50 Hilarious Stand-up Comics Who Know Funny

Stand-up comedy takes serious talent. These 50 comedians have audiences rolling with their sharp observations, brilliant joke writing, impeccable timing, expressions and physicality. Let’s appreciate 50 of the funniest stand-up comics of all time:

1. Richard Pryor

Richard Pryor’s fearlessly honest comedy about race changed the game and inspired generations of comics.

2. George Carlin

George Carlin’s biting social commentary and “Seven Dirty Words” routine makes him an all-time great.

3. Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle’s provocative, masterful storytelling and cultural satire on Chappelle’s Show cemented his legend status.

4. Joan Rivers

Trailblazer Joan Rivers delivered biting jokes laced with compassion in her decades of historic comedy.

5. Chris Rock

Chris Rock pulls no punches addressing race, relationships and politics with energetic delivery.

6. Jerry Seinfeld

Jerry Seinfeld’s hilarious minutiae observations defined classic sitcom humor.

7. Robin Williams

Robin Williams’ frenetic improvisations made him a once-in-a-generation talent capable of making anything hilarious.

8. Ellen Degeneres

Ellen DeGeneres’ observational humor and personable charm make her a favorite.

9. Louis C.K.

Before his fall, Louis C.K. was revered for his cynical, awkwardly honest comedy.

10. Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy’s electric energy and spot-on impressions kill. See Raw and Delirious.

11. Bill Hicks

Dark prophet Bill Hicks channeled society’s anger with controversial sets before dying young.

12. Bernie Mac

The late great Bernie Mac slayed with his humorously blunt tirades and punchlines.

13. Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart sells out arenas with his high-energy physical comedy and storytelling.

14. Bill Burr

There’s no subject too taboo for Bill Burr’s caustically funny takes.

15. Mitch Hedberg

Mitch Hedberg’s spaced-out one-liners remain influential on comics today.

16. John Mulaney

John Mulaney makes hilariously detailed observations about everyday life.

17. Patton Oswalt

Patton Oswalt rants about pop culture and politics in nerdily brilliant sets.

18. Anthony Jeselnik

King of dark comedy Anthony Jeselnik leaves audiences gasping with shockingly harsh jokes.

19. Sarah Silverman

Sarah Silverman mixes cute charm with raunch and boundary-pushing jokes.

20. Andy Kaufman

Andy Kaufman pioneered anti-comedy and alter egos with bizarre, anarchic performances.

21. Michelle Wolf

Michelle Wolf brings savage political and feminist satire without mercy.

22. Russell Peters

Russell Peters hilariously highlights multicultural differences with accents and spot-on impressions.

23. Ali Wong

Ali Wong flips comedy gender roles discussing motherhood and relationships in a fearlessly lewd way.

24. Zach Galifianakis

Zach Galifianakis’ absurd one-liners and quirky persona make him beloved.

25. Dave Attell

Dave Attell crassly riffs on sex, drugs and city life with an underground New York edge.

26. Jim Gaffigan

Jim Gaffigan’s sarcastic food-themed jokes resonate with audiences worldwide.

27. Tim Minchin

Musical comic Tim Minchin pairs piano tunes with wickedly clever satire.

28. Maria Bamford

Surreal stories, spot-on voices and cute comedy make Maria Bamford a cult favorite.

29. Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes skewers racism, politics and sexuality with unrelentingly funny takes.

30. Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard’s free-flowing stories and absurd tangents are hilariously brilliant.

31. Jonathan Winters

Improvisational genius Jonathan Winters created unique characters with odd perspectives.

32. Steven Wright

Steven Wright’s ingenious deadpan one-liners and non-sequiturs remain influential.

33. Bob Newhart

With his stammering mild-mannered delivery, Bob Newhart mastered hilarious awkwardness.

34. Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield endlessly joked that he “gets no respect” with his rapid one-liners.

35. Redd Foxx

Raunchy Redd Foxx released shocking, groundbreaking comedy albums long before TV censors allowed his jokes.

36. Sam Kinison

Controversial loudmouth Sam Kinison pushed stand-up to extreme intense heights in the 80s.

37. Phyllis Diller

Trailblazer Phyllis Diller paved the way with her self-deprecating domestic humor in the 60s.

38. Lenny Bruce

Lenny Bruce’s provocative routines in the 50s/60s took free speech to new boundaries.

39. Flip Wilson

Flip Wilson broke barriers with his 70s variety show bringing urban black comedy to mainstream audiences.

40. Paul Mooney

The brilliant Paul Mooney confronted racism with brutally hilarious and subversive comedy writing.

41. Doug Stanhope

Cynical renegade Doug Stanhope spares no topic with his grim, raunchy humor.

42. Don Rickles

Legendary “insult comic” Don Rickles playfully mocked audiences and celebrities for decades.

43. Norm Macdonald

Norm Macdonald’s deadpan sarcasm makes everything funnier – see his infamous moth joke.

44. Greg Giraldo

Before passing too soon, Greg Giraldo roasted pop culture and politics brilliantly.

45. Emo Phillips

Oddball one-liner comic Emo Phillips gets huge laughs with his awkward persona and delivery.

46. Jim Norton

Nothing is too dark or taboo for Jim Norton’s gleefully vulgar comedy.

47. Roseanne Barr

The original domestic goddess, Roseanne pioneered relatable motherhood humor.

48. Bob Hope

For decades, Bob Hope disarmed audiences with charming rapid-fire gags and topical jokes.

49. Gallagher

Prop comic Gallagher smashed watermelons and delivered high-energy sets in the 70s and 80s.

50. Milton Berle

Comedy’s first multimedia megastar Milton Berle ruled early TV variety shows with his manic energy.

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These stand-up legends represent the pinnacle of hilarious writing, performance, and understanding what universally makes audiences laugh.

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