The Netflix Is a Joke festival ended over a month ago, but the platform is just now uploading tons of content from the events that happened during its ten-day course. One of the standout specials is Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin: Ladies Night Live, which celebrates a lineup of female comedians. But now that you’ve finished that, you might be wondering what to watch next.
Read on for the seven best specials made by female comedians that are featured on Netflix.
Nicole Byer: BBW (Big Beautiful Weirdo)
Nicole Byer’s Netflix special starts with her in a costume-like outfit that’s modeled after a burger while pole dancing as she sets off the tone of what is yet to come. She dives right in while the laughter is lighting up the venue. Byer, who is not afraid to share anything, talks about the time she ate a pizza slice after it had fallen on the New York City pavement before explaining her different sexual endeavors with a cab driver or two. Killer lines include, “Dads had it really hard during the pandemic. … Because it’s tough to be absentee when you can’t go nowhere.” And although not every sentence can be a laugh-out-loud hit, Byer seems to make it work because even during her set-up she is able to get the entire audience giggling.
Jenny Slate: Stage Fright
Not as straightforward as the other specials, Jenny Slate’s Stage Fright intertwines her stand-up act at The Gramercy Theatre in New York with clips of her childhood home in Milton, throwback videos, and tidbits where she interviews her family members while revealing more about her own youth. But whether we’re looking at endearing moments between Slate and her family, getting to know that she was a four-time state champion in speech, or are laughing at the punchlines that hit on her sexuality, anxiety, and the decline of the world and its patriarchal standards, she never fails to keep us engaged. Throughout the hour-long special, Slate brings her adorable awkward energy to the screen. In no time, you’ll be going down the rabbit hole of Slate’s projects as you won’t be able to get enough of her ever-so-infectious personality.
Hannah Gadsby: Nanette
Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette might be filmed in one of the most iconic venues in the world, The Sydney Opera House, but her act trumps it. In the special, she opens up about growing up in Australia’s Tasmania as a lesbian — a place where homosexuality was a crime until 1997: “Not long enough ago,” Gadsby remarks. Yet that isn’t the only thing Nanette touches on as some more deep-rooted issues are discussed. She isn’t quite sure where she fits in as she calls herself “a quiet gay.” Another thing she tackles is her gender identity which she cleverly uses as leeway to poke fun at straight white men. And yes, her exploration of her thoughts and feelings is as aspirational as one can be, but above all, Nanette proves to be a platform for Gadsby’s internal wondering.
Ali Wong: Don Wong
Ali Wong is a master in her field, a field that like many others is dominated by men, and in Don Wong, she is sure to remind everyone what some of the perks are that male comedians get that their female counterparts don’t. In the opening segment, Wong announces that male comedians with even just an ounce of success get to date supermodels, pop stars and actors while female comedians seem to get the bottom of the barrel. Her seamless transitions wander away from the subject a few times, but the first statement keeps on coming back throughout the show. Even as the jokes get funnier, Wong never seems to falter. Her expressions are ever-so-serious, which allows her words to stand on their own while it becomes more hilarious with each passing moment.
Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia
Flashing lights, a mirror ball, and a club-like venue set the tone for Michelle Buteau’s appearance as she walks onto the stage in a glittering ensemble. The game show host, actor, and comedian is quite possibly the most likeable person on this planet, therefore allowing all of us to go along with all of her pet peeves — yes, it’s weird for a grown person to demand the attention of everyone around when they fall. But Buteau truly steps into her own once she starts talking about her Dutch husband. She’s been married for 10 years, but sometimes she still wonders if he is out to kill her or is he truly just that nice? Her big smile never leaves her face, and her pronunciation of some Dutch names and verbs never fails to make the audience laugh. If this special is any indicator, then, we should all head on over to Buteaupia.
Sarah Silverman: A Speck of Dust
At the Largo in Los Angeles, Sarah Silverman reveals that the venue had to bring out metal detectors for her safety, as she had recently tweeted something which made people “express that they want to kill me.” A scary thing to some, but to Silverman, that’s just the start of a joke, one that proves to be the perfect opener for a comedian who started her career before social media was even a thing. Her years of experience translate perfectly on stage. She even has a way to include the title into her act in an almost casual manner, “We’re breathing egos, acting like we aren’t a speck of dust on a speck of a dust on a speck of dust hurtling through space. And the next moment I’m like ‘I want my face on money.’” Silverman, who has had her fair share of controversies over the years, walks the line of caution in this special, yet her charm and wit are still there. But no, Silverman’s act isn’t completely cleaned up. She will always be a comedian who makes content for mature audiences.
Taylor Tomlinson: Look at You
Taylor Tomlinson’s latest Netflix special, Look at You, follows her debut special, Quarter Life Crisis, in a newly confident way. Mental health and childhood trauma still prove to be its main topics, but this time around, she tells the audience about her bipolar disorder. Tomlinson has a knack for making deeply uncomfortable jokes, yet she somehow still manages to get hurls of laughter. Her defense? “If you’re trying to be a good person at a comedy show, you’re wasting your god damn time.” And as the youngest person on this list, Tomlinson rails in on that by including current pop culture references in her act — yes, Taylor Swift is mentioned. Yet, let it be known that Taylor Tomlinson is a true gem to watch at any age.
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