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

12. 'Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway' (1985)

Long before she was hosting Oscar broadcasts or holding court on The View, Whoopi Goldberg was wowing audiences on the Great White Way with a one-woman show (directed by none other than Mike Nichols). Unlike her earlier theatrical tribute to Moms Mabley, she played a quintet of characters, from a Valley Girl-ish teen to a streetwise hustler and thief named Fontaine; each gets their share of pathos-driven plot turns, but they also get punch lines, which had crowd members cracking up when they weren't choking up. Shown on HBO six months before The Color Purple premiered, this special was her first major introduction to wider audience; seen now, it's a great reminder of what an energetic stage performer and comedienne she was before she started adding actress, awards-show emcee and talk-show dynamo to her resumé. DF

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