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11 Stand-Up Specials That Broke the Mold


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5. Louis C.K., Live at the Beacon Theater

C.K. forever changed how we watch comedy specials by making his 2011 stand-up set available as a $5 online download. Other comics, including Jim Gaffigan and Aziz Ansari, were soon aping the Louis model to great success.

4. Chris Elliott, Action Family and FDR: A One-Man Show

Following his breakthrough stint on Late Night with David Letterman, Chris Elliot filmed a pair of offbeat Cinemax specials. In Action Family, Chris is a private investigator juggling work and family life in a hilarious mash-up of gritty crime dramas and cheesy heartwarming sitcoms.

Meanwhile, the brilliant FDR: A One-Man Show recreates the life of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from the point-of-view of Elliot’s over-the-top actor who knows very little about our 32nd president.

3. Kristen Schaal, Live at the Fillmore

For her 2013 special, comedian and Daily Show regular Kristen Schaal channeled the anti-comedy spirit of Andy Kaufman with awkwardly funny bits that had audiences wondering if they’d just witnessed an onstage meltdown.

2. Andy Kaufman, Carnegie Hall

Kaufman challenged the notion of what a stand-up special could be with this famous multi-media extravaganza that featured a Robin Williams cameo and the possible death of an elderly woman.

1. Zach Galifianakis, Live at the Purple Onion

Before everyone knew him as the guy from The Hangover, Zach Galifianakis delivered absurdist zingers from behind a piano. His 2007 special was appropriately strange, featuring vignettes from the road and interviews with Zach’s “twin brother” Seth.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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