50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time

by mcm1071989 | created - 06 Mar 2017 | updated - 06 Mar 2017 | Public

Rolling Stone (2/14/17)

1. Richard Pryor

Actor | Superman III

Highly influential, and always controversial, African-American actor/comedian who was equally well known for his colorful language during his live comedy shows, as for his fast paced life, multiple marriages and battles with drug addiction. He has been acknowledged by many modern comic artist's as ...

2. George Carlin

Actor | Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure

George Denis Patrick Carlin was born and raised in Manhattan, New York City, to Mary (Bearey), a secretary, and Patrick John Carlin, an advertising manager for The Sun; they had met while working in marketing. His father was from Donegal, Ireland, and his mother was Irish-American. His parents ...

3. Lenny Bruce

Writer | Dance Hall Racket

Lenny Bruce was born Leonard Alfred Schneider on October 13, 1925, in Mineola, Long Island, New York. His British-born father, Myron, was a shoe clerk, his mother, Sadie, was a dancer. Lenny's parents were divorced when he was a child. To support herself and her son, Sadie Schneider persued a ...

4. Louis C.K.

Writer | Louie

Louis C.K. was born on September 12, 1967 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Louis Szekely. He is a writer and producer, known for Louie (2010), American Hustle (2013) and Horace and Pete (2016). He was previously married to Alix Bailey.

5. 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.

...

6. Joan Rivers

Actress | Spaceballs

Joan Rivers was born on June 8, 1933 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA as Joan Alexandra Molinsky. She was a writer and actress, known for Spaceballs (1987), Iron Man 3 (2013) and Rabbit Test (1978). She was married to Edgar Rosenberg and James Bennat Sanger. She died on September 4, 2014 ...

7. Jerry Seinfeld

Writer | Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Betty (Hesney) and Kalman Seinfeld. His father was of Hungarian Jewish descent, while Jerry's maternal grandparents, Salha and Selim Hosni, were Syrian Jewish immigrants (from Aleppo). He moved with his family, including sister Carolyn, to ...

8. Bill Cosby

Actor | The Cosby Show

Bill Cosby is one of the world's most well-known entertainers and comedians. William Henry Cosby, Jr. was born on July 12, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Anna Pearl (Hite), a maid, and William Henry Cosby, Sr., a U.S. Navy sailor. After tenth grade, Cosby joined the Navy and completed high...

9. Dave Chappelle

Writer | Chappelle's Show

Dave Chappelle's career started while he was in high school at Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC where he studied theatre arts. At the age of 14, he began performing stand-up comedy in nightclubs. Shortly after graduation, he moved to New York City where he quickly established ...

10. Mort Sahl

Actor | Johnny Cool

Crowned as leading the new breed of modern comedians by Time magazine in 1960, Mort Sahl is the first entertainer ever to appear on its cover. Before comedy clubs existed, Sahl began performing at the hungry i music club in San Francisco in the early 1950s. He differed from other comedians, ...

11. Steve Martin

Writer | Roxanne

Steve Martin was born on August 14, 1945 in Waco, Texas, USA as Stephen Glenn Martin to Mary Lee (née Stewart; 1913-2002) and Glenn Vernon Martin (1914-1997), a real estate salesman and aspiring actor. He was raised in Inglewood and Garden Grove in California. In 1960, he got a job at the Magic ...

12. Robin Williams

Actor | Mrs. Doubtfire

Robin McLaurin Williams was born on Saturday, July 21st, 1951, in Chicago, Illinois, a great-great-grandson of Mississippi Governor and Senator, Anselm J. McLaurin. His mother, Laurie McLaurin (née Janin), was a former model from Mississippi, and his father, Robert Fitzgerald Williams, was a Ford ...

13. Bill Hicks

Actor | Ninja Bachelor Party

Born in Georgia but raised in Houston since the age of 7, this self-described "Prince of Darkness" was compelled to use the comedy stage as his philosophic soapbox. At 13, he would sneak out of his suburban house to hustle his way onto open-mike night rosters. In two brief decades, Hicks worked his...

14. Andy Kaufman

Actor | Taxi

Referred to by some as a dadaistic comedian, Andy Kaufman took comedy and performance art to the edges of irrationality and blurred the dividing line between reality and imagination. Born in New York City on January 17, 1949, the first son of Stanley and Janice Kaufman, Andy grew up on New York in ...

15. Steven Wright

Actor | Natural Born Killers

Steven Wright was born on December 6, 1955 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA as Steven Alexander Wright. He is an actor and producer, known for Natural Born Killers (1994), Reservoir Dogs (1992) and So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993).

16. Billy Connolly

Actor | The Boondock Saints

Billy Connolly was born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland. He left school to work in the shipyards becoming a welder and joined the Territorial Army (in the parachute regiment) at around the same time. He developed an interest in folk music, eventually becoming an accomplished banjo player and a ...

17. Bill Burr

Actor | Date Night

Bill Burr is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor, and podcaster. He is best known for playing Patrick Kuby in the crime drama series Breaking Bad, and creating and starring in the Netflix animated sitcom F Is for Family.

In 2008, Burr's voice was featured in the game Grand Theft Auto IV as ...

18. Kevin Hart

Actor | Ride Along

Kevin Hart was born on July 6, 1979 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Kevin Darnell Hart. He is a producer and actor, known for Ride Along (2014), Central Intelligence (2016) and Grudge Match (2013). He has been married to Eniko Parrish since August 13, 2016. They have one child. He was ...

19. Albert Brooks

Actor | Drive

Albert Brooks was born on July 22, 1947 in Beverly Hills, California, USA as Albert Lawrence Einstein. He is an actor and writer, known for Drive (2011), Defending Your Life (1991) and Broadcast News (1987). He has been married to Kimberly Shlain since March 15, 1997. They have two children.

20. Mitch Hedberg

Actor | Almost Famous

Mitch Hedberg was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on February 24, 1968. He began his stand-up career in Florida, and after a period of honing his skills there he moved to Seattle and began touring. He soon appeared on MTV's "Comikaze", then a 1996 appearance on Late Night with David Letterman (1982) ...

21. Bob Newhart

Actor | Newhart

Bob Newhart was born on September 5, 1929 in Oak Park, Illinois, USA as George Robert Newhart. He is an actor and writer, known for Newhart (1982), The Rescuers (1977) and Elf (2003). He has been married to Ginny Newhart since January 12, 1963. They have four children.

22. Jonathan Winters

Actor | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Jonathan Harshman Winters III was born on November 11, 1925 in Dayton, Ohio. His father, Jonathan Harshman Winters II, was a banker who became an alcoholic after being crushed in the Great Depression. His parents divorced in 1932. Jonathan and his mother then moved to Springfield to live with his ...

23. Don Rickles

Actor | Kelly's Heroes

Don Rickles was born May 8, 1926 in New York. After the Golden Era of Hollywood ended, Don Rickles was, until early 2017, one man still living to tell his tales. One of the most respected talents in entertainment, Rickles got his start in the night clubs, toiling for over 20 years, until 1958, when...

24. Eddie Izzard

Actor | Ocean's Thirteen

Best-known for his surreal and digressive stand-up, British comedian and actor Eddie Izzard was born on February 7, 1962, in Aden, Yemen, where his English parents -- Dorothy Ella, a nurse and midwife, and Harold John Izzard, an accountant -- worked for British Petroleum.

Izzard worked as a street ...

25. Eddie Murphy

Actor | The Nutty Professor

Edward Regan Murphy was born April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, New York, to Lillian (Laney), a telephone operator, and Charles Edward Murphy, a transit police officer who was also an amateur comedian and actor. After his father died, his mother married Vernon Lynch, a foreman at a Breyer's Ice Cream plant...

26. Rodney Dangerfield

Actor | Back to School

Rodney Dangerfield was born Jacob Cohen on November 22, 1921 in Deer Park, Suffolk County, Long Island, New York. He was the son of Dorothy "Dotty" (Teitelbaum) and Phillip Cohen, who performed in vaudeville under the name Phil Roy. His father was born in New York, to Russian Jewish parents, and ...

27. Redd Foxx

Actor | Sanford and Son

Redd Foxx began doing stand-up comedy on the infamous "Chitlin' Circuit" in the 1940s and 1950s. Foxx was one of the premier "blue humor" comedians. Blue humor was very dirty, too dirty for white audiences. For years his party albums were not available in white record stores. In the 1960s his ...

28. Robert Klein

Actor | Two Weeks Notice

Robert Klein was born on February 8, 1942 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor, known for Two Weeks Notice (2002), One Fine Day (1996) and The Back-up Plan (2010). He was previously married to Brenda Boozer.

29. Dick Gregory

Actor | The Hot Chick

Dick Gregory was born on October 12, 1932 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Richard Claxton Gregory. He was an actor and writer, known for The Hot Chick (2002), ABC Stage 67 (1966) and Reno 911! (2003). He was married to Lillian Gregory. He died on August 19, 2017 in Washington, District of Columbia, ...

30. Woody Allen

Writer | Manhattan

Woody Allen was born Allan Stewart Konigsberg on December 1, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York, to Nettie (Cherrie), a bookkeeper, and Martin Konigsberg, a waiter and jewellery engraver. His father was of Russian Jewish descent, and his maternal grandparents were Austrian Jewish immigrants. As a young boy...

31. Sarah Silverman

Actress | Wreck-It Ralph

Two-time Emmy Award winner Sarah Silverman is one of the most versatile talents in entertainment, with credits including that of actress, creator, writer, executive producer, comedian, and author. Silverman will next be seen in both The Book of Henry and The Lonely Island's Popstar: Never Stop ...

32. Patrice O'Neal

Actor | 25th Hour

O'Neal was born in New York in 1969, but moved to Boston when he was just 1 year old. He was educated at West Roxbury High School and went on to attend Northeastern University, both in Boston. After this, various jobs followed including a sausage cart vendor at a train station, flower seller and ...

33. Janeane Garofalo

Actress | Ratatouille

Janeane, the petite woman with the acerbic wit, was born in Newton, New Jersey, in 1964, to Joan, a secretary, and Carmine Garofalo, an Exxon executive. She is of Italian and Irish descent. Janeane had many jobs before breaking into show biz. She worked as a bike messenger, a shoe salesperson, ...

34. Patton Oswalt

Actor | Young Adult

Patton Oswalt has been headlining at comedy clubs all over the United States since 1996, as well as appearing in his own standup specials on Comedy Central and HBO. He was chosen as Entertainment Weekly's "It" comedian in 2002. He is a regular on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (1993). His other ...

35. Tig Notaro

Actress | One Mississippi

Tig Notaro was born on March 24, 1971 in Jackson, Mississippi, USA as Mathilde Notaro. She is an actress and writer, known for One Mississippi (2015), Walk of Shame (2014) and In a World... (2013). She has been married to Stephanie Allynne since October 24, 2015. They have two children.

36. Daniel Kitson

Actor | Phoenix Nights

Daniel Kitson was born on June 19, 1978 in Yorkshire, England. He is an actor, known for Phoenix Nights (2001), Dog Eat Dog (2001) and That Peter Kay Thing (2000).

37. Sam Kinison

Actor | Back to School

Sam Kinison was born on December 8, 1953 in Yakima, Washington, USA as Samuel Burl Kinison. He was an actor and writer, known for Back to School (1986), Married with Children (1986) and Savage Dawn (1985). He was married to Malika Kinison, Terry Marze and Patricia Adkins. He died on April 10, 1992 ...

38. Roseanne Barr

Producer | Roseanne

Firebrand Roseanne Barr has long been one of America's funniest and most controversial comedians.

She was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, to Helen (Davis), a cashier and bookkeeper, and Jerome Hershel "Jerry" Barr, a salesman. Her family was Jewish, and had moved to the U.S. from Russia, Lithuania, ...

39. Moms Mabley

Actress | Boarding House Blues

One the most successful entertainers of the Black vaudeville stage, also known as the Chitlin Circuit, was Jackie "Moms" Mabley, born Loretta Mary Aiken in 1894. At the apex of her long career, she was earning $10,000 a week at Harlem's Apollo Theatre. Mabley focused on conventional topics such as ...

40. Garry Shandling

Writer | The Larry Sanders Show

Garry Shandling was born on November 29, 1949 in Chicago, Illinois, USA as Garry Emmanuel Shandling. He was a writer and actor, known for The Larry Sanders Show (1992), It's Garry Shandling's Show. (1986) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). He died on March 24, 2016 in Los Angeles, ...

41. Bernie Mac

Actor | The Bernie Mac Show

Bernard Jeffrey McCollough was born in 1957 in Chicago, the son of Mary McCullough and Jeffery Harrison. He grew up in the city, in a rougher neighborhood than most others, with a large family living under one roof. This situation provided him with a great insight into his comedy, as his family, ...

42. Phyllis Diller

Actress | A Bug's Life

The indefatigable nonagenarian finally put out an autobiography in 2005 and entitled it "Like a Lampshade in a Whorehouse", which pretty much says it all when recalling the misfit life and career of the fabulous, one-of-a-kind Phyllis Diller. It may inspire all those bored, discouraged and/or ...

43. Amy Schumer

Writer | Trainwreck

Amy Schumer was born on June 1, 1981 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA as Amy Beth Schumer. She is a writer and actress, known for Trainwreck (2015), Inside Amy Schumer (2013) and I Feel Pretty (2018). She has been married to Chris Fischer since February 13, 2018.

44. Russell Peters

Actor | Source Code

Russell Peters was born on September 29, 1970 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as Russell Dominic Peters. He is an actor and producer, known for Source Code (2011), New Year's Eve (2011) and Chef (2014).

45. Freddie Prinze

Actor | Chico and the Man

Freddie Prinze was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel in New York City, New York, to a Puerto Rican mother, Aurea Elena Ruiz, and a German immigrant father, Edward Karl Pruetzel. Freddie grew up in the Washington Heights section of New York City. As a chubby child, he was often bullied, but was quite ...

46. Reggie Watts

Soundtrack | Prime

Reggie Watts was born as Reginald Lucien Frank Roger Watts. He is known for his work on Prime (2005), Creative Control (2015) and Pitch Perfect 2 (2015).

47. Elayne Boosler

Actress | Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme

Elayne Boosler was born on August 18, 1952 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. She is an actress and writer, known for Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme (1990), CBS Summer Playhouse (1987) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015). She has been married to Bill Siddons since March 7, 2007.

48. Margaret Cho

Producer | Margaret Cho: PsyCHO

Margaret Cho was born Dec. 5, 1968 and raised in San Francisco. Her grandfather was a Methodist minister who ran an orphanage in Seoul during the Korean War. Ignoring the traditions of her patriarchal culture, her mother bravely resisted an arranged marriage in Korea and married Margaret's father ...

49. Aziz Ansari

Actor | Parks and Recreation

Aziz Ansari was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Fatima, a medical office worker, and Shoukath, a gastroenterologist. His family is from Tamil Nadu, India. He graduated from NYU as a business major in 2004. He graduated from the South Carolina Governor's School for Math and Science in ...

50. Wanda Sykes

Actress | Monster-in-Law

Wanda Sykes has been called one of the funniest stand-up comics by her peers and ranks among Entertainment Weekly's 25 Funniest People in America. Her smart-witted stand-up has sent her career in many different areas.

She was recently seen in Comedy Central's Wanda Does It (2004), where she tried ...



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