it moved me to tears.
Typically it isn’t the goal of a comedian to move their audience to tears, but Hannah Gadsby had something to say and she got up there and she made us laugh and then told her freaking story. And it was very powerful and moving. I had never heard of Hannah Gadsby and would have had no reason to watch her comedy special, except I had seen it recommended by a couple women I admire and follow on social media, so when I woke up bright and early at 6am I decided to start my day off with a comedy special!
Another selling point was that Hannah Gadsby is Australian, and I love a good accent.
I’m not going to talk too much about the special, because I think you should just watch it, even if you skip through the first 20 minutes or so and get to the part where she tells her story and gets fired up and calls us all out. She also has a pretty long bit about art history (her major in college) that I really enjoyed. I am going to share with you my two favorite quotes from the special.
Fear difference and you will learn nothing.
What a timely challenge. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. We have to listen to each other. We have to! We have to listen to people who are different than us and trust their experience. Hannah shared the most painful parts of her experience as a woman, as a lesbian woman, and as an abuse survivor. It was incredibly moving and brave.
There is nothing strong than a broken woman who was rebuilt herself.
I am going to challenge you, dear reader friend, to listen to someone who is different than you today. This list of comedy specials is a great and safe place to start! (Well, depending on your comfort zone, some of them might not feel “safe.” Start small.) Their whole goal is to make you laugh and to relate to you. So listen! Listen to someone else’s experience and trust what they’re saying.