The 10 Best Comedy Specials or Albums of 2014 (So Far)

Comedy Lists
The 10 Best Comedy Specials or Albums of 2014 (So Far)

Just a few weeks into July, 2014 has already seen some impressive stand-up releases, so we’re taking a look back at 10 of our favorites from the first half of this year. That means both specials and albums, so long as they’re comedy and so long as they’re great. By the time December rolls around, a few of these rankings will have surely have changed, but for now, here is what we believe to be the very best comedy 2014 has had to offer.

germain.png10. Dan St. Germain – Bad At The Good Times

Germain was born and bred in New York City and understands it takes a big personality to win over any crowd. What he’s best at is pointing out everything that is wrong, weird and hilarious about his personality. That’s precisely what’s so good about Bad at the Good Times, Germain’s first full-length comedy album. Throughout the album, which was performed and recorded at Los Angeles’ NerdMelt Showroom, Germain rips on himself for the full hour, ranging from horrible break-ups to horribly depressing Facebook statuses. He recognizes what’s funny, tears himself apart and goes down with the ship. But make no mistake, Germain is fully in control as captain. He just knows which waves make the biggest splashes.—Patrick Filbin

oswalt.png9. Patton Oswalt – Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time

He hit his stride as he imagined offing himself in front of a display of Lean Cuisine meals while Toto’s “Africa” played over the system and his incredible experience performing for 400 drunk casino patrons that apparently involved him responding positively as people yelled listings from his iMDB profile to him.—Robert Ham

mande.png8. Joe Mande – Bitchface

Here the juxtaposition between the mixtape hallmarks (street beats, call outs, and skits) and the self-deprecating comedy of Joe Mande is a perfectly absurd one, and has a great deal to do with the success of Bitchface. Mande’s standup on its own is fine, but often doesn’t stir up the kind of laughter that catches you off guard and potentially wakes up your sleeping spouse.—Robert Ham

harikonda.jpg7. Hari Kondabolu – Waiting for 2042

Politically minded comedy can be a tough needle to thread, with some of the best stand-ups finding that perfect middle ground between proselytizing and plain ol’ joking. Even better are the comics who offer up their material with an acid tongue and a fire in their belly. All of the above applies to the first album by New York-based stand-up Hari Kondabolu. The former correspondent and writer for Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell leaves no political affiliation, gender, race or sexual orientation behind in his exploration of our fucked up and wonderful modern age.—Robert Ham

johnagin.png6. Tommy Johnagin – Stand-Up Comedy 3

Tommy Johnagin’s Stand-Up Comedy 3 stands out from other modern comedy records by skipping over the choice between highly personal stories and technically impressive joke writing – why pick when Johnagin’s so good at both? Stand-Up Comedy 3 focuses on Johnagin’s family life – helping his mother use iTunes, his relationship with his girlfriend and their daughter – but instead of mining them just for anecdotes, he deploys laser-focused wordplay. These situations and tight joke-writing combine with Johnagin’s progressive take on sexuality and masculinity to make Stand-Up Comedy 3 a fresh, modern take on classic stand-up.—Casey Malone

crowdwork.png5. Todd Barry – The Crowd Work Tour

I knew that Barry’s Crowd Work Tour—a set of dates where he took the stage with zero prepared material, interacting with the audience and using his quick wit as his guide—would be a raging success. And watching this film from director Lance Bangs, which follows the comedian on his West Coast run of dates, has proven me dead right.—Robert Ham

jim_gaffigan_obsessed.jpg4. Jim Gaffigan – Obsessed

By now most people know about Jim Gaffigan’s obsession with food. It’s his bread and butter. Over the course of several albums and comedy specials the lovable lug has dissected Hot Pockets, McDonald’s shame spirals and the beauty of bacon. Gaffigan’s comedy is sort of like a funnier Supersize Me—you’re either completely disgusted by what he’s saying, or you’re secretly thinking about how delicious a Big Mac sounds.—Mark Lore

normand.png3. Mark Normand – Still Got It

Mark Normand’s Still Got It is packed with jokes. Normand’s voice, straight from vaudeville, fires joke after joke, all impeccably built and precision engineered to land exactly a second ahead of where the audience’s expects. Listeners come away not knowing much about Normand; he talks about race, religion and women, but seems less interested in his opinions as he is in mining those topics for perfectly crafted jokes. Still Got It showcases Normand’s Jerry Seinfeld-like observations and Mitch Hedberg-esque wit strongly enough to make the case that he could be the successor to both. —Casey Malone

buress.png2. Hannibal Buress – Live From Chicago

Like previous Buress routines, Live is an enjoyable mixture of bizarre anecdotes, cultural commentary and uniquely Buress-ian non sequiturs. Of course, given the comic’s rising star, the biographical humor concerns topics like international travel and an encounter with Scarlett Johansson instead of shitty roommates, but none of that has dulled Buress’ signature weird edge.—Hudson Hongo

gethardalbumlead.jpg1. Chris Gethard – My Comedy Album

My Comedy Album is, in a fashion, an extension of the spirit of Gethard’s public access TV show (The Chris Gethard Show, natch) in that it has a very inclusive, exploratory feel. His stories, whether they focus on his experiences doing drugs or losing his erection while being fellated, have a therapeutic quality. In relating some of his most awkward moments, you can almost hear the weight being lifted off Gethard’s shoulders.—Robert Ham

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