The 10 Must-have stand-up comedy DVDs from 2010

By | December 29, 2010 at 8:49 am | 3 comments | Features | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

If you’re here, you’ve probably seen that a few weeks ago we released our Top 10 Comedy Albums of 2010. Or maybe you were just Googling “year-end lists” and landed here. Or maybe you were searching for porn and got horribly lost. Whatever the case, we’re happy to have you.

This list is a bit different from our album list. First and most obviously, this is a list of comedy DVDs.

But, the world of stand-up comedy releases is a strange one. Sometimes comedy releases hit stores simultaneously in both audio and video format; sometimes the audio version of a release is simply the audio taken from the video; sometimes a performer records an entirely different set for the audio and for the video but with a lot of the same jokes and gives both formats the same title; sometimes an audio release comes with a bonus DVD.

The point is this: it’s nearly impossibly and, for our purposes, somewhat unnecessary to establish hard and fast rules that dictate what release makes the running for the DVD list. Basically, it’s like this: If a performer released two versions of the same-titled set, and we thought the video version was the more definitive of the the two, we took the audio version out of the album running, and placed its video counterpart into this list’s running.

Truth be told, in general we love albums a lot. More than DVDs. But we can’t ignore the existence of great DVD releases. Hence, this list.

As you noticed from the headline, we’ve stopped short of calling these the “best comedy DVDs of 2010″; but that’s mainly because of how we decided to editorialize the blurbs for each below release. Each one comes with less of a mini-review and more of a “hey, this is why you should own this DVD.”

And therefore the numbers next to each entry reflect the order in which you should buy these things. You should get all of them. But if you could only get one, you should start with #1. Makes sense, right? Right.

Enough exhausting exposition. Here’s the list. Enjoy!

Fast-rising comedian Whitney Cummings may very well be, in a few years, one of the strongest voices for female comedians. Beyond her solid performance on Money Shot, she’s struck no less than three television deals, is hosting MTV’s New Years celebration, and seen weekly on the incredibly popular Chelsea Lately! Put simply, you need to catch up on your Whitney if you haven’t started your schooling yet.

Buy Money Shot here.
Whitney Cummings – Emotional Ninjas

We love Dan Cummins, plain and simple. Last year we placed his album Revenge is Near in our Top 10 list, saying that in the next year (2010) he’d be breaking out to a lot more comedy fans. We’d like to say that happened. But, dudes… let’s go; more of you need to be hopping on the Cummins choo-choo. As with most debuts, that release was largely a culmination of years of road-tested material. The sophomore slump always looms large for comedians. But Cummins was all like, “Eff that shit,” and released Crazy with a Capital F, another smart, endearing and sarcastic soaked set.
Dan Cummins – Tiny Porcelain Army
Funny Jokes Funny Videos Daniel Tosh Stand-Up

#8 Kevin Hart – Seriously Funny
Sometimes you just need to laugh, right? Kevin Hart is your man. He’s not going to break any boundaries or deeply opine about the state of the world, but he is going to tell you about his wife and kids and it’s going to be funny—and physicality onstage is infections, which is why we prefer the DVD version of this over the CD. Beyond that, the dude was seen in two flicks in 2010 (Death at a Funeral and Little Fockers) and will be in no less than three more in 2011. He’s gone from headlining comedy clubs across the country to selling out theaters and forcing club promoters to constantly add shows because of the demand to see him live.
Kevin Hart – Say It With Your Chest

#7 Paul F. Tompkins – You Should Have Told Me
Sure, we love just about everything Paul F. Tompkins has put out in his illustrious career, but we were super excited about the release of You Should Have Told Me, the comedian’s first live show DVD. And this, more than your typical live DVD, is an exciting one— in part, because of where it was shot, Atlanta’s incredibly intimate Laughing Skull Lounge; we’re talking 80 seats intimate! The average comedy club holds between 250-300 people; and most comedy specials are filmed in theaters that hold anywhere from 500-1,200 laughers. The venue was perfect for what is Tompkins’ most personal – and arguably his funniest –released set to date.

Buy You Should Have Told Me here
Paul F. Tompkins – Buying a House

Watching an emotionally depleted Joe Rogan onstage, struggling to find the answers to some of the world’s biggest problems is a must for any comedy fan. Sure, the CD of Talking Monkeys in Space is powerful but pales in comparison to the visual representation thereof. You need to see the veteran comic defending marijuana, talking about the child he never thought he’d have and pointing out the stupidity of people. This show has it all.
Stand-Up: Joe Rogan – Free Baby

If you had residual doubt as to whether Bo Burnham was not as much a comedian as he just was a YouTube star, his newest effort should fix that. While we suggest you get both the DVD and CD versions of this one, the DVD gives you the definitive experience. Words Words Words is, in short, a proper stage show—a one-man show, if you will. Unlike the other performances on this list, Burnham combines piano and guitar based songs, beat poetry, hip-hop and straight stand-up to deliver wall-to-wall laughs.

In her long, storied and varied career, Janeane Garofalo has never released a live stand-up comedy album, DVD or television special (that you can purchase, anyway)— until 2010. Hard to believe, but it’s true. And thankfully, Janeane came with it strong, funny and endearing in If You Will. This is a crucial piece for comedy lovers of two generations—the ones that grew up adoring Janeane (finally we have some well-produced solo footage) and the young comedy nerds who, because of Janeane’s admitted reluctance to get online, may not have deep understanding of JG.

Listen, at this point, you just get anything David Cross puts out. It’s as simple as that. Sometimes his output is hysterical; sometimes it’s more complainy than it is funny; sometimes its equal parts. This time around, Cross put out one of the best-rounded comedy releases of the year; Bigger and Blackerer tugs at all of your comedic senses. Theatrical, well-written, goofy, serious, angry—it’s all there. But even if it wasn’t, we’d recommend you buy it. It’s David Cross; he represents a lot of the beginning of whatever the fuck “alt comedy” is. Funny or not, he’s got a mind you need to know more about.

Though it seemed nearly impossible for Bill Burr to outdo his last release, Why Do I Do This? from last year, he’s done it. Let it Go finds the respected comedian in top form. So, why do you need this? Besides it being hilarious from start to finish, Burr is basically every well-liked comedian’s favorite comedian. If you don’t know why, it’s time you start knowing.
Bill Burr – Pro-Swine Flu

One of the most talented and unique minds in the history of stand-up comedy, Maria Bamford all-too quietly released Plan B this year, her DVD-only one-woman show. Our writer John Delery explained the performance best earlier this year: “The show succeeds because of its occasionally enigmatic and always charismatic star, a masterly mimic who with a change of pitch, one facial tic can magically recast herself in the lead roles. Without makeup or costume changes, she believably becomes her fingernail-gnawing, abrupt and blunt sister, Sarah, her grunting, snorting, wheezing dermatologist dad, Joel, and her dowdy and aggressively direct Midwestern mom, Marilyn, who supports her daughter while simultaneously yanking away her youngest child’s crutches: ‘Honey, we love you,’ Maria/Marilyn declares, ‘but you’re not welcome at home.’ It’s not that Bamford’s life is a joke; it’s that the kooky comic’s life is the joke. We cringe and laugh convulsively because we see ourselves in her plight. Instead of a biopic, consider Plan B, bioshtick, an hour-long behind-the-mind glimpse at a sensational comedian, who molds pathos and gags into memorable and intimate comic art.

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