Top 10 Comedians

Acidman solicited a listing of bloggers choices for their top 10 comedians. I have been a participant in the polls at Right Wing News, but I’d much rather write out my list and reasoning here.

For my listing I’m sticking to acts that I’ve seen, which eliminates Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Red Foxx, and a few others who I imaging that I might put on my list if I had exposure to their material. Comic actors and actresses like Lucile Ball, Carol Burnett, John Cleese, etc. are also excluded so I can focus on standup comics. My top ten standup comedians:

  1. Richard Pryor – His early records were raw genius. He sustained a high level of quality material longer that anyone on this list, with the possible exception of George Carlin.
  2. Sam Kinison – The master of in your face shock comedy. The laughs he generated were of the painful gut splitting variety. Giving cunnilingus by sketching out the alphabet is a bit I remember vividly. Words to live by…
  3. Bill Cosby – He’s somewhat of a blowhard these days, but I direct you to his concert movie, “Himself”. There is no funnier standup comedy special or movie in my humble opinion.
  4. Edie Murphy – His fist two tours and concert movies were really the zenith of the stand-up comedian as superstar era.
  5. George Carlin – Seven dirty words was quite an educational experience for me as a youngster. He’s veered in to grouchy old comedian territory, but still has occasional flashes of the brilliance of his past.
  6. Ellen DeGeneres – I always like her standup act. Her recent HBO special proves she’s as good as ever, and since it was an hour long tribute to procrastination I was sure to be riveted to the tube.
  7. Steven Wright – In my view he was as innovative a stand-up act as I ever saw. He still is.
  8. Dennis Miller – Thinking man’s humor; esoteric and riddled with references to historical events. Occasionally brilliant, usually thought provoking, and always entertaining.
  9. Bob Newhart – Before he was a sitcom star he was a standup comedian. His phone bits were priceless.
  10. Dennis Leary – Funny and edgy
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