Netflix has been very vocal about getting into the standup comedy game — with a few notable additions and original specials, standup has become one of the streaming giant’s bigger genres. With new big shots joining the party every day, here are some lesser publicized, higher quality specials that are definitely worth a watch:
1. Ron White – A Little Unprofessional
After making a name for himself on Jeff Foxworthy & Larry The Cable Guy’s Blue Collar Comedy Tour, Ron White is one of the most popular (and financially successful) touring comedians out there — one of the few people who could consistently sell out big spaces, year in and year out.
Yet, given that he’s not making cameos on Parks & Rec, he’s not quite as immortalized in the internet-driven pop-culture multiverse. People who know him know him well, but there’s a lot of comedy fans who aren’t familiar with White’s work — or dismiss his style, given the relation with the distinct styles of Foxworthy & co. White’s definitely his own breed though, as showcased in this easy-to-watch, yet undeniably smart special.
2. Ben Bailey – Road Rage
Ben Bailey, the dude from Cash Cab, is also a pretty well-known stand-up comic. Here’s a bit from his Netflix special talking about his stint on that rather tremendous game show.
3. The Original Kings Of Comedy (Documentary)
Spike Lee’s 2000 documentary chronicles the last night of the King Of Comedy tour, one of the more popular and well-received ensembles in recent memory. Bernie Mac, Cedric The Entertainer, D.L. Hughley, and Steve Harvey talk about pretty much everything — race, sex, politics, kids — in mature, oftentimes raunchy fashion. Watching this, you’ll also realize how much the world has changed since the turn of the century.
4. Joan Rivers – Don’t Start With Me
There’s something about watching an old person doing standup — the older you get it seems like the more unapologetic you become re: your stances on things, which is never not entertaining to watch. When it comes to old people making razor-sharp observations, Rivers is one of the best.
5. Doug Stanhope – Beer Hall Putsch
Stanhope is a once-in-a-generation comic. The man who’s brought the world the celebrity death pool is one of the most unexpectedly incisive social provocateurs — a sentence he would most definitely rip to shreds.
This special, which came out last year, features everything from tales of his mother’s last days, to a clever shredding of Occupy Wall Street, to the above clip which he discusses why he drinks.