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Comedy special/show/book recommendations

  • 14-11-2014 5:13pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,850 ✭✭✭ FouxDaFaFa

    Thought this forum could do with a stand-up special (or other comedy-related shows, documentaries or books) recommendation thread.

    I've been following this Australian doc on stand-up and I think it's interesting and well put-together. Worth a look. The Joke's On Me.

    As for specials, some of the recent(ish) specials I have enjoyed include:

    Maria Bamford -The Special Special Special
    Bamford is one of my favourite comedians. She filmed this special in her own house, with an audience of only two. Those two being her parents. The presence of her parents and their reactions to material that has to be painful for them to hear (Bamford is bipolar and discusses her time in a mental institution) adds a layer of awkwardness and oddness that makes this special unique.

    John Mulaney - New in Town
    I should hate Mulaney. He has a very old-fashioned delivery style and everything is immaculately polished and I normally shy away from that. He's one of the best-rehearsed stand-ups I've ever seen. But he completely won me over. He has several very quotable bits that are irresistable.

    Doug Stanhope - Beer Hall Putsch
    I'm a recent convert to Stanhope and am working my way through his specials. This is apparently one of his weaker ones but I enjoyed it a lot. He makes events which you would struggle to find the humour in absolutely hilarious. He had me laughing about
    his mother's death through euthanasia
    , which seems unlikely.

    Morgan Murphy - An Irish Goodbye

    I went into this anxious because of the title. I thought it was going to be an Irish-American's schtick about what it's like to be irish. But it wasn't.
    Murphy is a great writer and her delivery is incredibly dry, which I find is a rarity in American comics. She's relatively unknown but worth a look.

    Bo Burnham - What
    That wunderkid from Youtube made a special and it's great. I've had the pleasure of seeing it live but still come back to the filmed version every now and again to relive it. It doesn't have a traditional format. There are musical interludes, poetry, etc. Bo is very self-aware and a great wordsmith. I look forward to seeing his progression as he gets older. (He's just 24).

    Asiz Ansari - Buried Alive
    I followed Asiz from his "Parks and Rec" gig to his specials, this one being the most recent and my favourite. I would call him a bit of a "pop culture" comedian but that isn't necessarily an insult. I think he's come into his own in this special.


  • I have read Kevin Bridges Autobiography , It's very well written. It's over 500 pages long and filled with great stories from his life. Kevin Bridges is quite an intelligent and articulate guy from reading his book.He's seems so modest and down- to-earth throughout the book and his stories about when he was kid at school are quite incredible to read.

    I would recommend reading it to all Kevin Bridges fans, and aspiring comedians and fans of comedy.

  • Just to add some recommended books on Improv:

    Truth In Comedy - Del Close, Charna Halpern
    Del Close was a modern guru of improv who was one of the drivers behind the improv scene in Chicago. Second City and IO (formerly Improv Olympic) probably wouldnt be around if it wasnt for him. The book focuses on improv and his format of the Harold.

    Impro - Keith Johnstone
    One of my favourite improv books. Johnstone mixes a bit about his own life and career with his teachings on improv. Highly recommended.

    Improvise: Scene from the Inside Out - Mick Napier
    Founder of the Annoyance Theatre Chicago, Napier is a tour de force in modern improv. Well worth a read.

    The Improv Handbook - Deborah Francis White & Tom Salinsky
    Exactly what is says on the tin - contains teaching tools, exercises and more.

    Moving into the area of biographies where the author's root are in improv and comedy:

    Yes Please - Amy Poehler

    Bossypants - Tina Fey

  • Some specials I've watched recently:

    Chelsea Peretti - One of the Greats - I really enjoyed this. I know Chelsea from Brooklyn Nine-Nine and her podcast but had not seen her standup. This special was great, genuinely funny on its own merit and it has a few different elements to it that acknowledge the oddness of being on stage, of audiences reacting to you, of a comic's self-esteem.

    Stephen Lynch - Live at the El Ray - Lynch is a musical comedian but really plays well off the crowd between songs too. The material is pitch black, there is no stone unturned. One of my favourite songs is about the brother of Jesus Christ, Craig. Lynch hasn't come out with much new stuff since this special and what he has done has been very low-energy in comparison. He stopped doing cocaine, I guess.

    Sarah Silverman - Jesus is Magic - Holy fcuk, this is funny. I don't know why I haven't seen Silverman's standup until now. She is masterful. So smart, so unapologetic, always keeps you on your toes. Also nice to see Bob Odenkirk playing her manager in a bit.

    Asiz Ansari - Live at Madison Square Garden - I like Asiz, he's a funny guy. This is his fourth special I think and it's the weakest for me. It's not bad but it's merely serviceable compared to his earlier ones and it was out of place for such a ridiculously big venue. I think Asiz gets a lot further than other comics would get with his material because he is so incredibly likeable.

  • The comedian Sofie Hagen wrote a really long, comprehensive post on her blog, listing comedy related movies, books, documentaries, podcasts etc. Definitely worth a read.