I was on Twitter a few minutes ago and I came across this list of the top 101 comedians in the world. I thought it was bad enough that I wanted to create my own list.
Of course, neither that list nor mine are really the “best” comedians, but just who each author thinks is the funniest. I’m sure there’s some objective measure by which we can value humor – we know Dave Chappelle, who many people think is funny, is funnier in every conceivable way than someone no one thinks is funny, like me – but comedy is still obviously much more art than science. You might appreciate this list – if you have a weird fucking sense of humor – or you might not.
One thing you won’t find on this list is preferential treatment of “star” comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, and guys like that. Actually, they aren’t even on the list because I don’t really think they’re that funny. I love Seinfeld the show, don’t really like him as a stand-up comedian. I’m not pretending to be some comedy snob and I don’t really have a finger on the pulse of the underground comedy scene, but I also have seen most of these guys/women in person, which I suppose adds to the level of bias in this list. I also didn’t list people who work in comedy but aren’t thought of as stand-up comedians, like Will Ferrell or Larry David. And I should also mention I just thought of a bunch of comedians I like and then wrote them down and sorted them, so I’m probably missing some people.
Anyway, here’s the list of the top 28 comedians that you’ve been dying to read, along with a quick thought on some of them.
1 Anthony Jeselnik
Might be the only person on the planet to rank him here; he’s not the “best” in terms of longevity or range of jokes or anything other than he makes me laugh the most
2 Mitch Hedberg
Probably the actual best
3 Brian Regan
Didn’t even make the TBS list above, which is outrageous
4 Nathan Fielder
Stand-up is good, but Nathan For You is one of the greatest shows ever made IMO
5 Hannibal Buress
Maybe the most underrated; I was at the show in Philly when he “outed” Bill Cosby
6 Aziz Ansari
Definitely worthy of praise he’s received; his show Master of None on Netflix is really good
7 Jim Gaffigan
Preferred older stuff to newer
8 Amy Schumer
9 Dave Chappelle
10 Norm Macdonald
Old-school but one of the guys I imagine you think is either hilarious or never, ever, ever funny
11 Daniel Tosh
12 Louis C.K.
Most people have Louis C.K. in the top one or two comedians right now; he’s fine, idk…I just don’t love him.
13 Nick Swardson
14 Zack Galifianakis
His old stand-up before he became famous is hilarious.
15 Sarah Silverman
16 John Mulaney
17 Ricky Gervais
18 Demetri Martin
19 Mike Birbiglia
20 Adam Devine
21 Russell Brand
22 Sebastian Maniscalco
I actually want to re-rate this to move him higher, but then I’d need to change all the numbers above it because I didn’t use an automated list, so he’s staying.
23 Eugene Mirman
24 Nick Kroll
25 Rob Delaney
I don’t actually like his stand-up, but he’s hilarious on Twitter.
26 TJ Miller
27 Kevin James
One of the few top comedic actors I think is actually very funny; I didn’t want to like his stand-up, but I do.
28 Doug Benson
Might be funnier if he weren’t high all the time…or might be much, much worse