Tuesday, December 16, 2008

THE TOP 5: Stand-up Specials of 2008 by Luke Giordano

(I'm stuck in an airport in Detroit for four hours)

5. Chris Rock - Kill the Messenger -- This one should at least be commended for the neat experiment of cutting between three different shows in three different cities pretty seamlessly. However, it did get pretty distracting and I would really have preferred to just watch one show all the way through. The material is solid, though, and I'd call it better than Never Scared.

4. George Carlin - It's Bad For Ya -- "I'd like to begin by saying, 'Fuck Lance Armstrong.'" Not Carlin's best of his later years (that belongs to You Are All Diseased). But looking at it from after his death, this functions as the final words of an angry old fuck. The closing bit, "You Have No Rights" is both hilarious and a punch in the gut.

3. Bill Burr - Why Do I Do This? -- I love Bill Burr. I love this special. Delving into dark material, even for him, his stuff on thinking about running people over in his car and his basically advocating eugenics is so brutal and funny. I might be reading too much into everything, but the fact that he talks frankly about things beneath the surface that are disturbing or violent is so refreshing.

2. Brian Regan - The Epitome of Hyperbole -- Everybody knows Brian Regan. He's hilarious. This special is no exception.

1. Louis CK - Chewed Up -- George Carlin is dead. Louis CK is the best stand-up comedian alive. He is absolutely without fear and will take any subject and gut it completely. And yet, his delivery is so appealing and he is so charismatic and naturally likable that he can launch right into bits about the word faggot or cunt or ni**er without receiving so much as a gasp. The fact that Louis CK is so good, it's beyond the point of angering that it's gone right into awe. Beyond laughter, he is a joy to watch.

Luke Giordano is a part of the improv group DREXEL FOOTBALL TEAM and host of the monthly stand-up show "Stand-up at the Bully Pulpit"

1 comment:

Ryan P. Carey, D.D.S. said...

I definitely agree with the top three. Four and five might be nods to our heroes more so than really among the best standup specials of the year... I'd probably give those spots to Zach Galifinakis and Mike Birbiglia (I'm not sure if Mike's new off-broadway one-man-show has aired as a special though... I'm sure it will at some point.)

But I have to agree with all the Louis CK comments... By this point in his career, he's had something for everyone, and it's all genius. Louis CK shows and Bill Burr shows are the hardest I've ever laughed. (note: I still haven't gotten a chance to see Brian Regan live, definitely looking forward to that).

Good list!