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  • Writer's pictureNatashia Larkin

Need a lift? Here are 28 stand-up comedies to make you smile

stand-up comedy lifestyle blog

Many, many moons ago, my dad was driving me back down to uni as he did at the start of each new term and I was talking his ear off about how I needed to start a blog to work on my writing.

Knowing how much I loved it, he suggested I write a blog about stand-up comedy.

Sadly, I did not take this advice.

And more fool me!

Had I got my butt in gear and started writing about comedy way back then, maybe I could be a serious critic or comedy journalist by now; getting invited to gigs and meeting some of my favourite stand-ups.

But alas, I was busy being a student and back then my affections were largely directed towards disco pants, crop tops, dancing the night away with my housemates and my first big city love, Brighton.

But I thought, perhaps for just one blog post, I’d take my dad's advice and write a little something about the stand-up comedy world I love so much.

It's going to be pretty straightforward, but if it can spread a little joy, then I've done my job.

So, this one’s for your Papa Sweets.

Here are 28 of my favourite comedians and their subsequent stand-ups, along with some of the best TV shows and podcasts out there that are sure to make you smile.

Some of my favourite stand-up comedy shows

Let me start by clarifying, as this will quickly become apparent, Sean Lock is by far one of my favourite comics and his sad passing makes his work even more special to me.

So as you can see, I have a lot of love and appreciation for this man and I implore you to watch all of his shows if you get the chance.

The same applies to Dylan Moran.

Some of my favourite shows include:

Sean Lock:

Purple Van Man

Keep it Light


Greg Davies:

You Magnificent Beast

The Back of My Mum’s Head

Paul Chowdhry:

Live Innit

James Acaster:


Romesh Ranganathan:

The Cynic

Dylan Moran:

What It Is


Yeah, Yeah

Donald Glover:


Taylor Tomlinson:

Quarter-Life Crisis

Sets from the top comedy venues

There is an incredible series on Amazon Prime called Soho Theatre Live and some of the sets on there are just wonderful to watch. If you've got the time, I suggest you go through and watch them all but if you would like to know where to start, I recommend:

  • Dane Baptiste: D.A.N.E

  • Suzi Ruffell: Dance Like Everyone's Watching

  • Felicity Ward: Busting a Nut

  • Olga Koch: Homecoming

  • Jen Brister: Meaningless

  • Nish Kumar: Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity

  • Sindhu Vee: Sandhog

  • Catherine Bohart: Immaculate

  • Sarah Keyworth: Dark Horse

  • Jessica Fostekew: Hench

Huge, huge, huge shout out to the last one on this list, Jessica Fostekew. I cannot recommend her show, Hench enough.

Her brutal honesty about childbirth, parenting, eating disorders and having thick thighs is so raw and refreshing.

I laughed so hard I cried and had to turn the TV off while I ate my lunch because I couldn’t eat whilst laughing that much.

Watch Live at The Apollo

Perhaps one of the best-known stand-up shows on TV is Live at the Apollo. There have been hundreds of shows so far, but based on their sets, I highly recommend:

  • Henning Wehn

  • Doc Brown

  • Nina Conti

  • Ivo Graham

  • Guz Khan

  • Chris McCausland

  • Kerry Godliman

  • Rosie Jones

  • Fern Brady

  • Alex Edelman

And if you can’t find their stand-up sets from Live at the Apollo, there is plenty of their other content online, so keep these names in mind.

Best comedy podcasts

If you prefer podcasts or you like to have something to listen to in the car or on a walk, there are also loads of great stand-up comedies on Spotify (or whatever music platform you choose).

For one thing, you can listen to lots of stand-up sets on there, you just can't watch the comedian on stage, which is perhaps only best if you've already seen them.

But there are also some amazing podcasts out there and a few of my favourites are:

  • Off Menu with Ed Gamble and James Acaster

  • Where There’s a Will There’s a Wake with Kathy Burke

  • The Wolf and Owl with Romesh Ranganathan and Tom Davis

  • The Paul Chowdhry Pudcast with, you guessed it, Paul Chowdhry

The top TV shows

If you want something easy-watching that you can relax to in the evening or that you can have on in the background, some of the best TV shows out there include:

  • 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown

  • Taskmaster

  • Outsiders

  • Hypothetical

  • Would I lie to You

  • Backstage with Katherine Ryan

The year of comedy

I am SO excited for next year as I have a couple of stand-up gigs booked already. To go and see obviously... I’m not going to be performing.

I’m hoping to get a couple more booked in as we have some pretty good acts playing down here in Cornwall, and if not, my sister lives near The Anvil in Basingstoke, another great venue with some huge names.

This year is going to be a big stand-up comedy year for me and I cannot wait.

stand-up comedy gig

Here's an old photo of us a few years back at a Dylan Moran show to finish with. And if you do take my advice and watch any of the shows or sets listed above, please do let me know what you think!

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