Check Out 2016’s Best Late Night Standup Sets

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Unless you spend all day in front of a DVR, you’re definitely missing a lot of great TV (like, for example, did you catch Conner O’Malley’s interpretative dance performance on last week’s Late Night?) And this year there was so much great standup aired across so many new networks, it’s been especially hard to keep up with all the great sets – between the dozens of comics who killed on Conan to the stacked live shows captured by Meltdown and Flophouse, just to name a few.

Broadcast comedy isn’t, obviously, all about tight fives on talk shows anymore. Of course, a Tonight Show appearance still has an unparalleled air of importance; for comics raised on Carson, it’s a measurable career milestone with seemingly unlimited promise – and at the very least, it provides a credit all your family members can be proud of. Take Adam Cayton-Holland’s word for it, from his Conan set last February:

But there are only so many major network late night shows, and so few slots for standups between them – luckily, well-curated showcases like Adam Devine’s House Party and Night Train with Wyatt Cenac offer more ways to celebrate emerging, enduring talent.

So, the DVR recap of the past year features polished sets from veteran late night performers like Nate Bargatze and Maria Bamford, with a huge number of notable debuts – from comics like Joel Kim Booster, Anthony DeVito, Matt Ingebretson, and Dulce Sloan – and a handful of delightfully offbeat moments from Rory Scovel (both solo and as part of Meltdown’s comedy gospel supergroup, the Five Footprints), musical comic Pat Regan, the surprisingly enduring Andrew Dice Clay, and more.

These 50-ish sets were shining moments in the shitstorm of 2016; hopefully, they’ll brighten up your holiday break a bit, too.

Anthony Atamaniuk (Trump vs Bernie)

All year – and long before SNL scrambled to find their own Trump – Anthony Atamaniuk was perfecting his eerily accurate version of Don better than anyone, down to the facial tics and short temper.

Maria Bamford (The Meltdown)

On The Meltdown, Lady Dynamite Maria Bamford has a breakthrough about how relationships have a lot to do with luck.

Nate Bargatze (The Tonight Show)

On the second of his two 2016 Tonight Show appearances, Nate Bargatze tells us what it’s like to perform in a prison.

Joel Kim Booster (Conan)

Armed with an unwavering smile and a few beautifully drawn-out pauses, Joel Kim Booster made a spectacular Conan debut in June.

Guy Branum (The Meltdown)

Guy Branum’s throught process is brilliant to unravel, so we can’t wait til his Talk Show: The Game Show premieres on truTV in 2017.

Matt Broussard (Conan)

Teen movie villain doppelganger Matt Broussard knows you probably don’t like him already, but this hilarious set will win you over.

Rhea Butcher (Conan)

Take My Wife star Rhea Butcher delivers plenty of wry one-liners in her Conan debut.

Dave Chappelle (SNL)

In a return to TV – as an actor and a standup – that’s been years in the making, Dave Chappelle opened his SNL episode with an extended monologue on the election (and his laid-back politics in general) that seemed to jump-start the comics’ interest in releasing new material.

Andrew Dice Clay (The Tonight Show)

Modern day Aesop, 80s superstar Andrew Dice Clay, returned to the stage this spring and before you start worrying, yes everything he wore was made of leather. The clip isn’t embeddable but you can see it here.

Sonia Denis (CC Comics To Watch)

Featured on Comedy Central’s 2016 Comics to Watch list, former Chicagoan Sonia Denis has a seriously magical energy.

Anthony DeVito (Adam Devine’s House Party)

Vaguely ethnic Anthony DeVito laments his TSA troubles, but has some hopeful predictions about the future of racism.

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