Netflix recently started adding Mexican comedians to its lineup. Watching stand-up comedy is a great way to learn Mexican Spanish since it’s full of colloquial expressions and pop culture references.
If you are an intermediate or advanced learner, I recommend watching these Mexican stand-up comedians with Spanish subtitles as studies have shown it enhances language learning. I also note down any interesting new vocabulary and add it to my Anki flashcards later.
Warning: Mexican humor frequently relies on ethnic stereotypes and is often extremely politically incorrect. I have omitted the worst offenders from this list, but still be prepared for some cringeworthy moments. However, if you can get past the occasional tasteless joke, you’ll be rewarded with cultural insights as well as cool slang to impress your Mexican friends.
All these specials are Netflix originals and available in the US as well as most — but sadly not all — other countries. To check if a show is available in your country, just click the title.
If you watch one Mexican comedy special on Netflix, make it this one. A pioneer of Mexico’s stand-up scene, Sofía Niño de Rivera’s brand of self-deprecating humor is darkly hilarious. A good opportunity to pick up common groserías and gain insights about Mexican culture like the mutual disdain between chilangos (Mexico City residents) and the rest of the country.
In this highly entertaining follow-up to her 2016 hit, Niño de Rivera brings her trademark black humor to the stage of Mexico City’s iconic Auditorio Nacional. Her snarky wit will make you laugh out loud, and you’ll score many colorful new expressions to liven up your vocabulary lists. Note: Watch the specials in order as many jokes in this one reference her first show.
I found popular standupero Carlos Ballarta’s second show much funnier than his first (listed below). In this special, the chilango comic mocks himself, pointing out the absurdities of parenthood and how he uses his wife’s pregnancies to avoid commitments.
Language note: ñero, originally derived from the word compañero, is Mexico City slang for an uneducated urban youngster. So Furia Ñera translates as something like working-class or barrio rage.
Standupero Mau Nieto dishes on his humble origins, his attempts at sobriety, and about being one poop away from losing the love of his life. Lots of chilanguismos (Mexico City slang). Recommended with chilango pride by my awesome Spanish teacher in Mexico City.
Humor is so culture-specific. Unfortunately, Mexican comedy on Netflix often gets terrible reviews from non-Spanish speakers (OK, some of it really is terrible). Daniel Sosa’s jokes require a good grasp of Mexican culture and slang, so his act offers lots of learning opportunities. An added bonus is the spectacular backdrop provided by the Polyforum Siqueiros in Mexico City, featuring the world’s largest mural by famed painter David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Sunglasses-clad Carlos Ballarta’s cynical and humorous take on the tragic realities of daily life in the Mexican capital.
Diva of Mexican stand-up Manu NNa riffs on the struggles of being gay in a machista society and shares his affinity for telenovelas and marijuana. Lots of colorful slang and pop culture references. Funny, brash, and sexy, with a few cringe-inducing moments of crass stereotypes (see warning above on Mexican humor).
In this high-energy performance, Alex Fernández riffs on reggaetón lyrics, the show Sabadazo, and the origin of suppositories. Lots of funny musical impressions. Clean material refreshingly free of racist stereotypes.
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Have feedback on these shows or more Netflix recommendations? Please share your suggestions in the comments.