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Best Comedians of All Time

Here is our very own list of the best comedians of all time! Special attention has been given in order to pay my respect to these great comedians. They were and still are the kings and queens of their era, simply because their humor contributed in making this world a happier place.
Rohini Mohan
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Who doesn't enjoy a good laugh now and then? Laughter is a great stress buster and makes you feel like you're not the only one facing troubles, because everybody around the globe is! So when you laugh at your problems, know this, that the whole world is laughing with you. Since humor causes such a mass ripple of solidarity among us, making a list of some of the best comedians of all time seemed like a great idea!

This list spans a century of never-ending entertainment and the people who kept us laughing and falling off our chairs. Each era mentioned below describes the different genres of comedy that was popularly practiced during that time by the comedians. The names of the comedians have been specifically assorted, in the alphabetical order and does not intend to rank any of the comedians as better or superior than the another. They were all great and will remain forever timeless.

Best Comedians Between 1900 - 1930

The genre of humor that was most popularly practiced during this era was 'Vaudeville', which consisted of a variety acts of different orders. Vaudeville was a mixture of movies, theater plays, musicians, dancers, performing artists, and everything else that could be thought of as a means of good-humored entertainment back then. Even though, stand-up comedy had already spread far and wide in Britain and the United Kingdom, it was because of American vaudeville that stand-up jokes began and became a hot favorite among Americans.

This period between 1880s to the 1930s is also famously known as the, 'Great Silent Era'. Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse made in 1921 was one of the highest-grossing silent films of all time and had a tremendous cultural impact. Even 'The Kid' by Charlie Chaplin was not a worthy competitor in front of this epic silent movie. 'Black Face' a popular form of humor was carried forward into vaudeville and remained alive until the American Civil Rights Movement of 1960s. It played a revolutionary role is breaking the stereotypical attitude among people, especially the African-Americans. Black face comedy helped bring people closer as human beings.

Best Comedians Between 1900-1930 Some of Their Best Works
Ambrose Bierce
  • Devil's Dictionary
  • An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge
  • Chickamauga
Ben Turpin
  • Mr. Flip
  • Keystone Hotel (1935)
  • Saps at Sea (1940)
Buster Keaton
  • The General
  • Sherlock Jr
  • Three Ages (1928)
Charlie Chaplin
  • Tillie's Punctured Romance
  • Making a Living (1914)
  • Kid Auto Races at Venice
Charley Chase
  • Fluttering Hearts
  • Mighty Like a Moose
  • Crazy Like a Fox
Harold Clayton Lloyd
  • Safety Last! (1923)
  • The Freshman (1925)
  • The Kid Brother (1927)
Harry Langdon
  • The Strong Man (1926)
  • Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1926)
  • Long Pants (1927)
Larry Semon
  • Wizard of Oz
  • The Head Waiter (1919)
  • School Days (1920)
Mark Twain
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885)
  • Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876)
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle
  • Ben's Kid
  • Keystone Cops
  • Miss Fatty's Seaside Lovers
W. C. Fields
  • Never Give a Sucker an Even Break
  • My Little Chickadee
  • The Old Fashioned Way

Best Comedians Between 1930 - 1960

By the late 1920s sound had been introduced into films. With it followed the onset of verbal and physical humor that added to visual entertainment. Sound enhanced the interpretation of comedy like never before. People could relate to the characters that portrayed the common man's mundane existence and daily life experiences in a comic fashion. Slapstick and physical humor continued to lead and popular comedians such as Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy contributed in making famous silent and everlasting comedy movies.

During the World War II, comedy was based on war, combat, boot-camp scenes, and of course, about women going crazy over sailors and war heroes. It was hugely popular among the Americans and even their troops. It was only in late 1940s that TV began to evolve as a major competitor for Hollywood's movie industry. TV was convenient because people could get entertained sitting at home with a variety of shows and channels to select from.

Best Comedians Between 1930-1960 Some of Their Best Works
Alan King
  • Just Tell Me What You Want
  • Night and the City
  • Bye Bye Braverman
Amos and Andy
  • Amos 'n' Andy Show (1946)
  • Check and Double Check
  • The Perfect Song
Bob Burns
  • Quick Millions (1931)
  • Rhythm on the Range (1936)
  • Waikiki Wedding (1937)
Bob Hope
  • The Arkansas Traveler (1941-43)
  • The Bob Burns Show (1943-49)
  • Quick Millions (1931)
Edgar Bergen
  • His ventriloquist dummy Charlie McCarthy
  • The Chase and Sanborn Hour
  • The Goldwyn Follies (1938)
Jim and Marian Jordan
  • Fibber McGee & Molly Show(1935-1959)
  • Look Who's Laughing (1941)
  • Here We Go Again (1942)
Fred Allen
  • The Fred Allen Show
  • Vogues and Greenwich Village Follies (Comics)
  • The Little Show (1929-30) and Three's a Crowd (1930-31)
George Burns
  • International House (1933)
  • A Damsel in Distress (1937)
  • College Swing (1938)
Gracie Allen
  • Six of a Kind (1934)
  • A Foggy Day (Song)
  • Many Happy Returns (1934)
Jack Benny
  • The Jack Benny Program (1932-1948)
  • Love Thy Neighbor
  • It's in the Bag!
Lenny Bruce
  • The Lenny Bruce Originals
  • Let The Buyer Beware
  • How to Talk Dirty and Influence People
Oliver Hardy & Stan Laurel
  • The Music Box (1932)
  • Sons of the Desert (1933)
  • Way Out West (1937)
The Three Stooges
  • Good Luck, Mr. Yates
  • Columbia Laff Hour
  • Stop, Look and Laugh

Best Comedians Between 1960 - 1990

This era saw the emergence of dark, satirical, and dry humor, that used the portrayal of social issues and factors as a medium to reach out to people. The topic of death was broached through another genre of comedy known as Black Humor, as the need to discuss death as a part of life was increasingly felt. Black humor movies such as Catch 22 and M-A-S-H exploded on-screen, especially after the many casualties suffered during the World War II and the hugely unpopular Vietnam War.

Many controversial topics such as war crimes, suicide, rape, and infidelity began to be introduced into the movie mainstream. People were familiar with these realistic issues and had dealt with such hurdles in their personal lives at some point or the other. The time was right for people to discuss their problems and express their feelings freely. This period also saw the rising of many African-American comedians who went on to create history in the world of comedy and are still among the top comedians of all time.

Best Comedians Between 1960-1990 Some of Their Best Works
Albert Brooks
  • Broadcast News
  • The Simpsons Show
  • The Simpsons Movie
Andrew 'Dice' Clay
  • The Day The Laughter Died
  • Making The Grade
  • Adventures of Ford Fairlane
Andy Kaufman
  • Mighty Mouse
  • Stick Around (Sitcom)
  • My Breakfast with Blassie
Bill Cosby
  • The Bill Cosby Show
  • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
  • Kids Say the Darnedest Things!
Bill Hicks
  • Sane Man
  • I'm Sorry Folks
  • It's Just A ride, Revelations & Dangerous (Songs)
Bobby Slayton
  • Bandits
  • The Rat Pack
  • The Mind of the Married Man
Dane Cook
  • Harmful If Swallowed
  • Retaliation
  • Vicious Circle
David Letterman
  • Late Night with David Letterman
  • Everybody Loves Raymond
  • The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
Jay Leno
  • The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
  • The Jay Leno Show
Jerry Seinfeld
  • Seinfeld (1989-1998)
  • The Ratings Game (1984)
  • Bee Movie
Richard Pryor
  • That Nigger's Crazy
  • Bicentennial Nigger
  • Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip
Robin Williams
  • Moscow on the Hudson (1984)
  • Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
  • Dead Poets Society (1989)
Woody Allen
  • Annie Hall (1978)
  • Manhattan (1980)
  • The Purple Rose of Cairo (1986)

Best Comedians Between 1990 - 2010

This decade saw the making of some of the world's best comedians. Here we see the onset of romantic comedies that made us laugh and cry at the same time! Serious black humor also had its own major fan following. Cultural discrepancies were also shown through comedy movies that brought out the racial disputes among various communities from all over the world. Gross-out or vulgar humor took center stage for a while, which portrayed adolescence and sexual experiences by youngsters today. Stoner comedies were also famous and discussed being spaced-out by hallucinogenic drugs and going on an imaginary flow of thought and action. Comedy central and SNL (Saturday Night Live) became an all-time favorite American comedy show throughout the world.

Best Comedians Between 1990-2010 Some of Their Best Works
Adam Sandler
  • Happy Gilmore
  • Big Daddy
  • Little Nicky
Ben Stiller
  • Starsky and Hutch
  • There's Something About Mary
  • Meet the Parents
Chris Farley - (1964-1997)
  • Tommy Boy
  • Black Sheep
  • Beverly Hills Ninja
Chris Rock
  • Beverly Hills Cop II
  • Beverly Hills Ninja
  • Madagascar
Dave Chappelle
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
  • The Nutty Professor
  • Con Air
Eddie Murphy
  • The Nutty Professor
  • Shrek
  • Dreamgirls
Jack Black
  • Kung Fu Panda
  • Nacho Libre
  • School of Rock
Jim Carrey
  • Bruce Almighty (2003)
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
  • The Mask (1994)
Jon Stewart
  • The Jon Stewart Show
  • The Daily Show
  • Evan Almighty (2007)
Martin Lawrence
  • Bad Boys
  • Big Momma's House
  • Open Season
Mike Myers
  • Austin Powers
  • Wayne's World
  • The Shrek
Owen Wilson
  • Wedding Crashers
  • Zoolander
  • Marley & Me (2008)
Rob Schneider
  • Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo
  • The Animal
  • The Hot Chick
Tom Hanks
  • Forrest Gump (1994)
  • You've Got Mail (1998)
  • Sleepless in Seattle (1993)
Will Ferrell
  • A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
  • Stranger than Fiction (2006)
  • Blades of Glory (2007)
Vince Vaughn
  • The Break-Up (2006)
  • Into the Wild (2007)
  • Couples Retreat

Best Comedians of 2011-2012
Aziz Ansari Billy Crystal
Chelsea Handler Dane Cook
Donald Glover Doug Stanhope
Ellen DeGeneres Fortune Feimster
George Lopez GregProops
Howie Mandel Ian Bagg
Ian Harvie Jackie Kashian
Jay Malone Jen Kirkman
Jeff Dunham Jon Dore
John Mulaney Kyle Kinane
Louis C.K. Maria Bamford
Marc Maron Marlon Wayans
Matt McKenna Michael Ian Black
Nick Frost Russell Peters
Tig Notaro Simon Pegg
Wyatt Cenac Chris Rock

Well folks, so these were the best comedians of all time, who have been encapsulated into a nutshell for you. Even though many names may not have been mentioned here in this list, it does not make them any less talented or significant for what they have left behind and given to the world through laughter.