It’s been one decade since the first comedy special debuted on Netflix. Since then, countless specials from hundreds of stand-ups around the world have provided us with endless laughter and delight, and we have many of the headliners of this year’s Netflix Is a Joke Fest to thank. Back and bigger than ever, Netflix is a Joke Fest is ready to take over Los Angeles, with 500-plus live shows across 35-plus iconic venues, including the Hollywood Bowl, the Greek, the Forum, The Comedy Store, and more. The lineup is truly no joke, and here are some of the famously funny faces that can be seen at this year’s festival.

Photography by Mary Ellen Matthews
24 April 202415 min read
Trevor Noah wears a brown jacket and sits in front of a portrait of himself, as a bucket of stickers falls over his head.

Trevor Noah


Trevor Noah is truly everywhere. The performer hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list with his memoir Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood. He recently wrapped up a seven-year run as the host of The Daily Show, where he guided audiences through unprecedented cultural and political times. And he launched a weekly podcast, What Now? with Trevor Noah. Now, the Emmy winner is busier than ever, with a continent-spanning tour taking him around the globe.. 

The comedian brings his signature charm and razor-sharp insights to the screen in Trevor Noah: Where Was I, reflecting on what it’s like to perform around the world. It's his fourth Netflix comedy special following Trevor Noah: I Wish You Would, Trevor Noah: Afraid of the Dark, and Trevor Noah: Son of Patricia.

Contemplating the different cultural approaches to national anthems, holidays, and historical events, Noah has a keen eye for the absurd. “You only realize how insecure countries are when you leave your country,” he observes. “Have you ever left and come back? Have you seen the questions your country asks you? So insecure, so jealous, ‘Let’s see who’s been stamping your passport.’ You’re like, ‘Damn country. Let me get my privacy.’” 

Luckily for us — inquisitive border control aside — Noah shows no signs of slowing down. 

John Mulaney holds a landline out to someone in a post-it covered office.

John Mulaney


There are few comedians as undeniably candid as John Mulaney. With his trademark delivery and asides riddled with unexpected pop-culture references, the performer is unafraid to embrace the darkly absurd moments of life. In the Emmy-winning John Mulaney: Baby J, the comic is brutally honest and uproariously funny while he delves into his most personal subject matter yet. 

Taking us along on his journey through addiction, his star-studded intervention (“As mad as I was when I walked in there, I was like, ‘This is a good lineup. This is really flattering in its own way.’ It was like a ‘We Are the World’ of alternative comedians over the age of 40”), his eventful time in rehab (“I got in trouble my second week in rehab because I ordered Outback Steakhouse using Postmates”), and the uncomfortable moments along the way, Mulaney delivers an electric examination of self. “As you process and digest how obnoxious, wasteful, and unlikable that story is,” he says of a particularly embarrassing experience, “just remember, that’s one I’m willing to tell you.” 

Whether it’s John Mulaney & The Sack Lunch Bunch, his homage to classic children’s educational programs like Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and Sesame Street, or Oh, Hello on Broadway, his hit collaboration with Nick Kroll, where the pair transform into curmudgeons Gil Faizon and George St. Geegland, Mulaney’s irreverent charm and idiosyncratic storytelling never fail to entertain.  

Ali Wong wears a blue velvet dress and lies in a pile of stickers.

Ali Wong


For her searing performance in BEEF, Ali Wong became the first Asian woman to ever win an Emmy for Lead Actress in a Limited Series. The dark comedy, which Wong also executive-produced, follows the aftermath of a road rage incident. Wong has always been in the driver’s seat of her career: When she wanted to see a romantic comedy with characters she recognized, she co-wrote and starred in Always Be My Maybe. And in 2016, she debuted her first of three hilarious stand-up specials — while seven-and-a-half months pregnant.

“It’s very rare to see a female comic perform pregnant because female comics . . . don’t get pregnant,” Wong says in Ali Wong: Baby Cobra. Standing in her patterned minidress and red-rimmed glasses, Ali Wong doesn’t shy away from the clinical nature of getting pregnant (“You pee on these ovulation strips that tell you when the eggs are droppin’. It tells you when it’s Easter time”) or the fallout of her previous miscarriage (“I held that shit over [my husband’s] head for a month. He took me to see Beyoncé”). We may have never seen a pregnant comic onstage before, but Wong makes us wonder what the hell took so long.

With acerbic wit, Wong also takes on sex, immigrant parents, divorce, and dating. To single, childless people, she says, during 2022’s Ali Wong: Don Wong, “You don’t know how free you are. You can eat an edible at two p.m. and go to the aquarium. You don’t got to bring a giant bag with little ziplock baggies of Goldfish [crackers] and toy cell phones!” Wong mines some of her most personal but relatable moments and brings them front-and-center, emerging as a powerful, raunchy feminist voice along the way.

Sarah Silverman wears a yellow robe and opens it up to a crowd of paparazzi.

Sarah Silverman


Sarah Silverman hates segues, which is why much of her work is connected in the same way that she thinks: organically, freely. The Emmy-winning stand-up comedian has covered everything from religion to sexuality and trauma. And no matter how taboo the topic, she’s never been above silliness. “I have not read the Bible,” she says in her 2017 special, Sarah Silverman: Speck of Dust. “I’ve tried. It just reads like a super-shitty Game of Thrones spec script.” Whether she’s talking about explaining Brexit from her deathbed or the joke books her dad bribed her with to go to sleepaway camp, Silverman spins outrageous stories out of myriad moments, each meant to trigger some shred of familiarity — or at the very least, empathy.

Over three decades into her career, Silverman is also an author, actor, podcaster, playwright, political activist, producer, and late-night guest host. In her memoir (turned musical) The Bedwetter, Silverman revisits her childhood, which involved suffering the title affliction into her teen years, Xanax, and an infant brother’s death. On her eponymous podcast, she answers listeners’ wide-ranging questions, and she occasionally hosts The Daily Show. She even played Leonard Bernstein’s sister in the seven-time Oscar-nominated film Maestro. She quite literally does it all with the same signature mix of sensitivity, audacity, innocence, and brashness. Absolutely nothing is off-limits.

Taylor Tomlinson


“I’ve never really had a job job,” says Taylor Tomlinson. It’s a funny predicament for one of the hardest-working comedians out there, whose special Taylor Tomlinson: Have It All is premised on just how well her career is going. The performer’s third special caps off her comedy tour — one of the highest grossing in 2023 — and Tomlinson’s now reflecting on a whole month of regular employment — sort of. The 30-year-old’s brand new “job job” is late-night host for CBS’s After Midnight.

When the comedian arrived at her first Netflix special, 2020’s Taylor Tomlinson: Quarter-Life Crisis, she’d mastered a style that balances big-tent relatability (friends, dating, growing pains) with the deeply personal. Her sophomore special, 2022’s Taylor Tomlinson: Look at You, centers on mental health and the death of her mother at age 34, when Tomlinson was just eight. “Do you think I’d be this successful at my age if I had a live mom?” she asks her audience, hinting at what she’s said flat-out elsewhere: that a fear of dying young has fueled her career. 

Tomlinson wanted Have It All to be “lighter, more fun, like Quarter-Life was.” Still, she says, “I always write from a really personal place.” Like she quips at the beginning of her special, “Nobody wants anybody to have it all.” But the lasting impression you get from Tomlinson is that she’s grateful for what she’s got — even if it’s her job to make a joke out of it.

Ronny Chieng gets blown in a storm of stickers, holding onto an inverted umbrella.

Ronny Chieng


Ronny Chieng is okay with you raining on his parade. He has made a name for himself relishing the rage-inducing aspects of life, inspired by the utterly ridiculous and irritating. Those feelings are all a part of the comedian and longtime The Daily Show correspondent’s process: “If I’m getting angry, I’m usually [thinking], Oh, there might be something funny here. I mean, it’s hard to pinpoint the cause of creativity, but in a very general sense, I think that’s fair to say,” he told Queue in 2020. “All the jokes I have usually have some element of anger in them — or frustration.” 

In his latest special Ronny Chieng: Speakeasy, the stand-up comes for racists, misinformation, and the mechanics of cancel culture. “I left three countries with free health care and no guns. I moved to America in 2015 already prepared to die,” says the Malaysian-born stand-up, who grew up in Singapore and began his career in Australia. “What are you gonna do? Cancel me so I have to go back to Malaysia where I’m a national hero? How will I ever survive?” Even now that he’s a bona fide movie star, appearing in Crazy Rich Asians, in M3GAN, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and soon in the series Interior Chinatown, Chieng thankfully still has plenty to vent about.

Nikki Glaser wears a yellow set and holds a bushel of balloons.

Nikki Glaser


Roasting is a true art form. A precise concoction of considered callouts, playful jabs, assured delivery, and the ability to laugh both at and with the subject at hand, the roast is a delicate balance, and no one has perfected it quite like Nikki Glaser. 

The comedian is an expert at roasting others — and herself. Having gotten a crack at some of the most famous people in the world (including Peyton Manning, Rob Lowe, Martha Stewart, and Robert De Niro) and earning her spot on Hall of Flame, the self-aware comic doesn’t hesitate to throw a burn her own way as she keeps it real in regards to sex, dating, sobriety, and her own insecurities. “An innocuous compliment from a guy you like means everything,” she says in her 2019 special Nikki Glaser: Bangin’. “I did stand-up comedy one time
15 years ago on a whim. I was like, ‘I’ll try it,’ and I was fine, but a hot guy after the show was like ‘You were great,’ and I was like ‘I’ll do it forever, thank you!’"

Actor, podcaster, reality show host, and Selling Sunset scene-stealer (she regaled the Oppenheim Group with her hilarious barbs while looking for a new home), Glaser brings her signature unfiltered banter and laugh-inducing observations wherever she goes. 

Gabriel Iglesias blends in with a wall of flowers, holding his dogs close to his face.

Gabriel Iglesias


In every comedian’s life, certain moments are rites of passage. There is the first open mic, the first time a set kills — and the first time it bombs — the first headlining show, and the first time on the road. These are familiar career milestones for every performer. However, when it comes to selling out Dodger Stadium, Gabriel Iglesias can say he’s the first. 

With his 2022 special, Gabriel Iglesias: Stadium Fluffy, the stand-up comes home to California to make history as the first comedian to perform at and sell out one of the largest baseball stadiums in the United States. Iglesias commands the entirety of the iconic ballpark as he details a failed extortion plot against him, his adventures with his prized chihuahuas Vinnie and Risa, and experiencing heartbreak in his 40s. 

The magic of the legendary occasion was not lost on the comedian and actor, who’s starred in films and series like Magic Mike, The Fluffy Movie, and Mr. Iglesias. “We started off in freaking garages, backyard barbecues, quinceañeras, and weddings,” the Long Beach native says of performing for over 50,000 fans. “And now it’s like, you know, this is home for us.” Whether it’s his backyard or Dodger Stadium: Iglesias is always in his element.

Chelsea Handler wears a red dress and lies against a bullseye.

Chelsea Handler


Chelsea Handler is not afraid to forge her own path. When her talk show Chelsea Lately debuted in 2007, the comedian joined the ranks of a field dominated through the decades by the opposite sex, making an indelible mark as one of the first women in late-night television with her enviable seven-year tenure. She reimagined what a talk show host could be: incredibly candid, rousingly bold, and always hilarious. 

No topic is too intimate or too personal for the six-time New York Times-best-selling author of Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and Life Will Be the Death of Me: . . . And You Too! Handler blazes a trail with her openness when it comes to such societal taboos as gender politics, privilege, therapy, sex, and being a woman who chooses not to have children. “I say I don’t want to be a mother, but I wouldn’t mind being, like, a divorced dad. You know? I could crush that role. Coming in hot at like 50 percent all the time,” she muses about her commitment to childlessness in her 2022 special, Chelsea Handler: Revolution. “Showing up Friday afternoons with unicorn Frappuccinos, and then back to the Cheesecake Factory, and then back to Starbucks, and then drop them off and skedaddle Monday before shit really hits the fan.” 

From Grammy-nominated stand-up to late-night legend and introspective author, Handler aces every role that comes her way. 

Nick Kroll wears a sticker suit and strikes a pose.

Nick Kroll


In the seventh grade, Nick Kroll knew he had a future in comedy. At a time of heightened preteen angst, he attended his first social event where the opposite sex was present. “I was wearing my GapKids khakis, with the elastic around the waist for the kids who were like, ‘I need to go poopy now,’” he recalls of the fateful party in his debut Netflix special, Nick Kroll: Little Big Boy. He then spied the childhood crush he hoped to impress — only to be pantsed by another classmate, who took down Kroll’s pair of silk boxers along with the khakis. The embarrassment was an unexpected origin story.

Those themes — adolescent awkwardness, unrequited romance, and trouser-related pranks — have proved vital material for Kroll, not only in his stand-up but also in his animated series Big Mouth. Co-created with his childhood friend Andrew Goldberg, Mark Levin, and Jennifer Flackett, no coming-of-age triumph or trauma is off-limits. Following the kids of Bridgeton Middle School, the Emmy-winning series surveys the uncharted waters of puberty, taking
Kroll and his collaborators’ memories of young adulthood and turning them into Hormone Monster-filled comedy gold. Spawning seven seasons (with a final eighth installment on the way) and spin-off Human Resources, Big Mouth — and Kroll — prove that nothing is more universal than growing pains.

Michelle Buteau wears a ruffled purple dress and walks on a sticker-covered runway.

Michelle Buteau


There is no stopping Michelle Buteau. After cementing herself as an unforgettable voice in stand-up, and a bona fide scene-stealer in 2019’s Always Be My Maybe and Someone Great, the comedian continues to bring us into her world. In her 2020 special, Michelle Buteau: Welcome to Buteaupia, the performer unpacks motherhood, surrogacy, cultural differences, and finding love. As the host of the reality shows The Circle and Barbecue Showdown, she commands the competition. 

The performer illustrates her range once again as the co-creator and star of the dramedy series Survival of the Thickest (2023), proving that we are all, indeed, living in Buteaupia. An adaptation of Buteau’s sincerely hilarious book of personal essays, the series gets real about loving, dating, working, striving, thriving, and surviving in New York and what it means to start over and come into your own later in life. “People talk about turning 25, or 30, or 21 [like] those are the landmark markings, and they’re really not,” says the comedian. “For me, it’s like late thirties, early forties, shit hits different.” 

Buteau may be everywhere, but don’t call her an overnight success. First deciding she wanted to be a comedian over two decades ago, the New Jersey-born stand-up has been putting in the work, delighting onstage and onscreen. “I just had my head down and I worked and I worked and I worked, and I loved what I did,” she says. “You just have fun, you work, you try to figure out how to advocate for yourself, and then one day you just look at your schedule and you’re like, ‘Okay, what are we going to wear to the Hollywood Bowl?’”

Jerry Seinfeld wears a black suit and leans against a sticker-covered pole.

Jerry Seinfeld


Jerry Seinfeld became a household name with his eponymous sitcom, which aired from 1989 to 1998, and he’s been making us laugh ever since. His observational humor practically launched an entire genre, with jokes about the expiration date of milk, airplane safety videos, and the genius invention of the Pop-Tart: “They must’ve come out of that lab like Moses with the two tablets of the Ten Commandments,” he says. With his latest project, Unfrosted, Seinfeld expands on the origin story of the ubiquitous pastry — and makes his feature film directorial debut. 

Yet Seinfeld’s humor cannot be confined to one medium. In Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which first aired in 2012, Seinfeld combines two of his passions — cars and coffee — into a show where he rides around sharing stories with fellow comedians and even the President of the United States. He revisits his early days in the club where he got his start in 2017’s Jerry Before Seinfeld, which is part documentary, part stand-up special, and part comedy. Whether he’s sitting in an old Volkswagen van with Jim Gaffigan or performing onstage, Seinfeld’s disarming observations and questions have made him an icon of our time.

The comedian’s most recent special, 2020’s Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill, brings him to New York’s Upper West Side (that beloved Seinfeld neighborhood), where he ponders the way humans don’t actually want to be anywhere. “Wherever you are, anywhere in life, at some point, you gotta get the hell out of there,” he says. Sometimes, getting the hell out of there means going home and watching reruns of his beloved sitcom — and thank God for that.


And joining the incredible roundup of talent at the 2024 Netflix is a Joke Fest are even more of your favorite jokesters. See other imagery from Mary Ellen Matthews and grab some tickets to their performances below.