We’re continuing our celebration of all things comedy with a look at the best comedy specials released this year. It was an incredibly strong year for comedy specials, with many specials taking untraditional routes, without being gimmicky. Our picks for the freshest, most creative and funniest comedy specials this year include strong writing, different tone, and incredibly strong material from Tom Segura, Chelsea Peretti, Bill Burr, Artie Lange, Kurt Metzger, Jim Jefferies, Dave Attell, Hannibal Buress, Jim Gaffigan, and Patton Oswalt. We picked our top ten but we need you to vote for who had the #1 comedy special in 2014.
Tom Segura, “Completely Normal.” Tom Segura has recorded two albums and a half hour special for Comedy Central, but his 2014 Netflix special really showed how great of a comedian he really is. Segura riffs on a variety of topics like ‘The First 48’, obtaining a medicinal marijuana card and how he would teach spanish as a second language (hint: it involves hardcore pornography). ‘Completely Normal’ has a great flow to it with different bits that force you to lean in as Segura delivers each punchline in his signature delivery that leaves you hanging on his last word. Just ask Big Daddy Kane for proof.
Chelsea Peretti, “One of the Greats.” Peretti is one of the most original comics to hit the mainstream recently and her debut special ‘One of the Greats’ proves it. Peretti parodies other specials by spoofing the over-the-top machismo displayed by many comics. Peretti also makes fun of the strange editing and crowd shots employed by other comedy specials with crowd cuts that will make you rewind just to make sure you’re seeing things right. Peretti’s material is fresh and engaging, with a conversational style that is both funny and easy to listen to.
Bill Burr, “I’m Sorry You Feel That Way.” There aren’t too many stand ups bigger than Bill Burr at the moment and his fourth comedy special proves why. Shot in black & white in a theater in Louisiana, ‘I’m Sorry You Feel That Way’ feels like one eighty minute monologue, with Burr touching on his usual topics, such as sports, religion, and relationships. Burr is in top form explaining why watching the NFL draft is nonsense and delivering his take on topical issues like the owner of the Clippers losing his team over racial remarks. Burr has recorded several specials and has gotten many mainstream acting roles as of late, but ‘I’m Sorry You Feel That Way’ makes it seem like he’s just getting started.
Artie Lange, “Stench of Failure.” Artie Lange’s third stand up special was one of the most highly anticipated of 2014 largely because of Lange’s recent struggles in his personal life which were made highly public. Lange discusses his problems and recovery with honesty and hilarious results. Stories about group feedback in a Miami rehab highlight the special that also offers up Lange’s commentary on Justin Bieber.
Kurt Metzger, “White Special.” Kurt Metzger is a great comedian and an equally talented TV writer, which makes it no surprise that his first ever hour special is one of the best written sets you’ll see all year. Metzger has never shied away from controversy and he continues to let his opinions be known — even unpopular ones–in ‘White Precious.’ One highlight is Metzger’s run in with a rather large female who inspired the special’s name. Metzger offers up an original take on a wide variety of social issues with bits that jump around and change focus when you least expect it.’White Precious’ is definitely a special you should check out heading into 2015.
Jim Jefferies, “Bare.” Jim Jefferies previous specials were famous around the world for their blunt and brutally honest stories and takes on various socials issues. Jefferies newest Netflix special is no different as it opens with bits on why women should make less than men and a new holiday called ‘Anal Sex Day’ that Jeffries is the ambassador of. Crude humor aside, Jefferies doesn’t shy away from thoroughly explaining to the American audience why his is opposed to all guns in an explicit yet very intelligent way. Yes, you know what you’re getting into with a Jim Jefferies special but he keeps it new and fresh with his 2014 special ‘Bare’.
Dave Attell, “Road Work.” It’s been awhile since Dave Attell released a comedy special. 2014’s ‘Road Work’ brought him back in a big way with a take on comedy rarely seen outside of an actual live show. Eschewing the traditional theater setting, Attell brings along a camera crew to various clubs around the country to put together a special that goes from state to state and shows what life on stage for a club comic is really about. The cameras come right up on stage with Attell giving a very different perspective from the usual crane operated shots. This allows Attell to play around with his material more, improvising on the spot and he takes full advantage of that. And there’s really no one better at that than Attell.
Hannibal Buress “Life From Chicago.” Hannibal Buress was certainly one of the most talked about comedians in 2014 for a variety of reasons, one of them being his second special recorded in his home town ‘Live From Chicago’. Every bit from Buress is a hit. Find out why he thinks we should be eating penguin meat to and how he processes how long a woman has been in an abusive relationship plus how long Kobe Bryant’s career has been. The name Hannibal Buress has been in the conversation for comedians you should look out for and ‘Live in Chicago’ proves just that.
Jim Gaffigan, “Obsessed.” Jim Gaffigan has remained one of the most popular and in demand comedians of the last decade thanks to his family friendly act and original approach to stand up. Gaffigan doesn’t ignore his love of food and touches on a variety of treats such as a donuts, chine food and buffalo wings. Gaffigan fits as many lines and jokes into his latest special as he can, proving that he is still at the top of his game even after all his success. .
Patton Oswalt, “Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time.” Patton Oswalt is one of the most respected names in comedy and his most recent special ‘Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time” shows how much he’s evolving as a comedian while still remaining one of the best. Oswalt goes for a more long form approach rather than joke telling. He expounds on a odd casino performance for a sea of drunk people, and why he just can’t hate certain things the way he used to. If your a fan of comedy and want to see how a person’s act can change over time, look no further than ‘Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time’.