Inherently Funny

by danhollow | created - 17 Apr 2012 | updated - 09 Jul 2012 | Public

Some people are just masters of comedy. Their material is sharp and refined and has enough work and effort put into it that when you finally get to experience the fruits of their labors, you can't help but laugh until it hurts. This list is NOT about those people. This list is about people who I just find to be inherently funny. No script, no character, no problem. These are just people that I feel have an instinctive talent for laughing and making other people laugh. It isn't about material as much as just the feeling that if you went out for a drink with these people, you'd laugh the night away with them.

1. J.K. Simmons

Actor | Whiplash

J.K. Simmons is an American actor.

He was born Jonathan Kimble Simmons in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, to Patricia (Kimble), an administrator, and Donald William Simmons, a music teacher. He attended the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; University of Montana, Missoula, MT (BA in Music).

He had ...

I've praised Simmons before, but really, he could always use some more. This guy just feels like that neighbor or relative who finds everything to be potentially humorous. He can create funny seemingly without effort or forethought. At the same time, when he IS working off prepared material, he shines just as brightly.

This man is a gem.

2. Ricky Gervais

Writer | The Office

Ricky Dene Gervais was born in a suburb of Reading, Berkshire, to Eva Sophia (House) and Lawrence Raymond Gervais, who was a hod carrier and labourer. His father was born in Ontario, Canada, of French-Canadian descent, and his mother was English. He was educated at Ashmead Comprehensive School and ...

Does he have a lot of prepared material? Yes. Does he ignore most lines in the sand? Yes. Does his ego have any limit? No. But one thing you have to give Ricky Gervais is this, he laughs a lot. Everywhere this man goes, he seems to be laughing at some joke he just thought of. And just by looking at him, you get the feeling that he's deciding whether or not he'll actually share the joke with anyone. "Should I? It is pretty funny...*beep* it, I've already given these people more than they deserve. I'll save that one for Warwick." I've always felt that the funniest people are the ones who laugh the most. I just believe there should be a connection between laughing and being funny.

3. Maya Rudolph

Actress | Bridesmaids

Maya Rudolph was born in Gainesville, Florida, on July 27th, 1972, to Dick Rudolph, a music producer, and soul singer Minnie Riperton. Her mother was African-American and her father is Ashkenazi Jewish (from a family from Lithuania, Russia, Germany, and Hungary). In 1973, Maya, her parents, and her...

I haven't seen enough of her work to really judge how funny she is. But for the few instances I see her, she just strikes me as someone who deals with a lot of humor. It's not that she's funny looking or just has one of those big, laughing smiles; she just seems like a person who inherently loves to laugh. Who loves to hear funny jokes and tell them to other people. She doesn't go for big laughs as much as a bunch of little laughs.

4. Chris Farley

Actor | Tommy Boy

Christopher Crosby Farley was born on February 15, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin, to Mary Anne (Crosby) and Thomas Farley, who owned an oil company. Among his siblings are actors Kevin P. Farley and John Farley. He was of Irish heritage. Farley studied theatre and communications on Marquette ...

Rest In Peace. Yes, he was a druggie. Yes, it ultimately killed him. Yes, a lot of his humor was "laugh at the big dumb fat guy". But damnit if the man didn't love to make people laugh. Every chance he got, he went for the laugh. If that meant bashing his head on something or suddenly roaring in frustration at any little thing; so be it. This guy gave everything for the sake of our laughter. Maybe he wasn't inherently funny. Maybe he was dependent on the drugs. But he gave everything in order to be inherently funny to people. He deserves recognition for such sacrifice.

5. Aubrey Plaza

Actress | Safety Not Guaranteed

Aubrey Christina Plaza (born June 26, 1984) is an American actress and comedian known for her deadpan style. She portrayed April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation (2009), and after appearing in supporting roles in several films, had her first leading role in the 2012 comedy Safety Not Guaranteed (...

Opposite end of the spectrum from Ricky Gervais or Chris Farley. This girl seems to have no idea that she's funny. At the same time, she is a deadpan prodigy who can make anyone laugh if she interacts with them long enough. Such is the power of her deadpan awkwardness. Such gifts are not crafted, you must be born with them. Bow before the power of inherent monotone awkwardness!

6. Amy Poehler

Actress | Inside Out

Amy Meredith Poehler was born in Newton, Massachusetts, to high school teachers Eileen Frances (Milmore) and William Grinstead Poehler. Her brother is comedian Greg Poehler. She is of Irish (from her mother) and English, Irish, German, and Portuguese (from her father) descent. Amy was first ...

She definitely laughs a lot, and she always has a massive smile on her face. This is clearly a woman who has heard a lot of jokes in her life. Is she funny herself? That is a matter of opinion. But one look at her tells you she is in comedy. Even if you don't know anything about her, you know she's a comedy actress from the moment you see her.

7. Neil Patrick Harris

Actor | How I Met Your Mother

Neil Patrick Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on June 15, 1973. His parents, Sheila Gail (Scott) and Ronald Gene Harris, were lawyers and ran a restaurant. He grew up in Ruidoso, New Mexico, a small town 120 miles south of Albuquerque, where he first took up acting in the fourth grade. ...

God, I put this guy on every list, don't I? But what can I say about the man who cannot be imitated or replicated? It barely qualifies as humor; it's funny on paper, sure, but nothing the writers put down is as funny as Neil's interpretation of the material. Part of it is his confidence and fearlessness, part of it is his natural comfort on-camera, but most of it is just Neil Patrick Harris being Neil Patrick Harris. The man is awesome.

8. Chris Rock

Actor | Top Five

Christopher Julius Rock was born in Andrews, South Carolina and raised in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York. He is the son of Rosalie (Tingman), a teacher and social worker for the mentally handicapped, and Julius Rock, a truck driver and newspaper deliveryman, whose own father was a preacher.


His voice is just funny. Look at his material, now say it, now hear someone else say it, now hear him say it. His version is always the funniest. He just seems to have inherent timing, he knows instinctually when to emphasize, when to hold a word or blast it at us for maximum effect. The man has made language his bitch, and there ain't a damn thing you can do about it. Laugh; he hasn't left you with any other options.

9. Bill Bailey

Actor | Hot Fuzz

Bill Bailey is known for his sharp wit and classic sense of humor. he is most famous for being in Never Mind The Buzzcocks, celebrity game-show in which he is a team captain. Bill is a stand up comedian, and has also starred in cult comedies such as Spaced and of course Black Books. He was given ...

Look at this guy; is there any doubt he's a comedy person?