Stand-up comedy is having a major TV revival right now and Netflix is leading the charge. More and more comedians are working with the streaming service to create original content, not just simply selling old shows - as this best Netflix stand-up comedy specials list showcases.
UPDATE: We've bulked up this best-of list with one of the best of 2023, and one of the best comedy shows of all time. Your new pick is John Mulaney's Baby J, which covers heftier themes than Mulaney usually tackles. And Richard Pryor's classic 1979 show Live in Concert.
Our best Netflix comedy specials guide means that you can sit down with your tea and cackle away - no added fuss.
- Need something new to watch? Check out our list of the best Netflix originals, or try listening to one of our best comedy podcasts
Best Netflix stand-up comedy specials
1. James Acaster: RepertoireStream now (Netflix)
James Acaster’s four-part mini-series describes itself as showing “the four stages of James Acaster” and is a perfect blend of physical comedy, wit and eccentric mannerisms. With each part interwoven into the next, it is one of the smartest shows we’ve ever seen. It’s well-written and perfectly executed.
Duration: 4 x 50 minutes
2. Dave Chappelle: The Age of SpinStream now (Netflix)
If you’ve been scrolling through Netflix then you have probably seen a fair few of Dave Chappelle’s shows. The Age of Spin is one of his first specials on Netflix and according to critics, his best. Be warned; they all come with their share of controversy.
Duration: 67 minutes
3. Jimmy Carr: Funny BusinessStream now (Netflix)
This routine is everything you would expect from Jimmy Carr; deadpan one-liners with a wicked edge. There are no no-go zones in Carr’s comedy as he perfectly walks the line of acceptability in order to draw belly laughs from those watching. Carr is a seasoned professional so you probably know this by now but, if you’re easily offended, this one is not for you.
Duration: 62 minutes
4. Chris Rock: TamborineStream now (Netflix)
Chris Rock is a heavyweight in the comedy circuit and this special from last year showcases why. Tamborine - the comic’s first recorded show in 10 years - is a delicate balance of social commentary, politics and self-reflection. Rock is a pro at finding the funny in the devastating, whether that be in the US political landscape, police shootings or his own divorce.
Duration: 64 minutes
5. Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming KingStream now (Netflix)
This is the first stand-up special from former The Daily Show correspondent Hasan Minhaj. It is heartwarming - and a little heartbreaking - as he guides the audience through an exploration of the immigrant experience in the US. It’s award-winning too, having won a Peabody Award in 201 for being “profound, illuminating, delightful, personable, and witty”.
Duration: 72 minutes
6. Russell Howard: RecalibrateStream now (Netflix)
Russell Howard has probably become one of the UK’s most well-known comedians for appearances on panel shows such as Mock the Week or his own shows Russell Howard’s Good News and The Russell Howard Hour. This special has all the same jovial, good-natured energy as Howard tackles topics such as porn, social media and his own shortcomings. It’s self-deprecating but positive.
Duration: 69 minutes
7. Marc Maron: End Times FunStream now (Netflix)
Marc Maron is a brilliant storyteller and that's why he excels in this fantastic stand-up show. He chats about everything from the return of Christ, the Marvel universe and the impending apocalypse. While the whole thing is brilliant, it's the end part that really resonates - and sees Maron more animated than ever.
Duration: 71 minutes
8. Katherine Ryan: Glitter RoomStream now (Netflix)
This is Katherine Ryan’s second stand-up special and it is packed full of anecdotes, shrewd observations and parenting stories. Ryan shares her experiences of being a single mum with wit, sass and a good dig at the patriarchy. She’ll also teach you the difference between day wine and night wine, so it’s a win-win.
Duration: 65 minutes
9. Trevor Noah: Afraid of the DarkStream now (Netflix)
The Daily Show host uses his experience as an immigrant to provide some shrewd commentary on American culture. He touches on everything from international relations to race. It’s serious stuff but Noah knows how to make you laugh through the pain.
Duration: 67 minutes
10. Bo Burnham: InsideWatch now on Netflix
This is an Emmy award winner and a stunning look at what you can achieve in lockdown, on your own. Well, what you can achieve when you are Bo Burnham. It's hilarious in parts, sad in others and it feels and looks like we are getting to Burnham's soul. Oh, and that Jeff Bezos song you've been hearing all over TikTok - yep, that's him.
11. Richard Pryor: Live in ConcertStream now (Netflix)
This special is not just considered the best of Netflix by many, but the best stand-up special of all time by some. It's the 1979 show from Pryor, which took place in the Terrace Theatre, California. This was Pryor at the height of his powers, a true sight to behold.
12. Bo Burnham: Make HappyStream now (Netflix)
In this comedy special, Bo Burnham takes a dig at the entertainment industry, making fun of everyone from rap artists to himself. The comedian uses a combination of songs and one-liners to take on this immense topic. But, there’s also a song about not being able to fit his hand in a Pringles can, so you know it is all about balance.
Duration: 60 minutes
13. John Mulaney: Baby JStream now (Netflix)
Baby J is a stand-up special released after quite a tumultuous set of years for Mulaney. He ended up in rehab in 2020 for drug addiction, and divorced his wife in 2021, only to parter with Olivia Munn that same year, and have a son. Also in 2021. While we were in lockdown, Mulaney was on a life rollercoaster. And it fuels this comedy show.
14. Chelsea Peretti: One of the GreatsStream now (Netflix)
The Brooklyn Nine-Nine star is not afraid of being a little silly to make people laugh. Originally released in 2014, this comedy special is as much comedy about comedy as stand-up itself. Peretti does not take herself too seriously and she is a better comedian for it.
Duration: 74 minutes