The Top 5 Funniest Comedians Ever?

It’s an almost impossible task to make a list like this that will please even some people! But as a way to spark of the debate in to the funniest comedians ever – here are my top five! I tired to add a bit of variety in terms of style/genre and generation…

Note viewer discretion advised with some of these video clips!


5. Tina Fey

As Liz Lemon on NBC’s 30 Rock: “You are my heroine! And by heroine I mean lady hero. I don’t want to inject you and listen to jazz.”

Forever putting to rest the debate over whether women can be funny, Tina Fey’s sardonic wit is unmatched and her output as a writer and performer is unparalleled. Beginning her career in Chicago’s fabled improv community and a member of Second City, she rose through the ranks to become head writer at comedy institution Saturday Night Live, creator and star of the groundbreaking sitcom 30 Rock, and the voice behind the best teen flick in years, Mean Girls.

As Liz Lemon on NBC’s 30 Rock: “You are my heroine! And by heroine I mean lady hero. I don’t want to inject you and listen to jazz.”


4. Louis C.K.

I’m buying a Cinnabon… at the airport…I arrived at. You understand why that’s extra disgusting, right?” Chewed Up (2008)

Louis C.K. is perhaps the most important comedian of the moment. Writer, director, editor, and star of his own FX series Louie, C.K. is part of a growing movement of auteur television and is easily the funniest of the bunch.

In addition to his work on television, C.K.’s standup is hard to beat, and he makes it easily accessible to fans working through direct download in an unparalleled business model. His most recent special is set to air on HBO in 2013 where his darkly twisted observations will be in full force.


3. John Cleese

Don’t touch me. I don’t know where you’ve been.”

Monty Python. Fawlty Towers. A Fish Called Wanda. Heck, even Shrek was hilarious.

To enumerate why Cleese belongs on this list is as simple as naming the projects that he has been involved in. A member of the Cambridge Footlights, Cleese’s abilities run the gamut from dry and black to absurd and slapstick.

For many, a few good years are all one can expect from a career. For Cleese, he has done enough to prove himself one of the funniest people in any decade since the sixties.


2. Richard Pryor

I’m not addicted to cocaine. I just like the way it smells.

To say that Richard Pryor broke down barriers would be a bit of an understatement. He could earn his place on this list just for opening the floodgates of countless other black comedians after him-Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock. But more importantly, he earns his place on this list for simply being hilarious.

Confronting sensitive issues like race and drug addiction in abrasive and vulgar ways, Pryor’s persona nonetheless allowed him to ingratiate himself to all kinds of audiences. This served him well as a two time Oscar host, movie star (ever heard of Blazing Saddles?), and late night personality.

His personal life may have been as hectic as they come, but without it we wouldn’t have his sometimes difficult and always passionate comedy as a result.


1. George Carlin

“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity”

Bold, brash, fiercely political. When it comes to stand-up comedy, George Carlin has no equal.

His career consisted of numerous stand-up specials, sold-out stadiums, and countless film and TV appearances, like that time he was the first ever host of Saturday Night Live.

With a mind for satire and a biting tone, Carlin’s stand-up was controversial. His “Seven Dirty Words” bit was the subject of a United States Supreme Court Case that bolstered the power of the Federal Communications Commission. That example withstanding, Carlin’s primary impact was a unique voice that inspired free expression in countless others.



Did we leave someone off the list? It’s inevitable that you think so. Use the comment section to tell us who in the world could possibly be funnier than these five.


About Kale Hills

Kale Hills lives and works in Los Angeles, California. When he is not narrowing down lists of five things, he enjoys performing improv comedy and consuming unhealthy amounts of film and television.
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