Many comedians retire from stand-up when they become parents, choosing instead to focus on television, film, books or long-term projects free from the daily grind of open-mics and touring schedules. Other comics, however, are totally crazy and stay on the circuit — but that’s probably what makes them so funny in the first place. From a father of 5 to a mother who recorded her first standup special in her third trimester, here are 7 of comedy’s strangest, smartest minds on the utter insanity of having kids.
Louis CK, “My 4-Year-Old Is an Asshole”
The dad joke to end all dad jokes, this legendary routine is Peak Louis CK. The title alone encapsulates his fundamental point of view as a comedian: the things people love are terrible, and so are people. It just works so well.
Bill Burr, “How to Raise a Kid”
This segment probably won’t give you any life-changing advice about parenting, but it does contain several nuggets of Bill Burr’s signature brand of cynical wisdom. “I don’t think it’s that hard,” he says about parenting. “You know what it is? You just play catch with them.” If only it were so simple.
Jim Gaffigan, “Four Kids”
This bit, in which Jim Gaffigan recalls his wife’s home birth, is called “Four Kids” because when he delivered it he had 4 kids. Today he has 5, so you know he’s got some serious parenting cred—although, as he admits in the clip, a lot of fatherhood is just “standing there terrified.” Here’s hoping he figures out the secret sauce around the sixth or seventh kid.
Dave Chappelle, “Macaroni Necklace”
Short, sweet, classic Chappelle: “You used to live in my balls, man. Now you making jewelry out of macaroni?”
Laurie Kilmartin, “Kids After 40”
Laurie Kilmartin may have a lower profile than other comedians on this list, but her latest special—45 Jokes About My Dead Dad, on Seeso – is right up there with the best of them. This routine, from 2012, chronicles the exhausting routine of parenting a young child. “I’m so f—cking tired, and it’s never gonna end,” Kilmartin laments. “Four-year-olds shout every single word they say. They’re like teeny tiny elderly people!”
Patton Oswalt, “Adorable Racist”
All parents have their own ways of massaging away their kids’ misunderstandings, but as this segment from Patton Oswalt’s special Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time proves, extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures. And, hey, maybe lay off the Starbucks?
Ali Wong, “Bad Mommy”
Ali Wong’s 2016 Netflix special Baby Cobra, which she recorded while 7 months pregnant, was one of last year’s finest hours of comedy. But since spare hours are hard to come by, here’s a clip that captures its essential spirit – smart, acidic and uproariously funny – in a screed about the double standards of parenting.