It’s almost 2020, which means this decade is coming to a close. To say good-bye to the 2010s, we decided to take a look back at all that happened in stand-up comedy in the last ten years. And a lot has happened in stand-up comedy in the last ten years.
In the video above, we’ve chosen six specials that we believe to be a cut above the rest. These are specials that made us laugh — and one or two that made us cry — but all in all, these picks represent why we fell in love with stand-up in the first place, along with showcasing what’s new and inventive for the art form.
Throughout the list, we take a look at the power of a truly great Netflix special, along with the rise of the nontraditional special, which has taken stand-up comedy in some wild directions this decade. We also take some time to consider genre-bending work that combines multiple art forms into one magnum opus. But as much as we love our comedy weirdos and our challenges to the form (and there were a lot of those this decade), pushing the boundaries of the stand-up genre doesn’t always make something a shoo-in for being great. We also talk through some of the more traditional stand-up specials that managed to both color inside the lines and blow us away with their expertly crafted humor and performance.
It’s been a wonderful decade in comedy, and we’re so happy to have been able to watch stand-up flourish as it continues to grow and change shape. When we think about the 2010s, the role stand-up comedy played, and the different shapes it took on, these are the six specials that excel, and the ones that we plan to continue talking about all through the next decade.
Katie Mears discusses stand-up comedy on YouTube. Subscribe to her channel here.