If you’re a comedy enthusiast and in the position most folks find themselves each weekend – what to stream from the scores of stand-up specials out there? – take a look at our picks of specials on Hotstar that made us think and feel pretty merry.
Amy Schumer: ‘Live At The Apollo’
Amy Schumer, who calls herself a “sex comic”, fills an hour with racy, saucy bits of humour. From the moment Schumer steps on stage with a bottle of wine, you know you’re in for a heady show. She talks about all kinds of stereotypes and takes digs at each one in her own unapologetically bold fashion. Body image issues, shaving, underwear problems, “20s love”, UTIs and cranberry juice, she’s got opinions on every thing. She’ll make you feel mighty uncomfortable and laugh at the same time.
Chris Rock: ‘Never Scared’
Keeping with the name of the show, Chris Rock isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. His wit is a rib-tickling mix of sass and sarcasm, delivered with that big infectious grin. Expect jokes around Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson, the government, drugs and what marriage really amounts to. Rock includes same-sex marriage in the fold: “Gay people got a right to be as miserable as everybody else!”
Bill Maher: ‘But I’m Not Wrong’
Bill Maher, once host of the popular talk show Politically Incorrect, and a multi-Emmy nominee, delivers spades of political satire in this special. His material ranges from America’s obsession with making “war and Snuggies” and “pizza with cheese in the crust” to its obsession with “what killed Michael Jackson?”. He jokes about Sarah Palin, the economy, American presidents of the past and what he likes to call “fake patriotism”. Maher delivers the most hysterical punch lines when you least expect them.
Bob Saget: ‘That Ain’t Right’
Warning: this Bob Saget is a far cry from the loveable Danny Tanner of Full House and the smiling host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. His set brims with poop humour, fart jokes and dirty jokes. Watch until the end to hear him sing “Danny Tanner Was Not Gay”.
Ellen DeGeneres: ‘The Beginning’
Filmed three years after Ellen DeGeneres came out, this special comprises everything from the time she came out “through interpretive dance” to the mundane directions on shampoo bottles. She adds her own funny spin to things that we can all relate to – random thoughts not letting you sleep at night, how you look at your derrière in changing rooms and even how you tend to ‘drift off’ when somebody’s speaking to you.
Will Ferrell: ‘You’re Welcome America’
Among the many things Will Ferrell is famous for are his impressions of George W Bush and Alex Trebek. In this hour and a half long special, Ferrell plays Bush, delighting the audience with parting words from the former president. He also jokes about the secret service, David Rothschild and his love for reading. The best bit comes towards the end, when Ferrell gives audience members hilarious nicknames.
Romesh Ranganathan: ‘Romesh At The Greek’
“My mum calls me a coconut. Brown on the outside, white on the inside,” Romesh Ranganathan says. He’s Sri Lankan, but completely identifies as an Englishman. Held at the Greek Theatre, with very few people in attendance because of the weather, his show unfolds on stage, after he asks everyone to come up and join him. His brand of self-deprecating humour is wacky and you will laugh along to his jokes on the pointlessness of toilet training, parenting, Starbucks’ “Harry Potter dining hall seating situation” and other issues. He even touches upon the Android vs iOS debate, quipping, “Android users think they’re part of a secret society. They’re so proud of themselves!”
Jim Jefferies: ‘I Swear To God’
If you love comedy that hovers on the edge of being dark, this one’s for you. Popular comic Jim Jefferies, an Australian who lives in London, talks about things most people find uncomfortable: religion, atheism, poop and prostitution. As he downs multiple glasses of beer, he jokes about people who don’t drink, ‘no smoking’ signs, pandas, tipping in washrooms and religious people. “Religious people don’t like hearing facts,” he jokes, adding that “heaven will be full of your dead relatives.”