10 Stand-Up Comedy Classics That Will Never Get Old

Stand-up comedy has been one of the most beloved forms of entertainment for decades. From clubs to theaters, comedians have been making audiences laugh with their witty observations and hilarious anecdotes. And while there have been many great stand-up specials over the years, there are certain classics that will never go out of style. In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 stand-up comedy classics that will never get old.

1. “Delirious” by Eddie Murphy: The Ultimate Delight

Eddie Murphy’s “Delirious” is widely considered one of the greatest stand-up specials of all time. Filmed in 1983, this iconic performance catapulted Murphy into stardom and solidified him as one of the funniest comedians of his generation. From his hilarious impressions to his no-holds-barred jokes, “Delirious” is a must-watch for any comedy fan.

What Makes It Timeless?

Murphy’s fearless delivery and ability to poke fun at taboo topics make “Delirious” a timeless classic. Plus, his unique brand of humor continues to resonate with audiences today, even after almost four decades since its release.

How To Use It?

“Delirious” can be used as a guide for aspiring comedians looking to develop their own style. Murphy’s impeccable timing and stage presence can serve as inspiration for anyone looking to make it in the world of stand-up comedy.

Examples:

In “Delirious,” Murphy famously talks about his aunt Bunny being hit by an ice cream truck, and how he wouldn’t want to live if that ever happened to him. He then goes on to joke about how his brother Charlie would let him die because he wanted his room. This bit remains one of the most memorable moments from the special.

Comparison:

“Delirious” has often been compared to Richard Pryor’s “Live on the Sunset Strip” as both specials feature raw and honest storytelling. However, Murphy’s larger-than-life personality and high energy set him apart from Pryor’s more subdued style.

Advice:

“Delirious” is a masterclass in comedic timing, delivery, and storytelling. Aspiring comedians can learn a lot from Murphy’s performance, including how to engage with an audience and make them laugh at even the most controversial topics.

2. “Bring the Pain” by Chris Rock: Comedy That Packs a Punch

10 Stand-Up Comedy Classics That Will Never Get Old

Chris Rock is known for his sharp wit and fearless commentary on current events and societal issues. His second HBO special, “Bring the Pain,” solidified his place as one of the funniest and most influential comedians of our time.

What Makes It Timeless?

Rock’s ability to mix humor with social commentary makes “Bring the Pain” timeless. His jokes about relationships, politics, and race still resonate with audiences today, making this special just as relevant now as it was when it first aired in 1996.

How To Use It?

Rock’s fearless take on sensitive topics can serve as inspiration for any comedian looking to push boundaries and make a statement with their comedy. His clever wordplay and use of irony are also great techniques to learn from.

Examples:

In “Bring the Pain,” Rock talks about gun control and how society’s obsession with guns is the reason for mass shootings. He then goes on to joke about how if someone wants to kill a lot of people, they should do it in a bank because nobody ever gets shot in a bank. This bit showcases Rock’s ability to make serious issues funny while also making a thought-provoking statement.

Comparison:

Rock’s later specials, such as “Bigger & Blacker” and “Tamborine,” have often been compared to “Bring the Pain” as they also feature his trademark blend of social commentary and humor. However, “Bring the Pain” is considered the pinnacle of Rock’s career and remains a fan favorite.

Advice:

“Bring the Pain” teaches us that comedy can be used to address serious issues in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking. Aspiring comedians can learn from Rock’s use of satire and clever wordplay to make a statement while making audiences laugh.

3. “I’m Telling You for the Last Time” by Jerry Seinfeld: The Master of Observational Comedy

10 Stand-Up Comedy Classics That Will Never Get Old

Jerry Seinfeld’s observational humor has made him one of the most successful and beloved comedians of all time. In his special “I’m Telling You for the Last Time,” Seinfeld showcases his trademark wit and relatable jokes about everyday life.

What Makes It Timeless?

Seinfeld’s ability to find humor in the mundane and make observations that everyone can relate to makes “I’m Telling You for the Last Time” timeless. His jokes about marriage, parenthood, and getting older are still just as funny today as they were when the special first aired in 1998.

How To Use It?

Seinfeld’s knack for finding humor in everyday situations can serve as inspiration for comedians looking to make their material relatable to a wide audience. His ability to take something ordinary and turn it into a hilarious bit is a skill that any comedian can learn from.

Examples:

In “I’m Telling You for the Last Time,” Seinfeld talks about the absurdity of gift-giving and how it’s essentially just trading money with people. He then goes on to joke about how if you don’t like someone, you should give them cash because it’s like saying “Here, I don’t even want to shop for you.” This bit perfectly encapsulates Seinfeld’s brand of humor – simple yet clever.

Comparison:

Seinfeld’s other specials, such as “Jerry Before Seinfeld” and “23 Hours to Kill,” have been compared to “I’m Telling You for the Last Time.” However, this special is considered a classic because it was one of the last times Seinfeld performed his iconic stand-up material before moving on to other projects.

Advice:

“I’m Telling You for the Last Time” teaches us that comedy doesn’t always have to be about shock value or controversial topics. Sometimes, the most relatable and hilarious jokes come from everyday situations that we can all relate to.

4. “Killin’ Them Softly” by Dave Chappelle: The King of Social Commentary

Dave Chappelle is known for his fearless social commentary and ability to make audiences laugh while addressing hot-button issues. In his special “Killin’ Them Softly,” Chappelle takes on everything from race relations to celebrity culture with his trademark humor.

What Makes It Timeless?

Chappelle’s ability to tackle difficult topics with humor and wit makes “Killin’ Them Softly” timeless. His jokes about racial stereotypes and the absurdity of fame are just as relevant today as they were when the special first aired in 2000.

How To Use It?

Chappelle’s use of satire and irony to tackle serious issues can serve as inspiration for comedians looking to make a statement with their comedy. His ability to make audiences laugh while also making them think is a skill that any comedian can learn from.

Examples:

In “Killin’ Them Softly,” Chappelle jokes about how white people are afraid of black people because of the stereotypes perpetuated by the media. He then goes on to say that if he saw a group of white guys walking towards him, he would be scared too because “white dudes are dangerous.” This bit perfectly showcases Chappelle’s ability to use humor to address serious issues in a way that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.

Comparison:

Chappelle’s other specials, such as “Equanimity” and “Sticks & Stones,” have often been compared to “Killin’ Them Softly.” However, this special remains a fan favorite and is considered a classic because it was one of Chappelle’s earliest performances before his hiatus from comedy.

Advice:

“Killin’ Them Softly” teaches us that comedy can be used to spark meaningful conversations about important issues. Aspiring comedians can learn from Chappelle’s use of satire and irony to make a statement while also making audiences laugh.

5. “Live on Broadway” by Robin Williams: The King of Improvisation

Robin Williams was known for his larger-than-life personality and quick wit, making him one of the greatest improvisational comedians of all time. In his special “Live on Broadway,” Williams showcases his trademark energy and uncanny ability to make audiences laugh with his spontaneous jokes.

What Makes It Timeless?

Williams’ unmatched improvisational skills and boundless energy make “Live on Broadway” timeless. His ability to take any situation and turn it into a hilarious bit is what makes this special so memorable.

How To Use It?

Williams’ use of improvisation and quick thinking can serve as inspiration for any comedian looking to hone their improvisational skills. His ability to engage with an audience and create jokes on the spot is a skill that takes years to develop, but watching Williams in action can certainly help.

Examples:

In “Live on Broadway,” Williams talks about the differences between men and women, and how women are like cats while men are like dogs. He then goes on to do a hilarious impression of a cat giving birth, complete with sound effects and physical comedy. This bit perfectly showcases Williams’ improvisational skills and ability to make anything funny.

Comparison:

Williams’ other specials, such as “Weapons of Self-Destruction” and “An Evening with Robin Williams,” have been compared to “Live on Broadway.” However, this special remains a fan favorite because it captures the essence of Williams’ comedic genius.

Advice:

“Live on Broadway” teaches us that comedy doesn’t always have to be scripted. Sometimes, the funniest moments come from spontaneous improvisation, and Williams was the master of this art form. Aspiring comedians can learn from him how to engage with an audience and create jokes on the spot.

6. “The Original Kings of Comedy”: A Celebration of Black Comedy

“The Original Kings of Comedy” is a documentary film featuring the stand-up comedy performances of Steve Harvey, D.L. Hughley, Cedric the Entertainer, and the late Bernie Mac. Filmed in 2000, this special captured the essence of black comedy and solidified these four comedians as some of the funniest and most influential in the industry.

What Makes It Timeless?

The timeless appeal of “The Original Kings of Comedy” lies in the relatable humor and cultural relevance of the performers. These comedians take on topics such as family, relationships, and race in a way that is both hilarious and thought-provoking.

How To Use It?

This special can serve as a source of inspiration for aspiring comedians looking to celebrate their culture and make an impact in the industry. The camaraderie between the four comedians and the way they feed off each other’s energy is also worth studying.

Examples:

In “The Original Kings of Comedy,” Steve Harvey talks about his daughter’s love for rap music and how the explicit lyrics make him uncomfortable. He then goes on to do a hilarious impression of his daughter singing along to a rap song, complete with dance moves. This bit showcases Harvey’s relatable and family-friendly brand of humor.

Comparison:

“The Original Kings of Comedy” has often been compared to “The Queens of Comedy,” an all-female version featuring some of the top female comedians at the time. However, this special remains a fan favorite and is considered a classic because it celebrates black comedy in a way that was rarely seen on screen before.

Advice:

“The Original Kings of Comedy” reminds us that laughter knows no boundaries and that comedy can bring people from different backgrounds together. Aspiring comedians can learn from these four kings about the importance of celebrating their culture and using their unique voices to make an impact in the industry.

FAQs

Q: Are these stand-up specials still relevant today?

A: Absolutely! These classics have stood the test of time and continue to entertain audiences all over the world.

Q: Can I watch these specials with my family?

A: While there may be some mature content in some of these specials, they are generally suitable for mature audiences. Use your discretion when watching with younger viewers.

Q: Can I find these specials online?

A: Yes, most of these specials can be found on streaming platforms such as Netflix, Hulu, or HBO.

Q: Do I need to be a comedian to appreciate these specials?

A: Not at all! These specials are meant for everyone to enjoy, whether you’re a die-hard comedy fan or just looking for a good laugh.

Q: Will I learn something from these specials?

A: Absolutely! Each of these specials offers something valuable, whether it’s learning about comedy techniques or gaining a new perspective on important issues.

Conclusion

Stand-up comedy will always remain a timeless form of entertainment, and these 10 classics serve as a testament to its enduring appeal. From Eddie Murphy’s larger-than-life performance in “Delirious” to Robin Williams’ masterful improvisation in “Live on Broadway,” these specials have something to offer for everyone. So, the next time you’re in need of a good laugh, look no further than these 10 stand-up comedy classics that will never get old.

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