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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?

See results


Submit a Comment

  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you for reading and commenting, Suzette. I'm glad you enjoyed this article. It was fun to research and put together.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 

    5 years ago from Taos, NM

    Really interesting hub. Glad I read this because I have not heard of these comedians you write about. They are certainly funny. Thank you for highlighting them.

  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you so much, Joe. It's so good to here from you. Having you enjoy or laugh at this HUB made it all worthwhile then. We cannot live without laughter. Well, we can. But what kind of life would it be? Aloha. Peace and love to you always.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image

    Hawaiian Odysseus 

    5 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    At the risk of sounding trite, this was definitely a FUN hub to read, Lisa! Thank you so much for the work and research you put into it, but as is the case with all of your writing, the end product flows so well that I feel as if you're sharing all of this with me in a coffee shop or on a front porch somewhere.

    Definitely, I recognize Patton and Dave. The third comedian you featured above that I am now a huge fan of is Jim Gaffigan. My son introduced me to him a couple of years ago via a TV special, and I instantly cracked up over Gaffigan's alter ego "asides," so much so, in fact, that I emulated that device in a couple of my early hubs.

    I enjoyed this so much. Thanks, Lisa, for being a delight to read and follow. Aloha and best wishes for a great weekend!


  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you for reading and commenting, mperrottet. Thank you for sharing the insight about Dave Chappelle. He took what could have remained a negative experience and turned it around. Appreciate you stopping by.

  • mperrottet profile image

    Margaret Perrottet 

    5 years ago from San Antonio, FL

    Dave Chappelle had a bit of a setback in Hartford recently where he stopped his act after only a few minutes into it. However, he seems to have recovered, and the tour is going well - he's made the Hartford incident a joke which he is using in his routines now. He's my favorite that you mentioned here, and I loved George Carlin. I'll have to check out some of the other ones that you've mentioned, since I haven't really seen them. Voted up, interesting and sharing.

  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you for responding, CraftytotheCore. I will add Gabriel to the list. There are probably quite a few unintentionally left out.

  • CraftytotheCore profile image


    5 years ago

    There's another guy too, Gabriel Iglesias (Fluffy). He is a riot! I love Jeff Dunham. He actually came around here and my husband almost bought tickets. That would have been a lot of fun but I'm not one to do crowds.

  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you, Jaye. Laughter is one of the greatest healing gifts you can give another human being in my opinion. You are so right! Jerry Seinfeld, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Steve Martin have all influenced so many comedians. Love them all. Thank you for sharing, reading and commenting.!

  • JayeWisdom profile image

    Jaye Denman 

    5 years ago from Deep South, USA

    Comedians make us laugh--what a wonderful gift! I enjoy standup comedy, but I'm also one of the best individual audiences in the world for ordinary people (not professional comics) who are funny.

    Years ago I worked with a "natural" comedian--not the clownish variety, but a genuinely funny person. The things he said weren't jokes or slapstick, but were very humorous all the same. With a straight face, he'd make a statement that struck me as one of the funniest things I'd ever heard, and I'd laugh until tears ran from my eyes, my sides hurt and I invariably got hiccoughs. When he got wound up, nearly everything that issued forth from his mouth was hilarious. When he needed an audience, he came looking for me.

    I recall George Carlin's old routine about "The Seven Things You Can't Say on TV", which wouldn't be as funny today because you can say absolutely anything at all on TV, even the broadcast networks, without censure (unless you're a politician).

    When Carlon got to the point in his routine where he said the list of words very quickly, it just cracked me up--not because they were swear words, but because saying them like that removed their shock value. Whenever he turned those seven words into one long breathless word, they became...just language. That was funny to me.

    Bless comedians, for their laughter is healing.

    Voted Up+++


  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you, Liz! One of my favorite ways to relax is listening to comedy. Another favorite: I love is DOGS!!

    And for those of you who don't know: Congratulations to Liz on your new NOOK BOOK "Hearts of Gold" available at Check it out!

  • epbooks profile image

    Elizabeth Parker 

    5 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

    Very interesting and entertaining hub. My favorite is Seinfeld and for the women, I'd have to say Ellen. Her delivery is fantastic. Voted up and shared!

  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you Elias. I love to see and hear people laugh and smile as much as the comedians. Appreciate you stopping by.

  • Elias Zanetti profile image

    Elias Zanetti 

    5 years ago from Athens, Greece

    Great hub and quite funny videos :) Thanks for sharing.

  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    You're welcome. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week, Flourish.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image


    5 years ago from USA

    The "McDonalds" video from Jim Gaffigan was pretty funny. Thanks for the humor!

  • LKMore01 profile imageAUTHOR


    5 years ago

    Thank you, Bill for reading and commenting. George Carlin was actually Louis C.K's inspiration in becoming a comedian. In fact I'm positive he influenced many comedians.

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 

    5 years ago from Olympia, WA

    I saw the title and immediately thought of George Carlin. Obviously a subjective topic but if there was a better one that Carlin I don't know who it would be, despite what Forbes has to say. :) Interesting list LK....there are two there I have never seen so I'm heading to YouTube.


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