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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17. 'A Steven Wright Special' (1985)

A master of deadpan delivery and elliptical one-liners, Wright's minimalist-Henny-Youngman act made him a late-night TV favorite in the early Eighties. Then his 1985 album I Have a Pony and its companion cable special bumped him up from cult act to star, netting him a Grammy nomination and some of HBO's best-ever stand-up comedy ratings. A true original, the near-comatose Bostonian spends the 50 minutes of A Steven Wright Special mumbling jokes like, "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it" — always pausing long enough for the audience to catch up. But the set was almost too popular. When Wright realized he couldn’t do that material on-stage anymore, he waited over 20 years before he recorded again. Still he left us with this: a masterpiece of monotone, Mensa-level humor. NM

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