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Top 10 Comedians

Updated on July 4, 2011

I'm a huge fan of going to see comedians live, watching the santd-up specials on television, and listening to stand-up comedy on Pandora radio on my phone while at work so I've listened to a lot of different comedians over time and noticed that nowhere on HubPages is a list of anyone's top comedians by rank. I have my own personal favorites which you may or may not disagree with. But guess what! If you disagree, leave your top 10 in the comments section or tell me why you think I'm right.


10. Mitch Hedberg

Hedberg was a very soft-spoken comedian who very much so imitated the style of Steven Wright or a Jerry Seinfeld before him. The primary difference between those comedians and Mitch was the fact that Mitch would slow things down so much, but stress emotion at certain points of the joke that would just trigger something inside the audience. You can relate to nearly every joke that he's talking about often wondering to yourself how he knows what you and your friends were talking about last week happening to you. He takes those funny experiences that you've had and adds sarcasm and crazy, out-of-the-box thinking to the mix.

Beyond the stage, Mitch Hedberg also appeared in the movies "Almost Famous" and "Lords of Dogtown."


9. Nick Swardson

Nick Swardson's branch of comedy stems from drunken nights of partying with friends and playing video games mainly. He's a younger comedian that has amazingly crazy stories about things that have happened to himself or friends including being drunk and showing people his penis wristwatch and asking other people in public if they can read it. Some might consider him crude or inappropriate, but that's exactly what makes him funny. His stories also tend to involved his family life and there are some amazing jokes about Nick and his grandmother.

A lot of Nick Swardson's time is spent outside of just doing comedy tours. He often writes and acts on movies with friend, Adam Sandler, and has even gotten his own show on Comedy Central called "Nick Swardson's Pretend Time." Some of the movies you may have seen him in are "Grandma's Boy," "Just Go With It," and "Blades of Glory."


8. Katt Williams

Katt is one of the wildest and most active comedians that you can see on a stage. Oftentimes he's running around doing imitations, dancing, or jumping at his stool. He's full of energy and will laugh along with the joke which seems to bring him closer to the audience than most comedians get who tend to stay at a distance and tell jokes. Katt William's makes you feel exactly what he's talking about and it allows you to understand the situations he's talking about from his point of view. His comedy tends to focus on differences between the races, what's going on in the news, and crazy things that happen to him. One of his better stories is when he first got his motorcycle and trying to look like a badass riding it and then he suddenly hits a wet spot in the road and the bike turns over on his small frame. One problem, the bike is still revving and is spinning him around like a rotisserie chicken.

Katt has acted in multiple movies including "Norbit" and "Friday After Next."


7. Dane Cook

Dane Cook has become one of the most popular comedians amongst the younger generation and currently has over four million "Like"s on Facebook. He is a lot like Katt Williams in the way that he is very energetic and has performed on multiple tours where his stage was in the middle of the crowd and he seems to feed off of the applause and steps up the jokes and the hilarity to match the challenge of pleasing everyone around him at the same time. He uses a similar style to Nick Swardson with the particular subject matter of his comedy: women, drinking, and hilarious life stories. But Dane Cook differs from most comedians because he goes completely over the top and will invent all kinds of imaginary things in order to enhance his jokes like asking the audience if they ever wished they could spit poison like a snake. He seems to have no limits and still has quite a long and successful career in front of him.

Outside of his specials, you may have seen Dane Cook in "Waiting," "Mr. Brooks," and "My Best Friend's Girl."


6. Robin Williams

Robin Williams is in a world or his own when it comes to comedy because he has been doing it for so long and nobody else can discuss public events in a more comedic manner than he can. He's been a comedian since the early 1970s and got his early start on the television show "Mork and Mindy." Robin, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal were the leading activists in a comedy for charity ause called Comic Relief. He uses a lot of emotion in his jokes as well as body language. He is still very enjoyable to listen on CD or Pandora, but I personally prefer to watch his straight on the television or from a DVD. He is one of the better comedians who has branched off and become more famous for his acting than his stand up, but that shouldn't take away from his work on the microphone.

Some of the movies that Robin Williams has been in are "RV," "Mrs. Doubtfire," and "Dead Poets Society."


5. Denis Leary

Denis Leary is the biggest proponent of cigarette smoking, being an asshole, and hating the average person who acts simply like a douchebag. His comedy is bred around his Boston-born attitude that will cuss, be crude, and assault anyone verbally who would do something as stupid as wear a fanny pack around now-a-days. I love his style and delivery of being completely over the top and if the crowd doesn't respond back to him, you get the feeling that he'd turn on them in a heartbeat. Lucky enough for them, I've never heard a silent crowd at a Denis Leary performance. He has branched out now into his television show on FX called "Rescue Me" and has gained many fans that way, but he has his roots in stand up comedy and will still take the stage often in support of charity and allowing younger stars like the previously mentioned Dane Cook a spot on his stage as an opener.

Outside of his television show, he's only notorious for being a part of many terrible movies like "The Ref" and "Operation Dumbo Drop."


4. Louis C.K.

Louis C.K. was a writer for many years on shows like the Chris Rock Show, Saturday Night Live, and The Conan O' Brien Show. At the same time, Louis was performing on stages across the country with his simply speaking style. He doesn't go over the top with a lot of energy and he isn't a mumbler like Mitch Hedberg or Steven Wright, but he definitely gets his points across through his stories and his ability to make things as dirty as possbile and when you think he won't step it up any more...he takes it just a little bit further. One comedy special reveal how he hates deer. He then explains that he's willing to blow 10 bloody guys in an alley to get AIDS just to have sex with the deer and have it die of AIDS. That's about as tame as Louis C.K. gets. Beyond the craziness and profanity, there are some amazing jokes about real life experience that Louis has on the street and these great stories have done well on stage and in his own television shows which he's had: "Lucky Louie" on HBO and "Louie" on FX.

Some of the movies he's been in include "Invention of Lying" and "Role Models."


3. Richard Pryor

Some people could be surprised that I'd put him this low on the list, but I don't want it to seem like I don't respect Richard Pryor, but I've simply seen others who have done comedy better in my eyes. Richard's long joke about accidentally setting himself on fire while trying to smoke crack is the single funniest joke I've ever heard in my life. I could listen to it over and over him talking about a drunk guy asking him if he can get a light while he's on fire. He was a comic genious who could inspire a laugh out of anybody and the extension of his comedy that he took to the silver screen was also amazing the multiple times that he joined forces with Gene Wilder.

Richard could work a crowd as good as anyone else could ever hope to. It was his craft and you could tell that Pryor devoted the majority of his life to comedy. He was an idol to many comedians now-a-days and is credited in many interviews as being people's greatest influence to get into the comedy business.


2. Chris Rock

Rock is probably the comic that I have most idolized since seeing him perform a stand up routine. If I were to ever experiment and go to an open mic night, I would try to be myself and just rip off the jokes with enthusiasm, movement, and wit above all else which is exactly what Chris Rock does. He tells it exactly like how it is and no matter how much you could even try to deny it, what he's saying is the truth. Comedians who primarily use racial jokes aren't typically my favorite as you can tell by this list, but Chris has stories that he has lived out like growing up the only black child in an all-white school and examples of characters like the old black man who hates whitey behind his back, but will play checkers with him kindly to his face are all relatable to the audience.

He'll analyze things that are happening in politics and the news and expand on them to not only give a "black perspective" like some might imagine, but to explain how everyone is affected equally and if you don't like it -- here's who you blame. George W. Bush and Barack Obama have been prevalent in his jokes (like most others.) His charisma overwhelms crowds wherever he goes and has taken him from Africa, Europe, and back to North America. His characters from "Saturday Night Live" and his own show, "The Chris Rock Show," have solidified him as a top comedian. He has now branched off into other projects like movies and even theatre. He's been starring in a play recently called "Motherf*cker with the Hat."


1. George Carlin

George Carlin was the greatest comedian I've ever seen. Hands down. He could come on stage and already own it before he had ever even told a joke yet. In the middle of jokes or at the beginning of shows, he'd throw out an icebreaker to get the crowd laughing. Whenever I saw him he opened the show by saying, "You know what people don't really talk about anymore? Pu*sy farts!" But Carlin wasn't just a crude comedian. He had lasting ability because of his intelligence and his way of making people think during his jokes and description of what he thought of the world. He would preach the word of George Carlin and you couldn't help but to listen to thoughts on death, the Presidents, people, and how people behave.

George Carlin became so much more than a comedian by appearing in tons of movies and stealing the show as even a minor character. That was his personality and that's exactly what he brought to the stage night after night. It was as if time stood still while you sat there and listened to him and begin to cry laughing he was so funny. He was a comic legend and I'll remember him forever.

Honorable Mentions:

Jeff Foxworthy, Lisa Lampanelli, Daniel Tosh, Adam Sandler, Rodney Dangerfield, Bernie Mac, D.L. Hughley, Bill Maher, and Larry the Cable Guy.


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    • Brenda LeGeral profile image

      Brenda LeGeral Gafford 3 years ago from New York

      You really picked some good comedians, one of my favorites is Katt Williams. Very well written, again, I truly enjoyed the read!!

    • ARandomHubber1 profile image

      ARandomHubber1 4 years ago

      These are all great comedians, my favorite is George Carlin as well, he is by far the funniest I have ever seen. I wish I could have seen him in person, however I have only seen him in YouTube videos, but still great. All together really great list.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      TSAD 5 years ago from https:// online/ hubpages. html

      Here is one of my top ten.. I especially like the part about German Shepherds - if you ever had one you can relate The second half of this video is really good.

    • samtenabray profile image

      samtenabray 6 years ago from uk

      Some very funny blokes on that list, extremely hard to pick a top 10 but almost agree with you on yours. Great hub!

    • profile image

      nomadicasian 6 years ago

      My favorite is no other than Robin Williams because his kind of comedy is simply the best to understand.

    • Rob Lattin profile image

      Rob Lattin 6 years ago from Born in Chicago, now I'm in Mostly Michigan

      Nice list but I do disagree with your choice of including Robin Williams. His humor has degraded so low that I think he found most of his jokes written in men's rooms at the ballpark. Richard Pryor was genuine. Steve Martin used to be funny. I feel people like Chris Elliott and Tim Conway to be great yet underrated.

    • Matt in Jax profile image

      Matt in Jax 6 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

      @Obscure Never really saw Jim Carrey standup.

      @Kitty Jim Norton is pretty hilarious too. Definitely watch Tosh.0! That show is awesome and I love Tosh's stand up specials too.

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from Summerland

      I have to add Jim Norton to the mix...he is just stinkin' hilarious! I agree with your top ten though, and I absolutely love Katt Williams and Louis CK! Do you watch tosh.o? Daniel Tosh is pretty funny too.

    • Obscure_Treasures profile image

      Obscure_Treasures 6 years ago from USA

      of all the mentioned names i think u missd out Jim carry...He would have been in my list for ur hub is innovative...good one.Voted U up...

    • Matt in Jax profile image

      Matt in Jax 6 years ago from Jacksonville, FL

      I do like Bill Hicks as well, but sorry Flora. Just not a big fan of the older standup comedians. They're funny, but just not my favorites.

    • spanishtoday profile image

      spanishtoday 6 years ago

      Bill Hicks?

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      My list of all time comedians wouldn't include most of the current-read alive- comedians-not because they aren't good, just that I prefer others.

      Here would be my top ten stand up comedians-if we include comedians in general my list would change again:

      1. Richard Pryor

      2. George Carlin

      3. Steve Martin

      4. Bob Hope

      5. George Burns

      6. lenny Bruce-not a favourite of mine, but iconic nevertheless

      7. Bon Newhart-the button-down mind

      8. Rodney Dangerfield

      9. Denis Leary

      10. Jerry Seinfeld

      Just my preferences, although as I said I don't enjoy Bruce.

      Honourable mentions for me are Redd Foxx, Bill Cosby, Jack Benny, Don Rickles and Alan King.


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