Recently I discovered something incredibly interesting for someone who loves stand-up comedy, like me: Set List: Stand-Up Without A Net. I'm sure some of you may be familiar, but it's new to me. If you don't know what it is, allow me to introduce you. I hope this will make you want to check it out.
  1. Set List is a special stand-up show that has been done in the US, the UK, and Australia.
  2. Contrary to other stand-up showcases, this one is completely improvised. The comics all go on stage without a set list of prepared material, which can be a very scary thing.
  3. There is a screen on stage on which the (funny and highly specific) subjects appear about which they then have to improvise a set.
  4. It's so interesting to see how different comedians deal with this. Some can't wait to get on stage and have fun, some are completely terrified, and some are somewhere inbetween.
  5. It's also interesting to see how skilled a lot of them are at this, and how quick they are on their feet, and how some really struggle.
  6. The Nerdist Youtube channel has a playlist of 65 improvised sets by 65 different comdians (some well known, some less well known) that I highly recommend.
    Here's the link: - there is also an official channel with mostly short previews:
  7. I have selected a few good ones to get you started:
  8. T.J. Miller
    He is probably my favorite Set List comic, and also the first one I saw. He is an incredibly skilled improviser, which he shows off here. There are actually two clips of him doing this. One from London (my absolute favorite): - and one from Meltdown in LA:
  9. Robin Williams
    Yes, big names like him also did this show. An improv comedy legend, of course, and gone too soon. He dropped in at Meltdown once and killed it (obviously):
  10. Jen Kirkman
    She loves doing Set List, and it shows why that is. She's an absolute natural, and a must see (as are her prepared stand-up sets):
  11. Aisling Bea
    She's a very funny Irish comic, and a talented improviser. She recently moved to LA to conquer America. This great Set List was done at the Edinbrough Fringe Festival:
  12. Kyle Kinane
    Another great one. He manages to squeeze an impressive amount out of the set list items he is given. It's one of the longest ones (just over 10 minutes), and well worth your time:
  13. Tim Minchin
    Amazing Australian musical comedian. He has a written a lot of very funny and poignant songs about which I will also write a list in the near future. He also improvises a song in his Set List set:
  14. Paul F. Tompkins
    He is one of my favorite stand-ups, and also a talented improviser. He did Set List in the UK, but unfortunately there is only a fairly brief clip of his set available, which is still very much worth checking out:
  15. Maria Bamford
    One of the most unique and talented performers out there. She also did Set List in London, and unfortunately, just like with Paul F. Tompkins, only short (but great) bit is available on Youtube:
  16. Rory Scovel
    A very funny absurdist comic, who takes exactly that to Set List:
  17. Sara Pascoe
    A very funny British comic. I mostly know her from British panel shows. It turns out she's also very good at this:
  18. Jimmy Carr
    A sharp and often dirty British comedian. He manages to slip one or two oneliners from his actual material in here, which is a shame. It is, however, still very much worth checking out: