Ten Best Comedy Specials of 2013

2013 was a great year for comedy nerds. With so many comedy specials, albums and formats available, fans could exhaust themselves consuming comedy and still barely scratch the surface of what's out there. But it was also a year marked by lackluster efforts from great comedians. Thinky Pain, from Marc Maron, was little more than a punched-up episode of his WTF podcast, while on Caligula, Anthony Jeselnik seemed like his own shtick was eating him alive. Some comics, like Mike Birbiglia, merely re-released years-old content in a new format. Fortunately, 2013 also witnessed strong outings from two of today's most prolific comics (Louis C.K. and Aziz Ansari), killer debuts (like Kumail Najiani's Beta Male) and welcome returns from veterans like Bill Cosby. Netflix has emerged as a player on the comedy distribution market in recent years, producing specials for several comics through their partnership with New Wave Entertainment. While the old guard of HBO and Comedy Central are still turning out great specials each year, self-distribution and new players on the scene have been a boon to fans who today enjoy access to a greater breadth of comic voices than ever before -- which made it tough to narrow this list down to ten.

See also: Five most Cusackian John Cusack movies

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Byron Graham is a writer, comedian and gentleman thief from Denver. Co-host of Designated Drunkard: A Comedy Drinking Game, the deathless Lion's Lair open mic and the Mutiny Book Club podcast, Byron also writes about comedy for Westword. He cannot abide cowardice, and he's never been defeated in an open duel.
Contact: Byron Graham