I love a lot of things. Harry Potter. Donuts. Office Supplies. Superhero TV and Movies. I talk about those things ALL THE TIME. But there’s something else I love that – weirdly – I don’t reference a lot. And I’m not sure why.
I love stand-up comedy.
The love started back in the days of a certain now-hated comedian from the 80s. I watched one of his specials with my Grandmother and laughed my ASS off. I didn’t really know much about the field or the genre so I just kinda sat on that love for years until random things would pop up, like radio adds for comedians coming to town. I popped into a few shows, maybe once a year, a comedy clubs and loved it all but it wasn’t until I discovered the Nerdist Podcast that I truly started feeding my love of stand-up comedy.
Chris Hardwick is a stand-up comedian who does these weekly podcasts, and early on he did a lot of his interviews with other stand-up comedians so it submerged me into the world quickly and it’s been a love ever since. I don’t necessarily go see stand-up shows at the local comedy club, but I watch specials whenever I can and I have three I’ve watched recently that I recommend highly. I am ordering them from least offensive to most offensive. Because – for some reason – I can’t watch grown-up tv shows that show too much sex or violence, but I can watch offensive stand-up comedy no problem. I think that’s the power of this type of performance, it makes you uncomfortable and that’s why it’s funny. And it’s not visual like with nudity or violence, so I stomach it better I guess? Either way – I will give you appropriate warnings. I hope.
FIRST: Is Tig Notaro. I’ve loved her for years and am still in mourning over the cancellation over her podcast – Professor Blastoff. I actually listened to the podcast from episode 1 to the end starting sometime last year and I highly recommend everyone do the same. She hosted it with two other stand-up comedians and I adored it. BUT ANYWAY…She just released her hour special with HBO and it’s GREAT. NOW…I will say this…because I listened to her podcast I had heard some of the stories and jokes in other variations before but it was still fantastic. And it’s PG so if you have fragile sensitivities like I do, it won’t make you squirm too much.
HOWEVER – she does have this “gimmick” she does that you’ve probably heard about by now, but I do worry that if you haven’t it might catch you off guard. I hate to ruin it if you don’t know it’s coming (I knew it was coming) but I do feel like I should say that you might want to watch it first before sharing it with your kids. Although my kids loved it and the gimmick actually gave us a chance to talk about a lot of issues related to the human body.
SECOND: Aziz Ansari. DO NOT WATCH THIS WITH YOUR KIDS. Mostly what’s offensive about this show is the language. But holy crap, it made me laugh my ass off. He talks a lot about dating and being single and oddly, I still found it hilarious even though I haven’t been dating or single in well over a decade. Still. SO FUNNY. If you can tolerate harsh language and sex talk then check it out.
THIRD: Tim Minchin. This show will offend anyone who has any religious sensitivities whatsoever. I almost feel terrible for loving it, but holy crap, I love it so much. Tim Minchin is a fascinating person, I’ve listened to interviews of his which I always love (I’ve linked to his commencement speech here before if you want to watch something more polite of his first) because he speaks very calmly and rationally about the lack of religion in his life, so I think that’s why I handle his harsh comedy about the same stuff better even though I typically don’t like making fun of religion.
But y’all – if you’re not sensitive to that type of stuff? His show is genius. He wrote these hilarious songs that he performs with a full orchestra which makes powerful lyrics involving the Pope and frequent uses of the f-word that much more hilarious.
If you’re not into stand-up comedy? Don’t bother with any of this. (Except maybe Tig’s show. She’s just great.) But if you do? Or you think you do? Check them out. They represent three very different types of comedian so you’ll get a good feel for what you may or may not like. Also? Check out the Nerdist podcast. I adore Chris Hardwick and after 700+ shows I’m convinced he’s the best interviewer that has ever existed in the history of time.