Friday, May 13, 2011

Funniest Comedians Ever

After discussing comedians with some PTU members for the past hour or so, I decided it was time to post an unofficial list of the best comedians of all-time. Here it goes:

1: Eddie Murphy

Eddie thrived in any environment: from stand-up (Raw and Delirious being the best ever), SNL (Buckwheat, Mr. Robinson's neighborhood, dressing up as a white guy, etc), to carrying some very funny movies (Coming to America and Trading Places being the best). Nowadays he wears fat suits in all his movies and provides the voice for some stupid animated donkey, but we can't forget how great he once was, back when he wore purple and red leather bodysuits. My theory is that all that coke in the 80's turned his brain to mush.

2: Steve Martin

White supremacists love this guy. And although I don't share any bonds with neo-nazis, I do agree that he was one of the funniest comedians I've ever seen. Like Eddie Murphy, he was pretty well-rounded - going from funny SNL skits (which now unfortunately seem very out-dated and corny), to comedy albums, to probably the best movies ever made by a comedian (with the Jerk being the pinnacle). He has become more eccentic as he's gotten older, having worked on bluegrass albums and becoming immersed in the art world.

3: Dave Chapelle

Along with Eddie Murphy, he was clearly one of the best stand-up comedians of all-time. What I like about Chapelle is how he contiued on the lineage of young, black comedians (Prior - Murphy - Chris Rock - Chapelle) while introducing social critiques that weren't found as prominently in his predecessor's work. Good example: His stand-up routine about how he was stuck in a limo in the middle of the ghetto and he began to reevaluate his life. In my opinion, his humor clearly had a depth to it that was lacking from a lot of previous black comedy. Also, to his credit, he carried his own sketch show - which is considered one of the funniest of all-time. (How many other comedians had THEIR OWN show, and had it go on to such success?)

4: Rodney Dangerfield

Dangerfield, aka Rapping Rodney, somehow had a long career based on the simple persona he adopted: as a man we could all relate to; a dude who just didn't get enough respect. Although he was really from Manhasset, the richest neighborhood on Long Island, he did a great job of appealing to the everyman, all the while keeping the appearance of a run-down plumber. One of the best stand-ups ever, he had great lines like: "My mother never truly loved me. We would play Hide-And-Go-Fuck-Yourself". After like 80 years in comedy, his jokes never seemed to get old.

5: Chris Rock

The one criticism I have of Chris Rock is that his work is a bit top-heavy. His stand-up routines were very, very funny, but the rest of his work pales in comparison. For example, has he ever starred in a funny movie? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe he has. Also, he created a pretty horrible TV show in an attempt to tone it down and get into syndication (Compare Everybody Hates Chris to The Chapelle Show and then tell me it was a success). Still, he was incredibly funny as a young comedian and so deserves to be high on this list. Currently he is working on Broadway and has grown some weird facial hair.

Honorable Mentions:

Jim Carrey (dropped off really bad), Woody Allen (one of my personal favorites, but not top-5-great as just a comedian), Richard Pryor (ground-breaking but has been surpassed), George Carlin (good for haters but a bit overrated), Andy Kaufman (scores major points for wrestling women).


  1. Rodney DangerfieldMay 13, 2011 at 2:17 PM

    You see who they put in front of me? I tell you, I get no respect.

  2. I think Chris Rock (maybe more explicitly) talks about social issues and relationships. Chappele was subtler but he didn't invent social issues in black comedy. Pryor also talked about race a lot (in a different way too).

  3. I give Steve Martin props for playing a goofy character in his stand up that a lot of people believed was actually him (a lot like Andy Kaufman).

  4. Chappele was smarter about it. I love how he incorporated all these subliminal messages into his humor.

    By the way, has Chris Rock been in any funny movies? As far as I know, his best role was as a crackhead asking to buy "just one rib".

  5. @ Bottle - Pootie Tang, I Think I Love My Wife, CB4, Death At A Funeral (with Martin Lawrence and pretty lame), a really small role in Boomerang, and then a bunch of other crap

    He also had the Chris Rock Show (which I think Louis CK, who is very funny, was involved with).

  6. How the f**k does Andy Kaufman get an honorable mention? I had my own show before the UPN!

  7. I think Rock should rank much higher in a Greatest Stand Up List.

  8. Ummm, hello? Bill Cosby?

  9. Good point on Cosby. As much as I love Dave, I don't think he belongs on this list. Everyone else has had a much longer career. The show had too short a run and his movie career wasn't deep enough to put him in the company he's in on this list.