STAND-UP TUESDAYS: Best of 2014

top1010top

Stand-Up Tuesdays is a weekly comedy spotlight written by the wonderfully talented Angie Frissore. Covering both known and unknown comics, Stand-up Tuesdays is your new source for all things funny. This week, Angie puts a spotlight on the top ten comedy specials of 2014. If you or your comedy troupe would like to be featured on Stand-Up Tuesdays, please email utgjames@gmail.com.

As we bid farewell to 2014, it’s time to take a look back at the comedy specials released and gather together the top ten specials that tickled our funny bone the most.

This past year saw the emergence of more unique methods of filming and presenting comedic material, making it even more difficult to determine which specials make the list. Let’s take a look at which comedians put out the best specials of 2014!

10. Tommy Johnagin, Stand Up Comedy 3

2014 saw the release of comedian Tommy Johnagin’s third album, aptly titled Stand Up Comedy 3, which rounds out the hilarity trifecta from one of the most likable comics performing today. Johnagin delights as the boy-next-door with the best of intentions, who sometimes misses the mark and is comfortable enough with himself to be open to being hit on by gay men. Mastering the skill of mining his own life (particularly as a father) for unique material, Tommy Johnagin makes the list by being that energenic and engaging funnyman you just want to surround yourself with.


9. Dan St. Germain, Bad at the Good Times

One of the highlights of this past year, for me, was the release of Dan St. Germain’s debut album, Bad at the Good Times. With his own episode of Comedy Central’s The Half Hour under his belt and appearances on dozens of podcasts and late night shows, the anticipation of St. Germain’s first release was rewarded with a solid, creative debut effort. Balancing absurdity with substance, St. Germain opens up about his battle with depression and substance abuse in a most endearing way, as he expertly doles out his well-seasoned lemonade he’s fashioned out of life’s lemons. Add to that the delightfully clever introduction and finale, featuring comedian Joe DeRosa, and Bad at the Good Times is an amazingly strong first release from a very talented comedian.


8. Maronzio Vance, Laughmatic

2014 was a banner year for Rooftop Comedy, who seemed to have the golden touch when it came to selecting comedians for its releases – and Maronzio Vance is certainly at the top of that list. Vance’s debut album, Laughmatic, is a brilliant hour of comedy, offering the comedian’s unique take on society. His stage presence and delivery are incredibly laid back, defying the razor-sharp wit that lies beneath his calm demeanor, resulting in an almost effortless performance that has you hooked from the start. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Vance has up his sleeve for 2015.


7. Hannibal Burress, Live from Chicago

It seems that there’s nothing Hannibal Burress does that isn’t awesome, and his 2014 release, Live from Chicago, is no exception. Taking on a slightly more energetic attitude than his previous special, Buress delights his hometown crowd with his trademark style of slightly silly, yet poignant material. The New York Times praises Buress as having an “irresistible” comedic presence that lands squarely between “cerebral and swagger,” and this is clear to see in Live from Chicago. One viewing and you’ll want to hold your own five-person parade through the streets of New Orleans immediately.


6. Jerrod Carmichael, Love at the Store

I immediately fell in love with Jerrod Carmichael upon viewing his debut special, Love at the Store, because, well, it was taped at the Comedy Store. As a lover of stand-up, nothing represents the intimate feel of a comedy club more than a comic taping his special at one, and Carmichael absolutely rocks during his. The one-time opener for Daniel Tosh owns his audience with his laid-back style, mainly due to his strength as a public speaker. He is able to capture their attention without even telling a joke, as he clearly understands the fundamentals of being a strong orator – ultimately allowing him to create a level of trust with his audience that is often lacking in other comedy specials. Add to that Carmichael’s brilliant and sharp sense of humor, and he is clearly poised to be comedy’s next rising star.


5. Dave Attell, Road Work

It was really exciting to see Dave Attell in his new special this past year, as he’s long been a favorite comedian of mine. His 2014 release, Road Work, was a long-awaited special, shot in multiple comedy clubs with multiple cameras, making it one of the most unique releases of the year. Timed with the premiere of Comedy Central’s Comedy Underground with Dave Attell, Road Work offers Attell’s sharply clever, somewhat filthy brand of comedy, with the comedian even promising his audiences that they are in for “a filthy, dirty mess of a show.” Attell enlists the help of various audience members holding cameras to create a guerilla-style comedy special, and it’s one that fans won’t soon forget. It’s great to see Attell back in top form, and here’s to hoping we get to see more of him this coming year.


4. Jackie Kashian, This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux

Jackie Kashian was one of the few comedians in 2014 who actually made me laugh so hard I cried with her special, This Will Make an Excellent Horcrux. As the host of the podcast “The Dork Forest,” it should be no surprise that the title of Kashian’s special is an homage to one of her dorky loves, but overall, you don’t have to be a dork to enjoy it. Kashian has a warmth and magnetism about her that immediately draws you in, leaving you eager to hear more. It might be that she’s not only the girl next door, she’s the mom next door: “This is not a cougar; this is not a MILF. This is a lady who makes a hell of a pot roast. If you miss your mom, I’ll hug you.”


3. Chelsea Peretti, One of the Greats

We finally got to see a softer (and more insecure) side of comedian Chelsea Peretti with her recent Netflix release, One of the Greats, and it was absolutely delightful. The sharp-tongued comedian presented one of the more unique specials of the year, combining her live performance with various staged tidbits ranging from dogs and babies in the audience to herself, backstage, dressed as a clown. Peretti presents her insecurities and vulnerabilities for all to see, while at the same time offering her brand of scathing social commentary and hilarious self-deprecation. Even her ending is brilliantly unique, as she closes with her entire audience having ‘fallen asleep’ instead of applauding her. One of the Greats definitely changed my perception of Peretti, and I applaud her courage in presenting herself in such a fashion.


2. Tammy Pescatelli, Finding the Funny

Timing is everything, both on and off stage, and if it weren’t for the late-to-the-game release by Bill Burr recently, comedian Tammy Pescatelli definitely would have taken my top spot with her wonderful special, Finding the Funny. Pescatelli is a wildly charismatic performer, whose stage presence feels more like a long-lost friend updating you on her misadventures than it does a performance. She knows you; she knows how to make you laugh, and she doesn’t stop from start to finish. Finding the Funny is by far one of the most entertaining and memorable of 2014, and Pescatelli is a comedic force to be reckoned with.


1. Bill Burr, I’m Sorry You Feel That Way

Oh, Bill Burr…you’ve certainly done it this time. The comedian recently released his new Netflix special, I’m Sorry You Feel That Way, and it instantly went down in the annals of history as one of the most perfect comedic performances ever. It’s been said that Burr doesn’t necessarily sit down and write his whole sets, but tends to do more on-the-spot riffing – something that is not easy to accomplish consistently. Burr’s energy is simply unmatched as he goes off about men having to be reminded not to hit women, growing up Catholic and having to go to church every Sunday, and much, much more. He’s more than at home on stage, riffing with such effortless expertise that one simply cannot overlook just how talented he is. Since its release, I’ve heard many a comic muse about giving up comedy as Burr had just won the game – and that’s not something that happens very often. It’s no wonder Burr was named Stand-Up Comedian of the Year by Just For Laughs this past summer in Montreal – I mean, isn’t he?

Latest posts by Angie Frissore (see all)

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Dan Livermore

    Just…wow. Apparently anyone can write an internet top 10, even someone who so obviously doesn’t know stand up comedy. It’s like the author has never heard of Patton Oswalt, Hari Kondabalu, Miranda Hart, Jim Jeffries, Joe Rogan, or Jim Gaffigan (all of whom released albums that were far better than the offerings by Tammy Pescatelli and Chelsea Peretti.) In fact, Patton and Rogan are both at the top of their games Their releases were by far the top two albums of the year. Bill Burr’s DVD was great, but paled in comparison to those two.

  • Brian Lion

    You realize this is all subjective, right? Your top ten list would be just as correct as hers. I don’t agree with her list entirely either but that doesn’t mean she’s wrong. And yes, ANYONE can write an “internet top 10.” I also don’t know Angie well at all but I do know she’s aware of all of the comedians you mentioned and has covered most or all of them extensively here on UTG.

    Of the ones you mentioned, I only saw Oswalt’s and Gaffigan’s and I thought they were both okay at best (and not their best works necessarily), but then again, I’m not a huge stand-up comedy guy.

  • Brian Lion

    You realize this is all subjective, right? Your top ten list would be just as correct as hers. I don’t agree with her list entirely either but that doesn’t mean she’s wrong. And yes, ANYONE can write an “internet top 10.” I also don’t know Angie well at all but I do know she’s aware of all of the comedians you mentioned and has covered most or all of them extensively here on UTG and elsewhere.

    Of the ones you mentioned, I only saw Oswalt’s and Gaffigan’s and I thought they were both okay at best (and not their best works necessarily), but then again, I’m not a huge stand-up comedy guy.

  • Dan Livermore

    I do realize that this is subjective, but anyone who says that Chelsea Handler and Tammy Pescatelli had two of the top three comedy albums of the year is either being disingenuous, hasn’t listened to enough comedy, or simply doesn’t understand humor.
    What it feels like is an author wanting to include female comedians into her top ten list, in a year where the top female comedians didn’t release albums. So, instead of putting together an honest list, she shoehorned 2 comediennes where they simply don’t belong. (Jackie Kashian’s album was very good, so I have no problem with that inclusion, at that spot.) I know I’ll be accused of misogyny for saying it, but I assure you, that’s not the case. Had, for example, Amy Schumer’s latest album been released this year, it would be solidly in the top 10. The ratio of male to female comedians is about 50-1, so it’s not sexist to suggest that perhaps none of the top 10 albums this year (top 25 to be honest, but I digress,) were released by female artists.
    I have no problem with subjective lists, but this list glaringly wrong, by (nearly, it appears) any comedy fan’s standards

  • Brian Lion

    You’re still basing this all on your own opinions, though, so it’s really a moot point. “Anyone who says that Chelsea Handler [Peretti] and Tammy Pescatelli had two of the top three comedy albums of the year is either being disingenuous, hasn’t listened to enough comedy, or simply doesn’t understand humor.” This isn’t any kind of true fact, it’s just the way you feel. I can’t say for certain that Angie has watched all the specials or listened to the albums you’re referencing but knowing how much she’s involved with comedy, I feel pretty sure that she has, and the fact that this list is her end result of deliberation on the subject, I’d assume you two have very different opinions, and that’s totally okay. You’re not going to change her mind to the point where she’ll be altering this list to appease your likes or opinions. You’ve stated your thoughts. She apparently likes different comedy than you. The world moves on.

  • Dan Livermore

    Say this were a sports blog, and I were to make a list of the top 5 QBs in the NFL, and I put together the following list:
    1. Tom Brady
    2. Geno Smith
    3. Derek Carr
    4. Payton Manning
    5. Andrew Luck
    Now, if that were my genuine opinion, the list would not be “wrong.” However, to the general football fan, my list would be absolute rubbish. This is because, even through casual observance, you can differentiate between a good NFL QB and an average NFL QB. The same thing applies with stand up comedy albums. You are absolutely correct, because this is based on opinion, she is not wrong…technically. However, the title doesn’t say, “My 10 Favorite Stand-Up Albums 2014,” it says, “STAND UP TUESDAYS: Best of 2014,” which the albums she listed clearly are not.

    But what do I know? Hell, Jeff Dunham is a total hack (look, I have a Pakistani doll, he’s a terrorist, ha ha) and he’s the #1 selling comedian in the world. Dan Whitney was a locally touring comedian with (very) limited regional success before he took on the hack persona “Larry the Cable Guy” and became the world’s most successful comedian for about 3 years straight. I guess I’m just a comedy snob.

    I’ll move on now, but I stand by every word I’ve typed here. No, I’m not looking for the author to change the list to my liking. I’ve said my peace, I’m good now.