Stand up and be counted

Con­tin­u­ing our se­ries of Net­flix se­lec­tions, here’s 10 of the best com­edy per­for­mances on the stream­ing ser­vice

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Ste­wart Lee: 41st Best Stand Up Ever

Sur­real and cere­bral in equal mea­sures, this show is clas­sic Ste­wart Lee. Recorded in 2008 in Glas­gow, be­hind the dead­pan de­liv­ery is a multi-lay­ered, metic­u­lous set that’s cer­tainly de­served of the lofty po­si­tion of 41st Best Stand Up Ever – an ac­co­lade that’s one of the many sub­jects of his wrath.

Jen Kirkman: I’m Gonna Die Alone (And I Feel Fine)

Don’t buy into Jen’s neu­roses. The ti­tle and pre­am­ble of this stand up sets her up as child­less and sin­gle but the Bos­ton comic’s brand of com­edy isn’t that where if you don’t laugh, she’ll cry. In­stead, it’s top-shelf hu­mour for the think­ing com­edy fan, with ge­nius ob­ser­va­tions about the mod­ern con­di­tion. Stick this one on “My list” now.

Bo Burham: Make Happy

A well-to-do white kid can rarely of­fer any new view­points in which to find com­edy. But know­ing that well-to-do white kids rap­ping is im­me­di­ately hi­lar­i­ous, Bo goes the ex­tra mile in Make Happy, match­ing the bravado of hip-hop with his mid­dle class na­ture. His lat­est Net­flix show cul­mi­nates in a mas­ter­ful pas­tiche of Kanye West, singing in true melo­dra­matic style about over­fill­ing a bur­rito. Bril­liant.

An­thony Je­sel­nik: Thoughts and Prayers

An­thony Je­sel­nik has built up his live rep­u­ta­tion by com­bin­ing shock value with ad­mirable wit: the of­fen­sive­ness lev­els of his short skits and one-lin­ers are off the charts. Best to leave your morals at the liv­ing room door and turn those gasps into laughs. Ali Wong: Baby Co­bra A writer on smart US com­edy Fresh Off The Boat, Ali Wong may look like a placid and pe­tite Asian lady un­til she opens up that gut­ter mouth of hers. In her Net­flix spe­cial, she shies away from no sub­ject, whether it’s trap­ping her hus­band for his money (which back­fired: “Now if I don’t work, we die. That’s why I’m per­form­ing seven and a half months preg­nant”), or her thoughts on ev­ery kind of bod­ily fluid go­ing. Ev­ery kind.

Han­ni­bal Buress: Com­edy Camisado

Oth­er­wise known as Bill Cosby’s least favourite co­me­dian and as Lin­coln from Broad City, Han­ni­bal Buress shows his true self, sans glasses, in this hour long spe­cial. Those who caught this show last year will con­firm that his non­cha­lant de­liv­ery only adds to the power of his jokes. Stream Han­ni­bal Takes Ed­in­burgh too, for an in­sight­ful be­hind-the-scenes look on what it’s like to play a month’s worth of shows at the fa­mous fringe festival.

Bill Hicks: Rev­e­la­tions

Bill Hicks’s fi­nal recorded spe­cial at the Pal­la­dium, Lon­don, in 1993, is a mas­ter- class in how to do stand up. The God­fa­ther of com­edy’s now-leg­endary mono­logue tack­les ad­ver­tis­ing, drugs and Chris­tian­ity with aban­don, and holds true now just as much as it did then. Watch and learn.

Aziz An­sari: Live at Madi­son Square Gar­dens

With a show that’s been con­sci­en­tiously crafted, it’s not An­sari’s style to pre­tend it’s made up on the spot. But the spiel is strong in his one, and his sec­ond gen per­spec­tive is rich fod­der for sto­ries more weighty than tex­ting some­one you fancy – al­though that’s ex­cel­lently cov­ered too.

Frankie Boyle: Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved

Not al­ways the most PC of co­me­di­ans, Frankie Boyle’s close-to-the-bone hu­mour is out in full force in his home­town of Glas­gow. It leads to a supremely Scot­tish evening with Ed­in­burgh vs Glas­gow gags, po­lit­i­cal lam­poon­ing and in­sults aplenty.

Louis CK: Live at the Bea­con Theatre

One of this gen­er­a­tion’s greats, Louis CK’s ev­eryguy per­sona sits com­fort­ably with his knack of find­ing hu­mour in the weird, won­der­ful and down­right or­di­nary. In his 2011 live show, well-worn sub­jects such as post-coital gen­der dif­fer­ences are tack­led in a novel way, but it’s his left­field sto­ries about hat­ing a six-year-old or the guilt of first-class fly­ing that make him one of a kind.

Ste­wart Lee: lofty po­si­tion of 41st Best Stand Up Ever

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