Fern Brady leans over and speaks into a mic on stage
(Netflix)

10 Edgy, Irreverent, Under-the-Radar Comedy Specials Now Streaming on Netflix

Netflix always has a healthy number of funny comedy shows to choose from, but right now there are a dozen stand-up specials from very outspoken voices that are as insightful as they are hilarious.

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It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of an audience and tell jokes for a living, yet some comedians manage to make it look like just another day at the office. By the time these talented jokesters land a full-length stand up special for a major network or streamer like Netflix, they’ve honed their craft to a fine point … and they’re not afraid to use it to skewer anything that meets their withering gaze!

Below you’ll find our ranking of ten newer comedy specials that are currently streaming on Netflix. We’ve listed these best-of-the-best offerings with our favorite newcomer in the number 1 spot, but if you love comedy as much as we do, you won’t want to miss seeing a single one of these brilliant truthtellers in action.

10. Sam Jay: 3 In The Morning

Sam Jay was the first Black lesbian writer in SNL’s history. She worked for the sketch comedy show from 2017 until 2020, where she co-wrote the hysterical “Black Jeopardy” sketch, among others. This 2020 special, 3 in the Morning, was her first full-length televised stand-up special, and it was a big hit that helped her snag an HBO comedy series called Pause with Sam Jay (2021 – 2022) and a Peacock comedy series called Bust Down (2022).

In this special, Jay’s casual, observational style belies the sharpness of her wit. She talks about her sexuality, living with her girlfriend, and why everyone should have a lock on their bathroom door.

9. Joel Kim Booster: Psychosexual

Joel Kim Booster is an actor, comedian, producer, and writer who grew up hiding his sexuality around his strict adoptive family in Illinois. Now he uses those early experiences in his stand-up comedy, but his conversational and friendly manner erases any uneasy feelings he may harbor. In Psychosexual, his first hour-long special, Booster presents a show in three acts: The first is about what it’s like being a gay Asian person in America; the second act contains jokes “anyone” could tell; and he saves the truly raunchy sexual parts until the final act.

Booster’s star is definitely on the rise. He’s been a co-producer and writer for Big Mouth and The Other Two, and he’s acted in shows like Sunnyside, Shrill, Fire Island, and Search Party.

8. Katt Williams: Woke Foke

Katt Williams is one of those hardworking entertainers who has quietly been making connections in the industry for decades. His ability to climb the ladder to the top is all the more impressive when you learn that Williams has been on his own since he left home at age 13, living on the streets for years and eventually finding a new family in comedy clubs. Since then, he’s made about a dozen stand-up specials and has appeared as an actor in movies like Friday After Next, My Wife and Kids, Norbit, and as a voice actor for video games like Grand Theft Auto IV. He even won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Willy in the season 2 premiere of Atlanta.

In this special, Williams does not hold back with his thoughts on current social events, today’s youth, and more. His acerbic style isn’t for everyone, but you can’t deny he’s got a lot to say.

7. Jack Whitehall: Settle Down

Jack Whitehall on stage
(Netflix)

Jack Whitehall is a British comedian who is well known for his television acting roles in shows like Fresh Meat and Bad Education. In 2017, he and his father, producer Michael Whitehall, appeared in a Netflix comedy documentary called Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father.

Settle Down is Whitehall’s fifth stand-up comedy show. It was recorded live at London’s 02 Arena, and the comedian covers a wide variety of topics, including becoming a dad and “settling down.”

6. Sommore: Queen Chandelier

Sommore on stage against a purple backdrop
(Netflix)

Sommore has been on the comedy circuit for a long time! She’s known as the “Diva of Contemporary Comedy,” and she was the first female host of the BET show Comic View and a headliner on The Queens of Comedy tour. As an actress, you’ve probably seen her in Friday After Net, Dirty Laundry, and Soul Plane.

In Queen Chandelier, Sommore discusses a variety of odd yet funny everyday annoyances, from people who pray for others on social media to fake eyelashes and hideous shoes.

5. Rachel Feinstein: Big Guy

Rachel Feinstein on stage looking pensive
(Netflix)

Rachel Feinstein has been quietly building her career block by block since she was 17. Her big break came when she became a finalist on season 7 of Last Comic Standing in 2010, and she has appeared as an actress in shows like Crashing, Inside Amy Schumer, and Life & Beth.

In Big Guy, her second hour-long special and her first for Netflix (the first appeared on Comedy Central), Feinstein riffs on her firefighter husband and her mother’s “aggressive” organizing. Her delivery is sly, and there are times when you’ll never see the punchline coming!

4. Brian Simpson: Live From The Mother Ship

Brian Simpson sits on a chair on stage while audience laughs
(Netflix)

Brian Simpson has led an interesting life, which translates directly into his stand-up material. A former foster child and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Simpson spins pain and complicated emotions into comedy gold. He’s a regular at the World-Famous Comedy Store and The Comedy Mothership, has appeared on Lights Out with David Spade, season 3 of The Standups on Netflix, and That’s My Time with David Letterman.

As you can tell from the title, Simpson performed this hour-long set live at one of his regular venues, the Comedy Mothership in Austin, Texas. His material covers large-spanning topics like what it means to be masculine and admitting to himself that he’s secretly a hater.

3. Jimmy Carr: Natural Born Killer

Jimmy Carr on stage with his hands out
(Netflix)

If you’re a big comedy fan, you’re already familiar with the sometimes offensive speed-wit Jimmy Carr is famous for. Carr has been a major name in the U.K. for years now, hosting everything you can think of, including shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats and The Big Fat Quiz of the Year. He tours almost constantly, writing new material and trying out live as he travels the world. He’s a lightning-fast comedian, and sometimes it takes a few moments of Carr waiting patiently with eyebrows raised before audiences actually “get” his jokes.

Natural Born Killer is the first of his comedy specials that Carr directed himself. It’s his fourth Netflix special. You can also stream His Dark Material (2021), The Best of Ultimate Gold Greatest Hits (2019), and Funny Business (2016).

2. Dusty Slay: Workin’ Man

Dusty Slay rose from humble roots in an Alabama trailer park to briefly become the youngest comedian to ever perform at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. His comedy still has tinges of his working-class roots, from his southern twang to his uniform of trucker cap, jeans, and untucked shirt. Slay has appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, season 3 of Netflix’s The Standups comedy special series.

Working Man arrived in January 2024, and it’s a comfortable hour spent with a genuinely nice guy. He’s funny, but he’s not mean, which is refreshing.

1. Fern Brady: Autistic Bikini Queen

Fern Brady leans over and speaks into a mic on stage
(Netflix)

Fern Brady is a Scottish comedian who began a career in journalism fresh out of university but was immediately sidetracked by the world of comedy. While writing a story about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, she took the opportunity to try a stand-up set in order to write an article, and she was immediately hooked. She hasn’t looked back since, climbing the ranks with appearances on U.K. television shows like 8 Out of 10 Cats and others.

Brady was 21 years old when she was diagnosed with autism, which explained a lot about her personality that she’d previously misunderstood. She is now an outspoken advocate for autism rights and published a memoir called Strong Female Character in 2023.

Autistic Bikini Queen is Brady’s first hour-long special for Netflix, and she’s all over the board when it comes to her chosen topics. Everything from growing into middle age and death are on the menu, and she delivers everything in a Scottish accent that adds even more charm to her already likable stage persona.

All of these stand-up specials are currently streaming on Netflix.


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Author
Image of Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins (she/her) is a contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She writes about pop culture, entertainment, and web memes, and has published a book or a funny day-to-day desk calendar about web humor every year for a decade. When not writing, she's listening to audiobooks or watching streaming movies under a pile of her very loved (spoiled) pets.