Marc Maron: End Times Fun (Netflix)
Though shot in 2019, this special felt perfect for the “Why is everything on fire all the time?” insanity of 2020. Maron lays out how we got here, without being condescending or wallowing.
Middleditch & Schwartz (Netflix)
Three hours of improv sounds like it could be torture. But like the highest highs of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz came up with brilliant stories and characters off the top of their domes. Then they kept those plates spinning at three separate shows, maintaining a rarely seen level of energy and creativity.
Nate: A One Man Show (Netflix)
Natalie Palamides’ audacious hour of comedy is one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever seen, which is partially the point. Her deconstruction of macho antics and consent is definitely not for everyone’s taste, but it’s certainly an hour you’ll never forget.
Tom Papa: You’re Doing Great! (Netflix)
Papa’s always been a nice guy and a solid comedian. But those traits meant even more in 2020, when the merest reassurance that we’re still doing fine as our good habits died felt like a balm.
Beth Stelling: Girl Daddy (HBO MAX)
Stelling layers gross jokes and funny anecdotes with righteous call-outs of exes and colleagues who abused women and enabled monsters. It never feels preachy or reductive, especially since it’s disarming from the jump.