We could all use a good laugh. Really, we do! — because not only laughing is a way to keep your mind off some of your worries, but hundreds of studies conclude that laughing can reduce stress, benefit your heart, boost your immune system, lower your blood pressure, and so on! Sometimes, when we’re in need of a good laugh, entertainers help give us that. The best stand-up comedians, for instance, provide us with that but in the most organic way — as oftentimes, they improvise and interact with their audiences to help you appreciate their humor better.

5 of the Best Stand-Up Comedians That Got People Consistently Chuckling

When it comes to comedy, a person’s sense of humor is totally subjective. However, the top 5 best stand-up comedians that are listed below are based on critics who most likely chose the revered comedians based on polls and their shows’ success through ratings, number of audiences, and projects afterward.

Check out these comedians and see if they also got you entertained with their comedy.

Richard Pryor

One could say that Richard Pryor paved the way for modern stand-up comedy. Just like many of his fellow comedians, Richard Pryor has no problem making fun of himself at all! However, what makes him one of the best stand-up comedians of all time is how his jokes are still funny, yet the serious topics he joked about are still relevant even up to this day; Richard Pryor was born on December 1, 1940 — he, therefore, often used racism, his battle with drug addiction, and political problems as the subject of his jokes as he personally experienced those.

In an article by Sean Keane for Yardbarker, they wrote, “Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip” is a masterpiece, in which Pryor seamlessly plays characters ranging from mafia gangsters to water buffaloes and delivers a mesmerizing and hilarious account of his drug addiction and freebasing accident.” Clean Comedians describes Richard Pryor’s comedy to be “brutally honest and often profane, shocking his audience.” In 2004, Richard Pryor was voted #1 on Comedy Central’s list of “100 Greatest Stand-ups of all Time.”

George Carlin

Comedy used to mostly consist of slapstick humor. However, not many realized how much artistry is involved in stand-up comedy until George Carlin emerged. His talent for wordplay is still pretty much unmatched up to this day despite being born in 1937 (though the comedian passed away last June 22, 2008). His cleverness and wittiness when using the English language — and making it hilarious — is perhaps the reason why many talk show hosts consider George Carlin to be one of their influences.

George Carlin’s observational comedy was evident in most of his shows. In an editorial by The Delite, they wrote, “Pretty much all of the great stand-up comics took their focus off the stage at some point and gave it to roles in movies and television — but not George Carlin. While he did take the occasional acting job, Carlin proved his love for writing and performing comedy in front of live audiences was as endless as his talent for doing it. His work was prolific and consistently great.”  

Chris Rock

The first two comedians may have passed on, but not without (in some ways) passing the torch to a person whom we can currently watch in the present day. Because like the veteran entertainers, when it comes to discussing everyday problems and important matters — about what’s going on in our country (but with added humor) — Chris Rock almost never fails to land a joke. You can also see the Richard Pryor and George Carlin influences in him when he does stand-up comedy.

Just like Richard Pryor, Chris Rock also often discussed topics about his upbringing and experiences growing up as an African-American. According to a TimeOut article, “This wild-eyed, ferociously eloquent comedy mainstay used his experiences as a black student targeted by bullies in white schools to build a style of stand-up that challenges American race relations without finger wagging. Appealing to many audiences with his raw observations, unflappable intelligence and gravel-dipped voice, Rock transforms his comedy into a higher form of social discourse without compromising his opinions, whether he’s tearing up the Apollo or the Oscars.”

Robin Williams

What makes stand-up comedians hilarious is how they tell a funny story. However, sometimes, it’s also how they act when they deliver their jokes — and that’s probably why Robin Williams lived a successful life being a stand-up comedian and an actor! Regardless if you watched him do stand-up comedy on a small stage or if you saw his films on the big screen, Robin Williams has quite a hyperactive and creative imagination as well as a playful energy that’s contagious to his audience.

In the same The Delite article, they fondly remember Robin Williams’ stand-up by describing him and his humor as “Another comic who certainly didn’t just stand there and give wry observations [was Robin Williams]. The three-time winner of funniest male stand-up at the American Comedy Awards had more energy on stage than arguably any comedian in history. For examples of his wild style, just listen to his Grammy-winning album, Reality … What a Concept, or see his 2003 Emmy-nominated HBO special, Live on Broadway, the latter of which helped show an entirely new generation his gift on stage after decades of focusing on film roles.”

Dave Chappelle

Some stand-up comedy shows from other listed comedians can be watched on Netflix. Dave Chappelle, however, is probably one comedian that can be recognized the most on the streaming site as many of his previous sketches are uploaded there. He’s also been consistently carrying out show after show despite his hiatus a few years ago. Nevertheless, the comedian came back and he’s just as funny as people remember his sense of humor to be.

In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Dave Chappelle #9 on their list of “50 Best Stand Up Comics of All Time.” Though he’s often plagued by controversies and he’s frequently the topic of the “cancel culture,” he would reiterate that his comic sketches shouldn’t be something that people be easily offended by. He told David Letterman (when he quit Chappelle’s Show), “There’s instances where you do go too far. You’re playing with powerful sh*t, doing jokes about racism, and this -ism and that -ism. To me, I looked at it as an occupational hazard, but I also realized that I was bigger than I was comfortable with … It’s not a bad sketch. But hearing the wrong laugh while you’re dressed that way, it makes you feel shame.”

Other Stand-Up Comedians to Check Out

Not every entertainer’s sense of humor may appeal to you. The great thing about comedy, however, is it’s for everyone. In case you’re looking for other stand-up shows to bring your friends or date, here are a few other comedians you can check out.

Kevin Hart

Kevin Hart is a celebrity who’s familiar to many — as he’s gained worldwide popularity for also appearing on the big screen. But he remains true to his “Hart as he still does stand-up comedy shows. His self-deprecating humor is what many are entertained by. He’s currently on his Reality Check Tour.

Amy Schumer

Amy Schumer is also a household name who proves to people that women can — indeed — be funny! And the success of the Comedy Central series, “Inside Amy Schumer,” is a testament to that. She even couldn’t resist penning a humorous title for her autobiographical book, “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo” (as a reference to the novel, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”).

Jo Koy

Another comedian who appeared on several Comedy Central sketches and Netflix specials is Jo Koy. Many seek his shows as they’re getting a humorous glimpse of what it’s like to be Asian-American and how he balances his American and Filipino upbringing — which helps some audiences understand the lives of minorities better; such as the comedians with African-American roots.

Andrew Schulz

If you chanced upon Andrew Schulz on YouTube before, then you’re getting a sneak peek of what his comedy is like when he does his shows — but on a more chaotic, unhinged, and unfiltered level. That said, he doesn’t hold back! If you think you might be offended by his sense of humor, know that he’s been heckled several times before and he handled those instances hilariously (which shows how good his improv skills are) but that’s also his preferred type of comedy — where he pushes boundaries. Therefore, it’s not for everyone!

Irony — It Can Be Funny!

The best stand-up comedians that the critics voted to be the funniest seem to know exactly how to tickle the audience’s funny bone. In case you didn’t notice, based on the analysts’, most of the ones listed often had real-life issues as the subject of their comics and sketches — such as racism and political matters.

What makes these stand-up comedians great is they’re ingenious enough to turn these serious matters around and make them funny. Because one way or another, these topics need to be discussed — and eventually, resolved. But when these discussions arise among your peers, like these entertainers, keep it light-hearted!


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