To preface this I just have to say how much I love comedy. I truly think it’s the last great piece of art and expression we have nowadays. Which is kind of sad when you think about it. The world is a pretty awful place what with mass murder, armed conflicts, the fact there have been 47 disease epidemics since the year 2000, and 17 wars since 2011! It’s no wonder we need a good laugh every now and then. Comedians make us laugh, that’s true, but every once in a while they can really show us something about ourselves and the world around us that make us think a little more and a little deeper than we usually do. I can’t remember the last time a Billboard Top 40 song or a Michael Bay movie made me think about anything other than how much I want to change the channel. (Warning: extreme language use in some of these)
1. Bo Burnham – “Art is Dead.”
From his album, “Words, Words, Words” is a great piece that articulates exactly what I meant in the last sentence of my introduction to this article.
2. Louis CK – On Gay Rights.
I know America is getting more socially progressive and definitely starting to lean more towards the left when it comes to social equality (yay) but there are still plenty of organizations opposed to the idea of equal rights. With that said, Louis CK takes it upon himself to explain to us why it doesn’t matter if you’re against gay rights.
3. George Carlin – Question Everything.
George Carlin is my favorite comedian of all time. We as a society are complacent and it’s sad. We’re glued to our phones and think nothing of the outside world and accept what we’re given. Is it any wonder we have more voters for American Idol than our own president?
4. Eddie Izzard – On Growing Up.
Growing up is tough. I’m 27 years old and I still don’t know what to do with my life. Everyone has horrifying experiences from middle school and high school (if you say you don’t then you’re lying, shame on you). It’s nice to shed some light and laughter on the subject, and who better to explain the confusion than a transvestite? An executive transvestite.
5. Demetri Martin – The Entirety of “If I.”
This special won the Perrier Comedy Award way back in 2003. The entirety of it is a great coming of age story. Martin is brilliant (really he got into Harvard Law, but turned it down to go to NYU’s law school on a full scholarship). The whole special is great and I really can’t break it down into the best parts, but you’ll definitely learn something about yourself and life after watching this.
6. Bo Burnham – “From God’s Perspective.”
Another great hit from this YouTube sensation turned comedy sensation. This time from his latest show, “What.” This song certainly puts a lot of people’s views and thoughts on religion into perspective. It is absolutely worth a listen. Also, I’d like to point out how sad it is that a comedian can produce a better song than literally anyone topping the music charts right now.
7. Bill Maher – On Sexism.
Men vs. Women: The age-old debate. This really has been going on since we first became men and women, hasn’t it? I know feminism is a hot topic right now but we seem to constantly be struggling with the same social issues of who is smarter, who is better, who is more capable, and in the end, who cares? We’re all individuals capable of wonderful and extraordinary things, can we finally stop letting sex and gender get in the way?
8. Chris Rock – On Racism.
Yeah, I’m not black so I really can’t talk about this one (let that sink in, I can’t do something because of the color of my skin, how far have we really come?).
9. Charlie Day – Commencement for Merrimack College.
“You do not have to be fearless… Just don’t let fear stop you” (I had to at least end this with something to make you laugh and not really think, you’re welcome).