This is just how I would have to rank a Top 5 of past and present comics. The amount of comics throughout the past 60 years is to hard to figure out and add-up. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a comedian say something along the lines as “Yeh, we’re a small group us comics”. But they’re Not! Relative to Walmart workers, well ‘Yes’, they would be a small group. Yet if we are comparing their numbers to Deep Sea Underwater Welders or Navy Seals, then ‘NO’, there are numerous comedians.
Comics are in all different aspects of the world of Show-Biz. There are strictly Stand-up’s, or strictly writers, or strictly comedic actors, and/or a combination of a little of each.
I personally give my highest admiration to comics that are road dogs who have grind it out over the years. I like comics that have acted a little, but mostly ones that just seem to come alive when they are on stage. Most comics are that way in the sense that off-stage they are a totally different person vs on-stage.
So here’s my Top 5
1: George Carlin – Hands down the best there ever was. Any comic that even thinks they have a new “unique” look, take, or perspective on a topic, would be hard pressed not to find out Carlin probably already covered it. If you’ve never watched all of his HBO specials I recommend to do that asap.
2: Doug Stanhope – Some people will go “Who?” , while others in the know are saying “Hell Fuckin’ Yeah!” Doug’s drunken cantankerous charm is how he is able to win people over or to acquire the fanbase he has lovingly referred to as ‘The Killer Termites’. Check out his merch and tour date info on his site at www.dougstanhope.com
3: Rodney Dangerfield – The absolute King of one-liners (no disrespect to Steven Wright and Mitch Hedberg or even Mark Normand). Just search youtube and check out Rodney’s classic material. If that’s not enough to prove to you then check out the movies Easy Money and Back to School and I’ll even say Caddyshack , even though he only had a few scenes. Check out the website of the legend.
4: Dave Chappelle – Been at the game since a teenager doing stand-up at clubs around D.C. , now in his mid-40s and still going strong. Pops in at the legendary Comedy Store in L.A. all the time according to all the twitter posts I see posted by the Comedy Store’s and/or other comics twitter feeds. His first 3 specials were amazing. That half-hour one he did for Showtime(i think) in the late 90’s was too F’n funny. But he can ride the praise and accolades from the success of one of the All Time Great sketch shows The Chappelle Show from here to eternity. But he doesn’t. Chappelle still hones his craft on the stages all over the U.S. if not the world.
5: Bill Burr – Did a lot of debating to put the curmudgeon ole’ freckles on my list. I seen him pop up throughout the years on various comedy specials, but never as a 1 man special, that was until I seen the Why Do I Do This? special. I assume others took note too, because the rise that Bill has taken in the past decade is truly amazing. I think the only other comedian that has exceeded in terms of popularity and especially ticket sales, would be Kevin Hart. But Bill sells out large venues on a regular basis. Like every other year he puts out a special. His podcast is one of the top-rated on all lists (just google it) and he co-started the AllThingsComedy.com website with Al Madrigal.
Honorable mention in no specific order. Dave Attell , Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, Billy Crystal(totally underrated as a stand-up and as a comedic actor/writer), Patton Oswalt, David Cross, Kathleen Madigan, Kyle Kinane , Jim Gaffigan, Janeane Garofalo, and numerous others……..there are SO many comics.