Cameron Esposito’s Rape Jokes offers humor and empathy at a time when they’re most needed

Cameron Esposito’s Rape Jokes was made for times like these—the comedian and Take My Wife creator said as much in a press release announcing the new special earlier this week. When Esposito set out to start a discussion on consent and sexual assault in the midst of the #MeToo movement, she knew a five-minute stand-up…

Steve Martin and Martin Short bring broad comedy and minimal banjo to Netflix

Here’s the most important thing to know about Steve Martin and Martin Short’s new Netflix comedy special: There are about five minutes of straight banjo. This is a petty yet useful detail for most people who have long loved Martin’s comedy while warmly acknowledging his bluegrass—perhaps even turning up to a bluegrass…

Married comics Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher double-team love in The Honeymoon Stand Up Special

While the execution of its undeniably original concept is solid, the idea of The Honeymoon Stand Up Special ultimately promises more than it delivers. The unique, three-part special from (fairly) recently wed comics and Another Period co-stars Natasha Leggero and Moshe Kasher comes at the audience in three segments.…

Chris Rock turns in half of a great special with his Netflix comeback

Appearing on Hannibal Buress’ podcast back in September, Chris Rock talked shop about the relatively small venue he’d chosen for Tamborine, his first stand-up special in a decade, and his first in a lucrative two-special deal with Netflix. Rock told Buress that the Brooklyn Academy Of Music’s comparatively homey…

In his new standup special, Patton Oswalt makes a triumphant return from Annihilation

There’s no better standup working today than Patton Oswalt, his observational skills turning anecdotes into painfully funny short stories, and insults into dizzyingly nimble tirades. For the first 35 minutes of his new Netflix special, Patton Oswalt: Annihilation, Oswalt is the comic we expect, even as his elaborately…

For his First Time, Rory Scovel’s Netflix special is absurdly funny

Rory Scovel’s new Netflix special is called Rory Scovel Tries Stand-Up For the First Time, a premise the comedian never mentions on stage but does commit to during a taped mid-show sketch featuring Jack White. “What about a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing, is completely out of his element, unattractive, probably…

T.J. Miller might have to accept that he’s a very funny comedian

Close to halfway through Meticulously Ridiculous, T.J. Miller’s new comedy special for HBO, he does a bit composed of some oddball wordplay, and it falls a little flat. “Wish I hadn’t done that joke,” he muses, getting a bigger laugh than he did for the gag. “That’s a real litmus test for how the more absurd stuff is…

The Daily Show’s Hasan Minhaj crafts a hilarious, spellbinding immigrant story

Hasan Minhaj shares a lot of comic ground with Aziz Ansari. Beyond their experiences growing up in 1990s America as the children of Indian immigrants, the two comedians have developed a similarly self-aggrandizing onstage brashness, a baller’s persona where name-dropping cockiness and pop culture markers point up…

It takes strength to be as gentle, kind, and funny as Chris Gethard’s Career Suicide

Partway through his one-man show, Career Suicide, Chris Gethard puts an anecdote on pause in order to address his audience. He’s been discussing the decision to treat his depression with prescription medication, and he steps toward the front row, which is arranged in a cozy horseshoe of vintage sofas and end tables.…

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The personal continues to be political in Jen Kirkman’s latest Netflix special

If you’re familiar with Jen Kirkman’s stand-up, or have had the misfortune of running afoul of her on Twitter, you know that she’s one of the most outspoken comedians working today, that she’s unapologetic about her feminism, and she’s not particularly concerned with any discomfort this may cause her male fans. That…

Jim Gaffigan’s Cinco is the steak dinner of stand-up specials

When Jim Gaffigan is described as a “clean,” it can’t help but feel like a bit of an insult. Yes, Gaffigan largely avoids swear words or sexual references in his act, but to call what he does “clean comedy”—the Netflix synopsis for his new special, Cinco, calls him the “king” of the stuff—it’s like saying that’s all …

Pete Holmes makes some deceptively smart Faces And Sounds in new special

“I mostly do faces and sounds. That’s what I do. Comedy doesn’t have to be art.” So proclaims Pete Holmes partway through his new stand-up special, called, naturally, Faces And Sounds. In his comedy, Holmes cultivates his image as the goofy man-boy, the jovial, harmless jokester just out to make people laugh. And he…