Here is a list of famous comedians who have made us laugh and contributed to the popular genre of comedy!
Comedians do what they do best — make people laugh out loud. From silent black-and-white films that got crowds roaring with laughter, to color films with a hilarious script in place, we’ve seen centuries of amazing talent in the world of comedy.
There are so many budding comedians making their way into Hollywood, with old ones that still know how to get an audience to roll over in a fit of laughter. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous, and sought after comedians of all time.
Over the years, there have been plenty of comedians who have cheered us up, so much so that just the mention of their names gets a smile on our faces. Many a time, it isn’t even their words, but just their actions and antics on-screen that get us in splits. While it would be impossible to list the names of all the greats, listed below are some of the more popular comedians who have mastered the art of making people laugh.
Andy Kaufman was never labeled as a ‘comedian’ because he himself wanted to be known as more than just that. He usually referred to himself as a song and dance man. It is said that his performances were more like avant-garde theater and could not be included in the same genre as stand-up comedy. He is well-known for his impersonation of Elvis Presley and his famous stint as an immigrant auto-mechanic in Taxi.
Andrew Dice Clay
Andrew “Dice” Clay is a famous American comedian, who’s plagued by controversy owing to his verbally abusive and sexual content in his routine. He performed his first HBO Special in Philadelphia, which was called The Diceman Cometh. He got his first starring role in a feature film titled The Adventures of Ford Fairlane in 1990. Although his popularity diminished in the nineties, he made a comeback in 2007 with the reality TV series Dice: Undisputed.
After starting his career with Saturday Night Live, this extremely talented comedian went on to be one of the most adored comedians in Hollywood. Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, 50 First Dates, Mr. Deeds, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, Punch-Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign Over Me, and fairly recent work You Don’t Mess With The Zohan, Just Go with It, Funny People and Grown Ups, to a name a few, are some of his most memorable works.
Albert Brooks is not just a comedian, but also an Academy Award-nominated actor, writer, voice actor, and director. He began his career as a stand-up comedian. You’ll find him in animation as well, featuring as the voice of the clownfish in search of his son, in Finding Nemo.
Alan King was a Jewish comedian, who was famous for his ability to pass off as funny through angry outbursts with a knack for being hilarious all at once. Being a high-school dropout, he started with stand-up for a dollar a night, progressed to television with The Ed Sullivan Show, and then, earned the status of being one of the most popular entertainers of his time.
Benny Hill started out doing ordinary day jobs, like being a building operator, and even a milkman. He finally landed himself in the industry by working as an assistant stage manager, that slowly led him on his way to comedic stardom. He was a popular comedian, who is most remembered for his television show called The Benny Hill Show. Although, many of his critics have labeled his humor to be sexist and smutty, the comedian still remains to be a favorite for many around the world. His idol, Charlie Chaplin, was known to be a big fan of his.
A veteran actor, television producer, activist, musician and author, Bill Cosby had started his career as a stand-up comedian by performing at various clubs. The sitcom, The Cosby Show saw ratings hit the roof with its success during the 90s. His later shows, A Different World, and Cosby also saw a steady rise in his fan following.
Comedian Bob Newhart is an American stand-up comedian and actor, popular for his trademark stammer, one-sided telephone conversations and hysterical what if routines. His renowned monologues landed him at the number one spot in the Billboard’s chart, bringing him much acclaimed fame. His albums, such as The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart, and The Button-Down Strikes Again!, made it big in the 1960s.
Bob Hope was an American comedian and actor who appeared in Vaudeville, on Broadway, in addition to his performances on radio, television, as well as movies. He’s well-known for his theatrical appearances; The Ghost Breakers, Some Like It Hot, Beau James, The Paleface, and The Seven Little Foys to name a few. His list of honors is commendable, like being bestowed with the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work in the armed forces through USO, by being of service to men and women; he has four stars to his name in the Hollywood Walk of Fame; he was ranked 25th by Comedy Central, on the list of the 50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time.
Billy Crystal will always be remembered as the endearing and quirky Harry from the movie When Harry Met Sally. He’s been nominated for a Golden Globe award, and has won the Tony Award and the Emmy Award, including a notable award for his work, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show, and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.
Bill Maher is a popular American stand-up comedian, television host, actor, and author who is known for his shows like Politically Incorrect, and is currently, the host of the HBO show called Real Time With Bill Maher. He is known for his stand on the legalization of the drug marijuana, and same-sex marriage. He’s covered a myriad of topics from bureaucracies and mass media, to religion and politics.
Connolly is a Scottish comedian, who is also a popular musician, presenter, and actor. Many of you will remember him from the X-files: I Want to Believe movie adaption of the long-time series, where he plays a priest who sees visions of women in distress and captivity. He’s played many roles, and is known for his versatility to step out of his comedian shell, and portray other characters. Other movies featuring the comedian – Muppet Treasure Island, Open Season 2, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties, and Mrs. Brown, to name a few.
Buddy Hackett was an American comedian and actor, who referred to himself as a saloon comic. Buddy Hackett always kept his performance very interactive and was popular for getting the people from the audience on stage with him. Disney movie fans will remember his memorable performance as the eccentric seagull in The Little Mermaid, and The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea.
Veteran actress, Betty White, has been in the industry for over seven decades. Apart from being a phenomenal actress and comedienne, she is also a writer. In her illustrious career, she has won 7 Emmy Awards, and a Grammy Award. Her popular films and TV shows include Life with Elizabeth, Date with the Angels, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Betty White Show, Just Men!, Dennis the Menace Strikes Again, Stealing Christmas, Hot in Cleveland, The Lost Valentine, and The Golden Girls.
Think of comedy, and the first name that comes to mind is that of Charlie Chaplin. The undisputed king of silent comedy, Charlie Chaplin, through his films, brought joy to those who were going through a time of great peril during World War 1, and the reign of Hitler. His most memorable movies include The Kid, A Woman of Paris, The Gold Rush, The Circus, City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, Monsieur Verdoux, Limelight, A King in New York, and A Countess from Hong Kong.
Cheech & Chong
They say that the best things come in pairs! Cheech & Chong are a popular comedic duo — Richard ‘Cheech’ Marin and Tommy ‘Chong’. Together, Cheech & Chong found a wide audience in the 1970s and 1980s for their stand-up routines, which were based on hippie themes like free love, and the use of recreational drugs. Some of the movies that brought the duo a lot of fame were Up in Smoke, Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie, and Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers. They were also musically talented, with hit songs like Basketball Jones and Sister Mary Elephant, from comedy albums that did well during their time. A game was released on Facebook, titled Cheech & Chong’s Animated Game back in 2011, with an animated film of the funny twosome in the pipeline.
A nine-time Emmy Award winner, Carl Reiner is not just a famous comedian, but also an American actor, film director, producer and writer. His famous television plays include Your Show of Shows, Sid Caesar Invites You, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. Must-see films of the comedy legend include The Jerk and Where’s Poppa?.
Chris Rock is an immensely popular figure in Hollywood. Apart from being a comedian, he is also a screenwriter, TV and film producer, and a director. Voted as the fifth-greatest stand-up comedian of all time by Comedy Central, he has starred in a lot of comedy films. His best movies include Nurse Betty, Down to Earth, Bad Company, The Longest Yard, the Madagascar series, Grown Ups, and Death at a Funeral.
A screenwriter, comedian, actor, and film producer, Chapelle is a household name in the comedy business, and is most noted for his stand-up performances worldwide. Movies he’s appeared in include Con Air, Screwed, Half Baked, Def Comedy Jam and Undercover Blues to name a few. His show, the Chappelle’s Show has been titled as one of the 100 Greatest Stand-Ups of All Time, positioned at number 43.
Remember Michael Bluth’s twisted brother-in-law from Arrested Development? That’s David Cross, who is an Emmy Award-winning American comedian. He is also known for his television series Mr. Show. He started performing at the tender age of 17, where he dropped out of college to pursue a career in acting. Comedy albums released by the comedian include Bigger and Blackerer, Shut Up, You F**king Baby! (nominated for the Grammy’s as Best Comedy Album), and It’s Not Funny.
Popularly known as an insult comic, Donald Jay Rickles has enjoyed a sustained career in insult performance. He is known for his habit of apologizing to his victims at the end of every performance and conveying the fact that the performances are meant only for harmless humor. He’s made guest appearances in movies like Get Smart, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and The Addams Family.
Dana Thomas Carvey is an Emmy-award winning American comedian, who is best known for his work in Saturday Night Live and the movie Wayne’s World. He’s widely known for his impersonations, which have brought him worldwide fame.
Denis Leary is known for his angry comedic style. He is currently the co-creator and the star of the television show called Rescue Me. He’s played the role of Diego in the animated movie Ice Age, and the dragon, Flame in the series The Agents. He’s won awards like the CableACE Award for best direction (comedy) in National Lampoon’s Favorite Deadly Sins, and the BBC Festival Recommended award for No Cure for Cancer.
Dick Gregory is popular as one of the first comedians who could perform for both black and white audiences. Hugh Hefner hired Gregory to work at the Chicago Playboy Club, when he heard him performing his material to a white audience; he replaced Irwin Corey, the white comedian Professor.
David Steinberg is a famous Canadian comedian who is also an actor, director, and author. He appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 140 times, and has also directed episodes of many successful television sitcoms, like Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Mad About You, and Friends. He’s been awarded the CableACE award for his stand-up comedy performances in Cats, Cops and Stuff. He’s also won the Playboy Humor Award for Ragtime.
Edward John, popularly known as Eddie Izzard, is a stand-up comedian of British origin. His famed performances span movies like Shadow of the Vampire, Ocean’s Twelve, and Valkyrie, to name a few. He act, The Comedian’s Comedy, was voted as one of the greatest comedy acts ever.
With two of her own shows under her belt, The Ellen Show, and Ellen, DeGeneres has climbed her way to the top winning 13 Emmy awards among others, for performances in her career and charitable works accredited to her name. She first started out as a stand-up comedienne in small joints, that later snowballed to find her as Showtime’s Funniest Person in America after she started to tour nationally.
Eddie Murphy is ranked number 10 in Comedy Central’s Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. He found his way to celebrity status by starting out as a regular on the show Saturday Night Live. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, for his role of James in the hit movie Dreamgirls. He also received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his acting in Trading Places, 48 Hrs, and Beverly Hills Cop the series. Memorable performances of the comedian include the Nutty Professor, and as Donkey from the Shrek movie series.
Freddie Prinze was an American who started his career as a stand-up comedian in New York. Some of the popular nightclubs where he performed were The Improv, and Catch a Rising Star. He often introduced himself to the audiences as a Hungarican, which referred to the fact that he was part Hungarian and part Puerto Rican. He is best remembered for his work in Chico and the Man. He received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, posthumously.
Clerow Wilson Jr., who is popularly known as Flip Wilson, was an American comedian, who was a regular at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. He was also a part of many shows, like The Tonight Show, Laugh In, and The Ed Sullivan Show. He also had his own show called The Flip Wilson Show, in which he greeted all his guests with the trademark Flip Wilson Handshake which started with hand slaps and ended with hip-bumps. He’s won two Emmy’s, and a Golden Globe for his TV series.
Fortino Mario Alfonso Moreno Reyes
Mario Moreno was popularly known for his film and stage persona as Cantinflas. He was a Mexican comedian who is considered to be the pioneer of Mexican cinema. His popular stage and film persona, Cantinflas, usually portrayed as an impoverished campesino slum dweller of pelado origin, came to be associated with the national identity of Mexico. Charlie Chaplin had once called him the greatest comedian in the world.
Julius Henry Groucho Marx was an American comedian and actor, who was called a master of wit. He is known for his radio and television game show titled You Bet Your Life. In collaboration with his siblings — the Marx Brothers, he went on to make films that were hugely successful, and were applauded for their unique delivery.
George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, actor, as well as an author. He is noted for his black humor, insights on psychology, politics, English language, religion, and also various taboo subjects. He is considered as one of the best comedians ever, and has won four Grammy Awards for his comedy albums.
George Burns was an American comedian and actor whose career spanned Vaudeville, film, radio and television. Some of his trademarks that are still popular are his arched eyebrow, and cigar smoke punctuation. He was known to be an active comedian even in old age, and was regarded as one of the industry’s best makes. He was bestowed with the Kennedy Center Honors, and was booked at the Caesar’s Palace and London Palladium during his 100th birthday.
Jack Benny was amongst the most beloved American entertainers of the twentieth century. He was best known for his amazing comic timing, and his ability to get laughs from the audience with either a deliberate pause or a single expression, such as ‘Well!’. His popular radio and television programs were a great influence in pioneering the genre of situation comedy.
Fans the world over will agree that Carrey can still pull off an appearance that is both funny, and quite memorable. He was nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical for his role in The Mask, and as Lloyd Christmas in Dumb and Dumber. Other notable performances include the ones from the movies The Cable Guy, Bruce Almighty, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Yes Man, and Batman Forever. Carrey was able to bag the People’s Choice Award for favorite TV guest star in the hit sitcom — The Office.
American stand-up comedian, film producer, writer, and actor, Seinfeld gained popularity for his hit sitcom, Seinfeld, which he co-created with Larry David, and then later co-executive-produced. In 1998, he was the highest earning celebrity, with a whooping $267 million as his annual earnings from his TV show. He is a known car enthusiast, and owns an impressive collection of cars, featuring his Porsche Carrera GT in Automobile magazine.
Jerry Lewis is an American comedian, actor, producer, writer, and director, who is highly recognized for his dual-performance with Dean Martin on their show Martin and Lewis. He’s won the Governor’s Award which is a very prestigious award at the Emmy’s, and also the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
More popular for his serious roles, Jamie Foxx is also a fantastic comedian. He is an established stand-up comedian, TV actor, and singer. He is well-known for his roles in the films Toys, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, The Great White Hype, Booty Call, The Players Club, Breakin’ All the Rules, and Stealth.
Arguably one of the greatest American comedians, Johnny Carson is best known as the host of the popular TV series, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He won a whopping 6 Emmy Awards, and many other awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and a Kennedy Center Honor. He is fondly remembered for playing the character of Carnac the Magnificent on his show.
Jack Black is a famous comedian. Dewey Finn, the crazy music teacher from the movie, School of Rock, was perhaps the turning point of Jack’s life. He is the voice of Po, the adorable panda from the Kung Fu Panda series. His other famous films include Bongwater, High Fidelity, Saving Silverman, Shallow Hal, Envy, The Holiday, Nacho Libre, Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, Be Kind Rewind, Gulliver’s Travels, Bernie, and The Big Year.
Jerry Clower, famously called ‘The Mouth of Mississippi’ was a hugely popular country comedian. He would often, through his stories talk about the tales of the rural South. He also was a writer, and has authored four books. His famous recordings include From Yazoo City – Mississippi Talkin’, Clower Power, Live in Picayune, The Ambassador of Goodwill, Live from the Stage of the Grand Ole Opry!, More Good ‘Uns, and Classic Clower Power.
Kathleen “Kathy” Griffin is an Emmy Award-winning American stand-up comedienne, television personality, and an actress as well. Her climb to fame was from her role in NBC’s Suddenly Susan. She’s been nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album, and has won two Emmy awards for the show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, as executive producer.
Katt Williams is a famous comedian, rapper, and actor. His popular works include Friday After Next, American Hustle, Epic Movie, First Sunday, Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and Lonely Street. Although he has been on the wrong side of the law on a few occasions, his works still make him a popular public figure.
Larry David is an American Emmy-winning actor, writer, comedian, producer and film director. He was the one who along with Jerry Seinfeld, co-created the television series Seinfeld. He also created the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm, which was an improvised sitcom, in which he starred as a fictionalized version of himself.
Lewis Black is amongst the most famous American comedians today. He is known for his unique style of presenting serious political issues to the public, in a very humorous manner. His popular films and TV series include Hannah and Her Sisters, Jacob’s Ladder, The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd, Law & Order, The Hard Way, Homicide: Life on the Street, Deception (TV series), The Happy Elf, Accepted, Man of the Year, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, and The Penguins of Madagascar — Arch-Enemy.
Molière was a French playwright and actor, who is considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Among his best-known dramas are The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, Tartuffe or the Hypocrite, The Bourgeois Gentleman, The Miser and many more.
He was an American stand-up comedian known for his surreal humor, unconventional comedic delivery, and hilarious one-liners. His style was observational comedy, and his on-stage persona gained him such a cult following that the audience members sometimes shouted out the punch lines to his jokes before he could finish them!
Moms Mabley was an African-American comedienne, who was one of the most successful entertainers of the Black Vaudeville stage. She tackled topics too edgy for many other comics of her time, including issues like racism. She was often called The Funniest Woman in the World.
Minnie Pearl is one of the most popular country comediennes of all time. She was known for her brilliant comic timing. She was a great influence on a lot of comedians like Jerry Clower, Jeff Foxworthy, and Bill Engvall. She was also a major star at the Grand Ole Opry for over five decades. She starred in the TV show Hee Haw from 1969 to 1991.
Martin Lawrence rose to fame with his role in his own TV series, Martin. He went on to become an accomplished actor, producer, director, screenwriter, and a very successful stand-up comedian. His most famous roles include the ones in Boomerang, Bad Boys series, Blue Streak, National Security, Rebound, Death at a Funeral, and the Big Momma series.
Marlon Wayans is the more famous amongst the Wayan siblings. Apart from being a comedian, he is also a producer, writer, and director. His famous movies include the Scary Movie series, Senseless, The Lady Killers, White Chicks, Little Man, and Dance Flick.
Phyllis Diller is an American comedienne, considered to be one of the pioneers of female stand-up comedy. She is best known for her stage-persona, a wild-haired, eccentrically-dressed housewife, who made jokes about a fictional husband named Fang.
Ray Romano is an American actor, writer and stand-up comedian, who is also known for his voice-overs in the Ice Age movie installments as Manny the mammoth. Ray Romano played Raymond — a father of three kids, a mama’s boy, with a brother who despises the fact that Ray is the more loved son, on the hit sitcom, Everybody Loves Raymond.
Richard Skelton, popularly known as Red Skelton, was a very popular radio and television comedian. He started out as a circus clown, and then went on to leave his mark in Broadway, Vaudeville, radio, films, TV, nightclubs and casinos. His most popular works include Having Wonderful Time, Flight Command, Lady Be Good, Ship Ahoy, I Dood It, The Fuller Brush Man, A Southern Yankee, Three Little Words, Watch the Birdie, The Great Diamond Robbery, Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, and Freddie the Freeloader’s Christmas Dinner.
Rodney Dangerfield was a very respected comedian of the 19th century; ironically, the catchphrase that brought him respect and adoration was ‘I don’t get no respect!”. His popular films include The Projectionist, Caddyshack, Easy Money, Back to School, Rover Dangerfield, Ladybugs, Natural Born Killers, Casper: A Spirited beginning, The Godson, My 5 Wives and Little Nicky.
Russell Peters is a Canadian stand-up comic, and actor of Indian descent, whose routine focuses largely on his Canadian upbringing, and racial stereotypes. Much of his material is related to the cultural divides between many different ethnicity and upbringings, and includes many impressions. He has won awards like the Gemini Award in 2008 for ‘Best Performance in a Variety Program or Series’, and the Asian Awards for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts award.
Arguably one of the most gifted actors in Hollywood, Robin Williams is also amongst the most versatile of them all. He can handle both serious, and the absolutely hilarious roles with ease. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, and five Grammy Awards. His best works include the movies Moscow on the Hudson, Good Morning, Vietnam, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Fisher King, Hook, Toys, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Nine Months, Patch Adams, and Happy Feet.
Sherman Hemsley immortalized the role of George Jefferson in the television series, All in the Family, and The Jeffersons. He was a great voice-over artist as well, having lent his voice to quite a few memorable characters. His famous movies include Mr. Nanny, Screwed, Up,Up, and Away, Hanging in Hedo, and American Pie Presents: The Book of Love.
Steve Carell is a very talented comedian, who has over the years, become quite a favorite amongst the masses. His rise to fame was the role of Michael Scott in the American version of The Office, which fetched him the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy Series. Some of his popular films include The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine, Evan Almighty, Dan in Real Life, Get Smart, Date Night, Dinner for Schmucks, Crazy, Stupid, Love., and Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.
Tracy is best known for his role in the hit TV series, 30 Rock. He is also a great stand-up comedian, and performs to a packed house each time. His popular films include Half Baked, The Longest Yard, Are We There Yet?, Little Man, Superhero Movie, Beer for My Horses, G-Force, Cop Out, and Death at a Funeral. He is also the host of the popular American television show — Scare Tactics.
Victor Borge was perhaps, the greatest Danish comedian of all time. He was lovingly called the ‘Clown Prince of Denmark’. He was also a very accomplished conductor and pianist. His greatest works include Frk. Møllers Jubilæum, Der var engang en Vicevært, Alarm, De tre måske fire, Higher and Higher, The Daydreamer, and The King of Comedy.
W. C. Fields
W.C. Fields is amongst the legends of the industry. He brought a completely new twist to the field of comedy, with his hilarious misanthropic take on things. His epic works include Pool Sharks, Janice Meredith, Sally of the Sawdust, It’s the Old Army Game, Running Wild, Hip Action, Alice in Wonderland, Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch, It’s a Gift, You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man, Follow the Boys, Song of the Open Road, and Sensations of 1945.
Woody Allen has had a rather illustrious career spanning over five decades. He is a renowned director, actor, comedian, screenwriter, author, playwright, and musician. In 2004, Comedy Central ranked him as the fourth greatest comedian of all time. Some of his most popular works are Annie Hall, Manhattan, Hannah and Her Sisters, Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love, and The Curse of the Jade Scorpion.
Agent J. from MIB, Will Smith is a very popular actor, comedian, rapper, and producer. He rose to fame, playing the protagonist in the hugely popular TV show, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. His best works include Bad Boys series, Men in Black series, Wild Wild West, Shark Tale, Hitch, and Hancock.
One of the most popular black actresses, Whoopi Goldberg is a very successful actor, and comedienne. She is also a good radio disc jockey, producer, author, singer-songwriter, talk show host, and Broadway star. Her memorable comedy films include Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Burglar, Beverly Hills Brats, Soapdish, Sister Act series, Monkeybone, and A Little Bit of Heaven.