Ranked in a system that combines talent, legacy, and influence on me.
1. Chris Rock - My all time favorite comedian. Arguably one of the top five stand-ups of all time. He’s never too preachy, always topically current, and never plays up the race card too much. He was the first person who inspire me to want to do comedy.
2. Will Ferrell - The best comedic actor of all time. The man improvs entire films. The fact that he does no stand-up and yet is almost number one on my list is a testament to his humor.
3. Larry David - Social commentary at it’s finest. He says what everyone wants to say but doesn’t have the balls to. Master of the awkward situation. And it’s all based off logic. He may be politically incorrect but, socially, he’s completely right. I find similarities between his logic and my own frequently. Also, he’s writer/co-creator of two of the greatest comedies in the history of Television. Also does no stand-up.
4. Patrice O’Neal - First of all, Rest In Peace. It’s a sad that he never blew up like he could’ve. Tremendous talent. He was a surprisingly cerebral guy, all of his jokes were well thought out but never punny. I’d say that he’s as funny as anyone on any list. Gone too soon.
5. Daniel Tosh - Tosh is like a younger Larry David but with even more hilarity and less of the awkward situations. Seven out of ten of his jokes will make you think “I’m going to hell for laughing at this”. You know you shouldn’ laugh but it’s both funny and accurate. And he makes incredible pop-culture references.
6. Jerry Seinfeld - Essentially Larry David’s right hand man. Seinfeld changed the entire sitcom game. His show influenced countless shows and movies. He just understands people. He notices everyday things and makes them hilarious. And it’s all light-hearted stuff, nothing that’ll make you squirm.
7. Louis C.K. - A comic’s comic. Most of his jokes are about his daughters that we don’t even know but yet we can relate so well. His comedy is sometimes downright evil sometimes (in a good way) but, we laugh because we’ve all had similar thoughts.
8. Tina Fey - Tina is another one who understands people so well. She plays both sides of the fence very well. 30 Rock (much-like TGS w/ Tracy Jordan) can have, these intelligent, well thought out jokes, puns, and references and at the same time have these absurdist, “so corny it’s funny”, ridiculous jokes in the same episode. And they’ll both make you laugh just the same. Also, her book Bossypants was basically written for women by a woman and yet, I could relate and it caused me to laugh out loud frequently. Also, another one who makes the list despite me never having seen her do stand-up.
9. Aziz Ansari - No matter how absurd the premise to an Aziz joke is, he makes it believable. His intelligence fuels that, and also makes for some good semi-cerebral jokes. He’s also exciting and animated which, I think makes him a complete comedian. He also makes wonderful pop-culture references. (And he’s good friends with Kanye. The man’s a winner.)
10. Tie: Jim Gaffigan/Demetri Martin - Gaffigan’s jokes are so funny because he thinks about stuff in a different way. And his joke-questioning character makes his stand-up even better.
Demetri Martin can make anything funny, I believe. His deadpan delivery is great. He finds humor in everything. Important Things (much like him) was a clever, intelligent, and hilarious show. And “This Is A Book” was one of the first pieces of literature that made me laugh out loud, all the way through.