Stand-up Comedians Earn My Standing Ovation

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Dunia Sarkis, Staff Columnist

Happy 2022! I hope you’ve enjoyed your break and are easing back into schoolwork. During these gloomy times of freshman bio and junior history papers, we all need a little laughter every once in a while. That’s why my goal for this issue is to brighten up your day just a smidge with some recommendations of stand-up comedy routines.

Comedy is almost solely based on taste, but these are some of my personal favorites—ones I go back to again and again that never fail to crack me up, no matter how close I am to memorizing all their material.

One of the most popular stand-up comedians today is John Mulaney. His name has popped in and out of news sources in recent days regarding his personal life, but in terms of his work, “Kid Gorgeous” is his most popular set and introduced me to his comedy.

Mulaney worked as a writer for “Saturday Night Live” a while back, contributing to iconic sketches like “Stefon” and “The Kissing Family.” His comedy writing experience, crazy and unexpected life stories, and Bachelor’s in English (which he mentions often) allow him to nail perfectly-crafted sets.

Released in 2018, “Kid Gorgeous” is the most recent of three he has released on Netflix. Masterfully pieced together with a constant stream of quotable jokes that never tire, the set is understandably considered his best by many. His second, entitled

“The Comeback Kid,” is my personal favorite, though: his office temp stories always make me laugh to the brink of tears.

Mulaney’s humor is accessible, which has heavily contributed to his popularity. Many have jokingly theorized that he is immortal; his voice has the tenor of a news reporter from the ’40s, and his outfits are puzzlingly formal for a male comedian (the usual attire being washed-out jeans and a plain t-shirt).

If you haven’t yet been graced by his humor, I would recommend watching his works chronologically. Though there’s no storyline in stand-up, the style of his comedy evidently improves between the three; his transitions become noticeably cleaner, and his closing jokes consistently improve.

Probably my favorite comedian of all time, Hannah Gadsby has graced the world with two released specials and is now touring with her newest set, “Body of Work.” Her first special, “Nanette,” was revolutionary; she created an engaging and hilarious show while she explored the events of her own life with self-deprecating humor, ultimately crafting an incredibly moving piece.

After the huge success of “Nanette,” Gadsby’s second special, “Douglas,” disappeared into the shadows, but I’m here tfdo shed light on its genius.

Though it’s more traditional than “Nanette,” its humor doesn’t miss. I don’t think there was a single joke I didn’t laugh at. Her humor is sweet and original, and her lovable personality shines in her storytelling.

She starts her set by explaining what its structure will be—a seemingly odd choice, but it adds a layer of audience interaction and allows for amusing callbacks to the intro. She then continues with incredible material on the history of art, specifically the Renaissance, followed by rants about ninja turtles (my favorite joke of her set). I’ll let you dive into the rest!

Honorable mentions: I haven’t watched these comedians as consistently as the other two and thus am not as familiar with their specials, but I find them incredibly entertaining and unique in their style of humor.

Jenny Slate, best known for her role as Mona Lisa in “Parks and Recreation,” also dabbles in stand-up. Her special, entitled “Stage Fright,” looks back to her childhood and explores the effects of her past in her current life. She takes a trip to her childhood home in Massachusetts, so you might see some familiar locations.

Slate’s mannerisms make her special complete; they enhance her storytelling with funny voices as she flails around the stage. Beyond the odd humor, her set feels personal and meaningful, adding a depth few comedians succeed at obtaining. If you watch her special and are a fan, I also recommend her book, “Little Weirds”; it’s poetic and funny while still maintaining that sense of meaning she executes so well.

Another great comedian, Sarah Silverman, released a special a few years back entitled “A Speck of Dust.” Charming and engaging, she has a unique voice, which makes her work particularly captivating and entertaining. Though I’ve only seen her set twice, her comment about squirrels has always stuck with me.

I hope you take a moment in your busy lives to check out one of these specials. They’ve turned around many bad days for me, and I’m certain they’ll do the same for you. All of these funny people can be found on Netflix. Stay safe out there, and cozy up for some laughs!

Thank you, BB&N, and goodnight!