Another great year for comedy albums, 2015 we picked two Grammy contenders this year– Jay Mohr and Lisa Lampanelli– for our Best of the Year list. Several of our picks are fresh young faces– Brooks Wheelan, Sam Morril and Mike Recine’s releases are debut albums. Beth Stelling is another young up and coming performer. Simply the Beth is her second album. Ditto for Nate Bargatze. Aziz and Pepitone are veteran performers releasing some of their best work yet. We’ve picked our ten favorites, now it’s your turn to choose your #1.
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BROOKS WHEELAN: “THIS IS COOL RIGHT?”
Brooks Wheelan released his debut album this year, featuring his absurdest and ridiculous humor. The man who fired from SNL proves he’s a great stand up with a strong and unique voice. A highlight occurs when he relays his failed sketch pitches for SNL, which are fascinating and hysterical all at the same time.
NATE BARGATZE: “FULL TIME MAGIC”
Nate Bargatze’s second album following YELLED AT BY A CLOWN might be even stronger than his first. The album shares the same title as his one-hour Comedy Central special, where he discusses his issues as a potential time-traveler, pranking his friend at McDonald’s, and getting catfished. Nate is a skilled verbal comic, more so than a physical comic, due to his storytelling style, so this album is a great listen. It well-captures the skills of one of the strongest comics today who will soon be a household name.
KYLE KINANE: “I LIKE HIS OLD STUFF BETTER”
This album from Kyle Kinane, the voice of Comedy Central in case you didn’t know, showcases his positive view on life, which separates him from a lot of comedians. In this latest hour of work, he’s stepped up from him scumbaginess and shows growth as a person and a comedian. He’s one of the few comics working today who can describe himself as happy and use that as a well to draw from for his unique, hilarious material.
EDDIE PEPITONE: “IN RUINS”
Eddie Pepitone is one-of-a-kind. Many new fans might have learned about his greatness from the Netflix documentary THE BITTER BUDDHA. This album showcases Eddie doing stand-up, where he is most at home. He skillfully launches into characters in bits like Blue Collar Lounge Singing, Reporting Live, and the Price of the Iraq War, a hilarious spin on the Price Is Right and the hidden costs of Iraq. Eddie also gives his take on hockey fights and magicians. He has rage, but it’s never off-putting, only endearing, a rarity for any comic and one of the things that makes him unique.
JAY MOHR: “HAPPY AND A LOT”
Jay Mohr’s HAPPY AND A LOT. was written by his wife, Nikki Cox, which may have been a comedy first. Mohr said she wrote the special, and he performed it, and was excited to give her the credit for writing the album which also aired as a Showtime Special. The album is groundbreaking for Jay who is as funny as ever, and through “Happy. And a Lot.” shows that funny doesn’t have to come from misery. Jay takes on topics like similar hates, the ridiculousness of phobias, and deconstructs the idea of something being “so bad its good” plus one of the funniest stories we’ve ever heard, and it involves palliative care marijuana, Las Vegas, and Liberace.
LISA LAMPANELLI: “BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD”
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD showcases a new Lisa Lampanelli who has been through some major life changes prior to recording the album. She bills the album as “brand new body, same old cunt” but not much is the same for Lampanelli here. Her spiritual evolution and physical transformation are all topics in her latest, most revealing special. Lampanelli turns her sharp critical eye on herself, talking about her surgery, her divorce, her pussy, everything is coming out. Taped at the Music Hall in Tarrytown New York, the album also aired as a special on EPIX.
SAM MORRILL: “CLASS ACT”
Sam Morril had a big year in 2015, landing his own Comedy Central Half-Hour, destroying in his second Conan appearance, as well as releasing his first comedy album. CLASS ACT features Sam live at the Village Underground in New York, where Sam has risen the ranks as one of the best joke-writers working today. His first album showcases Sam at his best, with jokes about racism, homophobia, sex, and epic stories about the subway and his father.
AZIZ ANSARI: “BURIED ALIVE”
This album is an audio-release of Aziz’s Netflix special of the same name. It features Aziz breaking down online dating, texting, and in-depth bits on the idea of marriage, proposing, and the prospect of spending your life with someone. Aziz is one of the most popular stand-ups today, selling out Madison Square Garden. The material on this album was a big step towards Aziz reaching that level that few comics ever hit.
MIKE RECINE: “UNION DELEGATE”
Mike Recine made a name for himself as a finalist in the New York’s Funniest competition. He has also appeared on Conan and his first album, UNION DELEGATE, shows that the New York comedian is a rising star. Recine’s material is perfectly-plotted and subtly-delivered. His bits about wanting to be the funniest dad, how tough it would be to teach your kid about sex, and the potential disagreements when he’s an out-of-touch grandfather are all hilarious and each one alone makes the album worth a listen.
BETH STELLING: “SIMPLY THE BETH”
Stelling’s sophomore album is a marked improvement over her first release, and a breakthrough album for the rising comedy star. Taped at her home club, Chicago’s Beat Kitchen, in front of a home town crowd, Stelling really shines here. On the new album, Stelling is blunt, and unafraid to tackle some dark topics. Her relationship with her mother takes center stage throughout the album, taking on topics that include her mother’s hysterectomy (her childhood home- gone), wifi passwords, her own plans regarding motherhood, and more hilariously disturbing thoughts. Stelling’s known for her uncanny ability to take darkness and turn it into comedy and as terrific as this album is, we know she has even greater things coming down the pike. Expect to see her on our Best Of lists again and again.