Divine Comedy: 25 Best Stand-Up Specials and Movies

From classic HBO specials to arena-comic concert flicks, these bits continue to crack us up

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18. 'Sam Kinison: Breaking All the Rules' (1987)

Between 1985 and 1987, an angry ex-preacher in Houston was the hottest comic on television, screaming his way through memorably ferocious sets on Letterman, SNL, and Rodney Dangerfield's Ninth Annual Young Comedians Special. Kinison's first solo HBO showcase was his victory lap, collecting the best of his early routines, from rants about his troubles with women to some boldly blasphemous thoughts about the grossness of Christ's crucifixion. ("I like being the only savior who can use his hand as a fucking whistle!") It was wildly inappropriate, shockingly hilarious material from a comedian who turned a banshee scream — "Oh oh OHHHHHH!" — into both a post-punchline punctuation and a signature move. Even Robin Williams, no shrinking blossom, was awed by the man's fearless fire-and-brimstone approach, and dubbed Kinison "a comedy combination of Chuck Yeager and Evel Knievel." NM

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