Now it’s time to move things forward as we reveal our 10 best comedy albums and specials of 2015. With so much comedy gold this year, it was quite the task to pick a Top 20, let alone a Top 10. But we did and here’s our list. From well established comedians to new up-and-coming talent, this year’s list features a good mix of specials and albums but once again tells us that we are currently in the platinum age of comedy. And we are sure glad to be here for the ride.
10. Amy Schumer – Live at the Apollo (HBO)
It’s fair to say that 2015 was the year of Amy Schumer. She solidified herself as a bonafide star. An actress, writer, comedian, host, and political advocate, Schumer’s debut special for HBO was just the icing on the cake on a year some people could easily call a career. Amy Schumer: Live at the Apollo showcases the Emmy winner getting personal with an hour of stand-up about getting drunk and having sex. It was directed by Chris Rock and fillmed at New York’s iconic Apollo Theater in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
It was a big year for comedian Wayne Federman and a long time coming. 30 plus years to be exact. As a staple and influence not only in the L.A. comedy community, but across the country, Federman released his much anticipated debut triple album The Chronicles of Federman that spans his three decade long career including audio from the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, through today. “Epic… hilarious… inspired… whimsical…. unique and insightful. We are all so lucky when we get to spend any time with Wayne Federman.” said Judd Apatow. And that’s an understatement. The comedians of today have Federman to thank for a lot of what has come to be acceptable on stage. From alt comedy to slaying “Smoke on the Water” on ukulele. Do yourself a favor and pick this album up and enjoy the life, times, and career that is Wayne Federman.
Ron Funches packs everything we love about him into The Funches Of Us. He delivers absurdist musings and non-sequiturs in a drowsy, laid back tone that make his hilarious new album a best of the year. The Undateable star is a giant teddy bear. On the Comedy Dynamics release, Funches talks about raising his kid, among other things, in the most delightfully weird manner. The Undateable star is also one of the best and most unique working comedians working today. The Funches Of Us further proves that.
I’m On A Roll is a diamond of absurdist comedy. Listening to it is like taking a time machine back to your youth when you had a greater appreciation for the sillier things in life. Liedtke’s debut album is weird, nostalgic, and everything you’d expect from a grown man-child. It’s a brilliant departure from conventional stand-up. In addition, the bearded lumberjack has appeared on Conan, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and Maron. After this release, we suspect he will enjoy much more television success in the years to come. After all, what show doesn’t want a noted prankster like Liedtke, who fooled the police into pulling him over for talking on an iPhone-shaped cookie he baked?
Of all the Comedy Central releases this year, Class Act is the most honest, fearless, and brutally funny. After years of comedic diligence, Morril broke through the clutter with this album that foreshadows his bright future ahead. Recorded at New York’s Village Underground, Class Act debuts a masterful comic, capable of pulling off dark jokes without being distasteful. “I look exactly like my biological father so I showed my friend a picture, and he said, ‘wow, it’s like you guys were separated at birth.’ I said, ‘we were.'” These are the sorts of tight jokes that Morril packs into his one hour set. If you’re looking for a comic who embodies the characteristics of a great stand-up, Sam Morril is your man.
Brooks Wheelan’s time on Saturday Night Live might have been short lived, but honestly, it may have been the best thing to happen to him. Wheelan’s response? One of the best albums of 2015 backed by a fantastic tour across the United States. This Is Cool Right? is a perfect documentation of what Wheelan is capable of and his presence in the live setting is undeniable. He is known for his unique stand-up, addressing his sharp and sometimes dark observations of American life and this album gives you that and more. After grabbing this album, if you haven’t already, be sure to check out his appearance on our podcast back in January.
Kyle Kinane is one of those comedians that seems to get better with age. His debut album, Death of The Party is a warts-and-all showcase of a truly unique comedic voice. That voice then became the tone of Comedy Central, where he would release a follow-up that was once again a progression of a comedian that was able to mine chaotic life experiences. With his third album and special, it seems Kyle Kinane has turned a corner. Well, not a complete corner, he’s still pulling pranks with his tracklisting. While he might not be as big a f*ck up of his younger self, time has offered him the skill to continue to spin a truly fantastic tale. Kinane taped this special at the 40 Watt in Atlanta, a traditionally rock and roll club which helped him produce a free spirited special that continues to document his evolution.
03. John Mulaney – The Comeback Kid (Netflix)
John Mulaney is one of the best joke writers of this generation hands down. So it’s no surprise his new Netflix special The Comeback Kid made our Top 10. Armed with boyish charm and a sharp wit, the former Saturday Night Live scribe offers sly takes on marriage, his beef with babies and the time he met Bill Clinton. He tears through joke after joke making you wish the special was an additional hour at least. You would be doing yourself a big favor by watching this at least twice, it’s that good. Mulaney is currently Off-Broadway with comedian Nick Kroll in Oh, Hello, currently the hottest ticket in New York City.
02. Anthony Jeselnik – Thoughts and Prayers (Netflix)
Anthony Jeselnik saw a resurgence in 2015 with hosting duties on the latest installment of NBC’s Last Comic Standing and a brand new special, Thoughts and Prayers, on Netflix. His best one to date. Jeselnik is beyond comfortable on stage these days utilizing his distinct voice and confidence to take us on an hour long ride of left turns that you never see coming. In this special Jeselnik proves there’s no subject too dark as he skewers taboos and riffs on national tragedies before pulling back the curtain on his provocative style. This is the first special for Anthony Jeselnik post the controversy stemming from his TV show and Boston Marathon Twitter joke, and the comedian takes the opportunity to hilariously tackle such controversies.
When discussing great comedians, the phrase of “unique voices” is a recurring theme. Nate Bargatze falls into this category. With his first special for Comedy Central, Bargatze took the opportunity of his biggest platform yet to fully showcase what he’s made of. Full Time Magic is full of trademark good guy charm that only a goodhearted comedian like Bargatze can deliver. It’s full terrific premises about trying to figure out how to prove to someone he’s from the future, or how to encounter his wife’s ex at a lake. Bargatze comes from a family of entertainers, his dad was a clown (Yelled At By A Clown) turned magician (Full Time Magic) so it seems destined the he’d grow up to be an entertainer. On Full Time Magic, Bargatze proves that he’s fulfilling that destiny and nice guys can indeed finish first.