Top Ten All Time Favorite Comedians
As a stand-up comedian, I’m often asked who is my favorite comedian or who my most inspirational comedians are. This is a topic I have pondered many times, but because comedians don’t have stats like sports players and they all have their own personal style, it is hard to compare them to each other. Comedy is very subjective and what can be hilarious to one person, can go over like a turd in a punch bowl to somebody else. Even though this is in list form, I can honestly say many of these comedians I could easily change in order on any given day if asked, but for now, for today these are my ten favorite comedians of all time.
10. Dana Carvey- I know he only has one really great special, but its just enough for him to crack my all time list. It’s that good.
9. Demetri Martin- Demetri Martin to most people is a love or hate comedian, there are very few people on the fence about his style. People will say he relies to much on his gimmicks, like giant sketch pads or instruments, but I think thats what makes him so good, he stands out for almost every other comedian(I know Zach Galifinkas does it too, but I think Martin does it better). His observations are always dead on and he manages to be intelligent without being too pretentious.
8. Dave Chappelle- Most people only know Chappelle from his all time great comedy show Chappelle’s Show, but before that he was a great stand-up comedian. He was able to take the most normal circumstances and take them down roads you would have never expected. He has a very distinct voice and his facials expressions are top notch. Many people thought he would never come back, but I for one am very excited to see him get back to his roots and can’t wait to see what he has in store next.
7. Mitch Hedburg- Mitch Hedburg to me was the most unique comic I’ve ever seen, his style and delivery were completely his own. His observations managed to be both obvious and bizarre at the same time. He looked physically uncomfortable on stage and rarely made any contact with the audience, but that somehow worked to his advantage. Since his death many comedians have tried to copy this style, but nobody will ever be the next Mitch Hedburg, he was one of a kind.
6. Eddie Murphy- If you were born anytime after 1990, chances are the only Eddie Murphy you know is the Eddie that makes nothing but really terrible un watchable movies, but in a magical time called the ’80s there was no hotter comedian than Eddie Murphy. His stand-up specials are the stuff of legends, unbelievable until you actually watch them. Eddie completely owns the crowd and slaughters with every joke he throws out, he was so good it was impossible to not try to compare every black comedian that came out after him to him, he was so good it was almost a curse to other comedians to try to live up to him. Alas his run as a stand-up comedian was relatively short lived, he was like the Bo Jackson of comedy, endless potential, but his run was so short, people can only wonder what if.
5. Robin Williams- When most people think of Robin Williams, they think of Robin Williams the crazed actor, not Robin Williams the crazed comedian. I’ve met people before that didn’t even know that he did stand-up, which my immediate reply was look it up as soon as you can. The amount of energy he has is unparalleled, its like he has an extra gear that nobody else has, its insane. He’s like a machine gun spitting out joke after joke after joke, but he’s not just going for quantity, every joke hits its mark like a Bruce Lee combo.
4. Richard Pryor- Richard Pryor was the heavyweight champ of comedy for many years, he would knock people out with his brash delivery and don’t give a fuck what you think attitude. Even though he wasn’t the first in your face, foul mouthed comedian many people would say he was the best. To say he paved the way for a new breed of comics would be an insult, he built a yellow brick for them, busting wide open the door that Lenny Bruce left cracked. He was the Jackie Robinson of comedy, not only a pioneer, but an all time great.
3. George Carlin- I didn’t have the luxury of living in the time when George Carlin was a young comedian, so the only George I knew at first was the cranky old hippy who loved pointing out the many hypocrites in the world. As I got older I was able to watch older footage of Carlin and to say he was an icon is the understatement of the century. Nobody in the business stayed on top as long as he did. His material was just as relevant in his young days as it was in his older days, which is a very rare feat to accomplish in the world of comedy, many comedians make the mistake of holding on to old material as long as they can and milking every last drop out of it, but Carlin was still cranking out new jokes till the day he died. If he believed in God, I would say may he rest in comedy heaven.
2. Louis C.K- Many people would argue that Louis C.K is the hottest comedian in the business today(many others would say Kevin Hart) and picking him this high on an all time list is just an example of being too in the moment, but in my mind Louis C.K is that good. Nobody is able to make fun of themselves and the world at large better than he is, to me he has to be the most self aware person in the world. He is able to make people appreciate what they have in world without them turning against him, calling out how ridiculous and demanding the modern world is. He can make brutal jokes about his own family and still manage to be likable. Anybody who can openly ridicule the world so much and yet still have it love him definitely deserves to be this high on the list.
1. Chris Rock- I know that today many people would say Chris Rock isn’t funny anymore or that he is overplayed, but this isn’t a list of currently funniest comedians, this is of all time and nobody has made me laugh more or harder over my life than Chris Rock. I can remember as a kid in middle school(yes, I was in middle school way back then) watching his HBO special Bring the Pain in my room, laughing my ass off, even though I didn’t have the life experience to relate to many of his jokes at the time. His timing was perfect, his delivery was perfect. He knew just when to make the extra facial expression or how long to hold for the laughs. He literally opened up the comedy door for me, from there I was hooked and watching every stand up show I could get my hands on, just to recreate the feeling I had when I watched his special for the first time, but no matter how good the comedians were, I never laughed from start to finish as much as I did that night and to me that makes him the greatest of all time.
Posted on March 20, 2014, in Comedy, Movies/Television and tagged chris rock, comedy, dana carvey, eddie murphy.demetri martin, george carlin, louis c.k, mitch hedburg, stand-up comedy. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.