Don’t call it a comeback? Famous comedians and stand-up legends coming back on tour

Is 2013 the year that every famous comedian decided to get back into stand-up, or does it just seem that way?

There’s definitely something in the water enticing them all to wade back into the scene.

Just in the past couple of weeks, we’ve heard word of the first stand-up tours in several years from the following: Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Dane Cook, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross.

Chappelle began the first of 10 shows last night of a weeklong run at Montreal’s Just For Laughs, and he’ll co-headline a major tour next month — his first official stand-up tour in about seven years — with Flight of the Conchords for Funny or Die’s Oddball Fest. New Zealand’s Flight of the Conchords also hasn’t properly toured in years since the end of the musical duo’s fanciful HBO series.

Chris Rock, who teased the idea of touring with Chappelle during a rare night performing alongside him earlier this year at The Comedy Cellar (photographed by me, above), will get back on the road at least as a solo act in 2014. Rock has been working on his new material all year in bursts between film projects.

Dane Cook, who hosted a Gala last night at Montreal’s JFL, will headline his first stand-up tour in a few years this fall.

Cook told The Comic’s Comic last night that it just feels like a special time in comedy, and everyone wants to be a part of it.

Bob Odenkirk and David Cross just announced their first official tour together in forever, as they’ll be performing stand-up and sketch, bringing Brian Posehn along for the ride in good measure this fall.

Chris Tucker has gotten back in on the act this year with a global tour. Eddie Griffin’s in the middle of a long tour, himself. Drew Carey performed club dates last weekend. Bob Newhart is on the road, too. As is Lily Tomlin. That’s not to mention other vets of the stand-up game who haven’t come close to retiring after decades onstage, including Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, Don Rickles and Mort Sahl.

Cosby hasn’t come close to retiring, although the biggest news for fans who haven’t seen him recently is that he just recorded his first stand-up comedy special in 30 years, “Bill Cosby: Far From Finished,” which will air in November on Comedy Central.

Even Woody Allen has expressed publicly an interest in returning to stand-up comedy.

Allen told The New York Times last week he was inspired by watching Sahl again onstage at 86 (at a show last month at NYC’s Carlyle Hotel that I also attended): “Watching him, I had the same feeling now, in 2013, as I had when I saw him in 1950-something. Of, “Hey, I’d like to get back onstage and do standup again.” He inspired me then to be a standup comic, and all these years later, I thought of it again because of him. He makes that phenomenon so enticing.”

Among the more elusive stand-up gets, remain Steve Martin (though you can see and hear him be funny in between musical performances on tour with his bluegrass band), Eddie Murphy (who said he’d come back to stand-up, but the closest thing we’ve gotten this year is a new reggae music video with Snoop Lion?!).

Who’d you like to see come back and perform stand-up, either live on tour in a theater near you, or even just recorded on TV or the big screen?

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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