Top Ten Comedy Specials/Albums of 2019
- Michelle Wolf – Joke Show
Michelle Wolf shows off her ability to send non stop punchlines in this new special. SHe has weaponized her high pitched voice to heighten her joke delivery so that she can perform with pinpoint precision. This special shows that Wolf can not only bounce back from her failed Netflix show “The Break ” but do with such vigor to land on top.This special is stand up at its most refined.
- Jeff Garlin – Our man in Chicago
Jeff Garlin is old school, but shows off his comfort and experience on stage with ease. While many comics don’t believe it, Garlin states that he never goes on stage with a set list. After watching this special I can believe that. Traditionally the role of a stand up special is as an advertisement to go see a comic. This does just that. I watch this special and feel that any show of Garlin’s I would go to would be an interesting, fun night, unique to that room.
- Daniel Van Kirk – Thanks Diana
Daniel Van Kirk releases his first album and his ground running. He went on a great tour, alongside Andrew Youngblood, and was able to generate enormous positive and collective energy in the room.
- Lil Rel Howery – Live from Crenshaw
This special is beautiful. It looks distinct from any other special I’ve seen, with its use of natural lighting, and setting it a school gym. Howery jokes about his uncle’s funeral at length, going in wild unexpected and always honest directions. This special takes risks in a way no other on this list does and they pay off.
- Deon Cole – Cole Hearted
- Caitlin Gill – Major
I had not heard of Caitlin Gill before listening to this album, and that is a travestly, especially as a lesbian myself. This album has him presenting wacky, out there and overwhelmingly unique jokes. Gill is loud and takes up space.
- Josh Gondelman – Dancing on a weeknight
This album was tons of fun, and everything Josh Gondelman puts out is great. Especially the track “I also do Micheal Jackson.” Josh Gondelman brings a sense of relatability, with his down to earth nature, and silly nature. He feels like everyone’s friend.
- John Mulaney – The Sack Lunch bunch
Different from standing up, this is an after school special. John Mulaney brings his strong voice and highlights his ability to work clean and family friendly while also being engagingly silly and a little high brow.
- Sean patton – Scuttlebutt
There are some great tracks on this album, and Patton brings his trademark energy and command of a room to this album. There are two stand out tracks, that are longer stories that give Patton space to play with darker emotions. Definitely worth checking out.
- Gary Gulman – The Great Depresh
Gary Gulman was an amazing source for comedy tips this year. He used his twitter to send out a stand up tip every day. For me, it was very helpful, but more than that it was inspiring.
The Great Depresh is very funny, and packs a lot of jokes, but more than that it discusses something I know so many stand up struggles with, depression. Gulman is candid in a way we haven’t seen him before. He understands what stand up can do, and knows how to craft a joke that can get the most laughs, but this isn’t about that. It’s funny, but it’s also revealing, honest and powerful. It intercuts his stand up with documentary film footage, mostly of him in his apartment with his wife. This adds a great sense of intimacy, and works quite well on the filmed stand up special.