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What Are You Laughing About? Five Favorite Stand-Up Comedians

Updated on July 14, 2014

So a man walks into a bar....

There's an entire spectrum of genius, satire and comedy between being a comic and being a stand-up comedian. The definition of stand-up comedy is a comedian who performs and speaks directly to a live audience. A comedian recites a monologue which may contain short jokes, humorous stories, props or even magic tricks. Usually a performance takes place in a comedy or nightclub, theater, bars or college venues. Stand-up comedians will market their live performances for DVD, television, cd or the internet. Who were 2013's top grossing stand-up comedians? According to Forbes magazine :

Jerry Seinfeld

ventriloquist Terry Fator

Canadian-born Russell Peters

ventriloquist Jeff Dunham

and one of my favorite comedians of all time...

Louis C.K.

Emmy and Grammy award winning Louis Szekely, known professionally as Louis C.K., is a Mexican-American stand-up comedian, television and film writer, producer, director, and actor. The multi-talented forty-six year old divorced father of two daughters was born in Washington DC. His stage name is derived from the pronunciation of his Hungarian last name Szekely or See-Kay.

Although he has enjoyed a great deal of recognition in the past few years for his brilliant stand-up comedy tours and hit comedy television show Lucky Louie, the path to his current fame was a long arduous journey of uncertainty. C.K is definitely a "comedians comedian". He is often at the top of a comedians favorites list or listed as one of the top ten great comic minds of all time.

In 2012 C.K won a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album 2012 Hilarious

His Emmy Awards include

Outstanding Writing for a Variety or Music Program
1999 The Chris Rock Show
Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
2012 Louie: "Pregnant
Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Special
2012 Live at the Beacon Theater

Currently Louis C.K. can be seen in the David O. Russell drama American Hustle also starring Christian Bale and Amy Adams.

Dave Attell

In 2005, I was fortunate to see the late Mitch Hedberg perform stand-up live. It was one of his last shows before his tragic death. The show also featured the outstanding acid tongued Lewis Black and another of my all time favorite comedians, Dave Attell. Like most audiences at the time we discovered Dave Attell from watching his hysterical late late late night show Insomniac. As Dave traveled from one new city to the next during each episode we were invited to be his cheering section and adventurous drinking buddy. He is best known for his comedic antics on Insomniac (watch a full episode on YouTube or click on the link below) but was also the host of The Gong Show with Dave Attell.

After graduating from New York University in 1987 with a degree in communications, Dave Attell like many stand-up comedians before him worked menial jobs during the day and put in his time at comedy clubs at night. According to comedy club lore, Attell played his premiere comedy gig at Governor's in Levittown, NY and totally bombed. After years of honing his act and paying his dues, like Louis C.K, he is now considered a "comedian's comedian".

Patton Oswalt

Born January 27, 1969, in Virginia, Patton Oswalt first began performing stand-up comedy in the early 1990s. After writing for MADTV and starring in his own 1996 comedy special for HBO he went on to establish a successful career. His most prominent and long-running role was as Spence on the hit show The King of Queens with fellow comedians Kevin James and Jerry Stiller. His first starring film role was as the voice of Remy, the lead character in the 2007 film Ratatouille created by Pixar. He has also appeared in smaller roles in such films as Magnolia and Madagascar 2. Along with an impressive filmography, Oswalt regularly appears on television in such progressive shows as Portlandia, HBO's The Newsroom and Parks and Recreation

Oswalt has a devoted fan base and legendary Twitter following. After the tragic events of the Boston Marathon bombing Patton Oswalt posted a kind of love letter to Boston and the rest of humanity that garnered him even more social media popularity as well as the respect and admiration of readers and writers world wide. You can read the entire post at the link below.

Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan was born on July 7, 1966 in Elgin, Illinois and was raised in Indiana. He is the youngest of six children and often jokes about growing up in a large family.

His live stand-up show performances of Beyond the Pale and King Baby have allowed him to capture the adoration of millions of comedy fans in the US and around the globe. With his high pitched alter ego voice he espouses the joys of Hot Pockets, bacon, Catholicism and birthday cake.

On May 7, 2013, Gaffigan's memoir Dad Is Fat was released. The title came from the first complete sentence his son wrote on a dry-erase board. It is a collection of essays dealing with the raising of his five children as well as his own childhood.

Thank you, McDonalds

Dave Chappelle

David Khari Webber "Dave" Chappelle is an American stand-up comedian, screenwriter, television and film producer, actor, and artist. Currently, he is touring the United States as part of the Oddball Comedy and Curiosity Festival. He is best known for writing, directing and starring in his own Emmy nominated comedy series The Chappelle Show which aired on Comedy Central from 2003 to 2006.

Although Dave Chappell has probably gained the majority of his fans from his series and cult classic movie, Half Baked his recent return to stand-up is hitting a high note. With his laid back, perfectly timed revelatory delivery he is once again grabbing all the attention.

The Women of Stand-Up Comedy

Sarah Silverman

Kathy Griffen

Amy Schumer

Wanda Sykes

Ellen DeGeneres

Judy Gold

Maria Bamford

Joy Behar

Sara Benincasa

Lisa Lampanelli

Margaret Cho

Sandra Bernhard

Whitney Cummings

Susie Essman

Negin Farsad

Marina Franklin

Janeane Garafalo

Stand-up Comedians Past and Present

Bill Cosby

Bill Hicks

George Carlin

Richard Pryor

Bill Burr

Lenny Bruce

Paul Mooney

Kevin Hart

Colin Quinn

Greg Giraldo

Patrice O'Neill

Brian Regan

Mitch Hedberg

Todd Barry

David Cross

Jimmy Carr

Simon Amstell

Dylan Moran

Robin Williams

Dom Irerra

Nick DiPaolo

Jim Jeffries

Chelsea Handler

Marc Maron

Dana Gould

Jerry Seinfeld

Jeff Dunham

Jeff Foxworthy

Ron White

Bill Engval

Larry the Cable Guy

Jim Norton

Chris Rock

John Mulaney

Anthony Jeselnik

Dennis Leary

Demetri Martin

Roseanne Barr

Aziz Ansari

John Oliver

Gabriel Iglasias

Who is Your All Time Favorite Stand-Up Comedian?

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