The Quick Report

The 15 Best Stand-Up Comedians of All Time

Sometimes, you just want to unwind and watch a comedian stand on a stage and tell some jokes. But there are so many funny folks out there that it can be tough deciding on which one to watch. Here are the 15 best stand-up comics you should watch!

Eddie Murphy

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Eddie Murphy is hilarious in his film roles, but he really shines in his stand-up specials. His mixture of charming wit and rapid punchline delivery make him very engaging to watch, and he’s one of the format’s foremost storytelling comedians.

Chris Rock

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Chris Rock is more than just a man who is easy to mimic. Yes, his exaggerated vocal mannerisms make him a touch predictable, but they also add a sonic structure to his jokes that allow his punchlines to hit with maximum force.

Sarah Silverman

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Sarah Silverman’s greatest comedic talent is her uncanny ability to deliver scathing, riotously funny jokes with a completely straight face. She’s one of the format’s best deadpan comedians, selling the outright absurdity of her tall tales with her stony disposition.

John Mulaney

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When a person’s outward appearance doesn’t quite gel with their personality and the content of their jokes, there’s an inherent comedic tension that cuts through every line. That’s on full display with John Mulaney, an ostensibly straight-laced man who tells jokes that will make your grandma blush.

Patrice O’Neal

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Patrice O’Neal tragically passed away from a stroke in 2011, but he left us with numerous stand-up specials and laughs. The Office star’s incisive observations regarding relationships mixed with his hilarious delivery to create memorable comedy stemming from everyday situations.

George Carlin

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Some comedians are inimitable, and George Carlin is one of them. His dry, deadpan humor and often rage-fueled rants make for a distinctive comedic voice. Carlin suffered no fools and would often use his platform to call out behavior he considered hypocritical or wrong—and more often than not he’d land himself in hot water for his trouble.

Mitch Hedberg

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If you love short, absurd one-liners, then Mitch Hedberg is going to be your favorite comedian. His style of humor is witty, punchy, and includes tons of one-line jokes that function as set-up and punchline simultaneously. While he passed away in 2005, his legacy still towers over stand-up.

Wanda Sykes

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If you’re looking for a high-energy comedian with a distinctive voice—both figuratively and literally—check out Wanda Sykes’ stand-up specials. You might know her better for her voice over work in video games and animated films, but she’s even more electrifying when she’s on stage in her own element.

Bo Burnham

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Bo Burnham’s stand-up is, in a word, involved. He’s a genius in every sense of the word and often accompanies his comedy routine with live music, ranging from parody songs to full-blown long-form jokes in musical form. It’s a lot to chew on, but routinely hilarious.

Leslie Jones

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Leslie Jones was, interestingly enough, mentored by Jamie Foxx and eventually seen by Chris Rock, who gave her name to many comedy managers. She was later catapulted to fame by her hilarious turn on Saturday Night Live. She’s got a boisterous, far-ranging comedic style that is as dynamic as it is side-splitting.

Eric Andre

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Eric Andre does a lot of voiceover work and has his own off-the-wall talk show on Adult Swim—the aptly named Eric Andre Show. Fans of absurdist or surreal humor love Andre for his biting and satirical comedy. His stand-up carries much of this same energy!

Adam Sandler

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You might know Adam Sandler best for his roles in films, but he’s also hilarious behind the mic. His comedy specials from the 90s remain some of the funniest stand-up routines in the history of the format. His goofy voices, physical presence, and lovable personality make him an easy comic to love.

Robin Williams

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Robin Williams brought joy, love, and laughter into the lives of many with his roles in films and TV and his comedy. His stand-up routines are a bit less family friendly than, say, his roles in Aladdin or Hook. However, they’re no less warm, engrossing, or smile-inducing.

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Redd Foxx

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Redd Foxx (who is not, contrary to popular belief, Jamie Foxx’s father or uncle) is perhaps best known for his role as Fred G. Sanford in the beloved comedy show Sanford and Son. His over-the-top facial expressions and superb physical comedy paired with his raunchy, sometimes crass, jokes.

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Richard Pryor

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One of the funniest people to ever tell jokes in front of audiences was Richard Pryor, who passed away in 2005. He was renowned for his intimate, often tragic, storytelling that would cause audiences to sympathize with him before pulling the rug out from under them with absurd punchlines.

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