My friend Matthew Love just delivered unto us a new list/ranking worth debating over at Rolling Stone, sponsored by HBO’s new series about stand-up comedians, Crashing.
You can read Love’s take (he used to be Time Out New York‘s Comedy Editor) on each of the comedians at Rolling Stone, but here’s a bit of his explainer, followed by just the rankings for you to ponder:
“So you’d think assembling a list of the 50 greatest stand-ups of all time would be easy right? Riiiight. Ha!
In coming up with our version of a comic canon, we weighed artistic merit, technical proficiency and sense of timing, quality of their written material, their delivery and degree of influence — and often, their sense of what makes something, anything, funny. No disrespect to the foundational figures who shaped the earliest incarnations, but this list tiptoes past some of the early craftsmen and focuses on the unique voices who have helped to push stand-up forward in more recent days. These 50 stand-ups best embody what we have come to expect of our modern-day comedians: Someone who can wake us up to the weird, wonderful possibilities of the world around us, impel us to think differently about our own lives – and most of all, make us howl like blithering idiots.”
Big question before you scroll down…where do you think Bill Cosby stands now? OK. Now find out!
How many women do you think made the top 50?
I have some obvious and not-so obvious quibbling about who’s on the list, who’s missing, and where they’re ranked, and so forth (RIP Greg Giraldo, and where’s all-time great joke writer Emo Philips, for starters), but then I look back at how RS had Love compile the list, and there’s that sentence: “this list tiptoes past” and focuses on “more recent days,” so some comedians are getting more credit than perhaps a future list will grant them, respective to those who joked before them. But I’ll save my arguments for the comments section. Won’t you join me?
Rolling Stone’s “50 Best Stand-Ups of All Time” as of Feb. 14, 2017
- Richard Pryor
- George Carlin
- Lenny Bruce
- Louis C.K.
- Chris Rock
- Joan Rivers
- Jerry Seinfeld
- Bill Cosby
- Dave Chappelle
- Mort Sahl
- Steve Martin
- Robin Williams
- Bill Hicks
- Andy Kaufman
- Steven Wright
- Billy Connolly
- Bill Burr
- Kevin Hart
- Albert Brooks
- Mitch Hedberg
- Bob Newhart
- Jonathan Winters
- Don Rickles
- Eddie Izzard
- Eddie Murphy
- Rodney Dangerfield
- Redd Foxx
- Robert Klein
- Dick Gregory
- Woody Allen
- Sarah Silverman
- Patrice Oneal
- Janeane Garofalo
- Patton Oswalt
- Tig Notaro
- Daniel Kitson
- Sam Kinison
- Roseanne Barr
- Moms Mabley
- Garry Shandling
- Bernie Mac
- Phyllis Diller
- Amy Schumer
- Russell Peters
- Freddie Prinze
- Reggie Watts
- Elayne Boosler
- Margaret Cho
- Aziz Ansari
- Wanda Sykes
25 thoughts on “Rolling Stone presents an updated “50 Best Stand-Ups of All Time,” as of 2017”
Not listed in this Top 50: Emo Philips, Greg Giraldo, Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Norm Macdonald, Brian Regan, Billy Crystal, Doug Stanhope, Ray Romano, Dave Attell. Would you make room for any of them in your Top 50? And if so, whom would you bump out? Or is there someone else you feel is even more deserving of all-time praise?
Where’s Paul Mooney, Marsha Warfield, George Wallace, Katt Williams and Eddie Griffin?
Exactly. Where are those folks. And sorry but ck ahead of chris rock? Kevin Hart ahead of Patrice O’Neal?
Also not listed. Richard Jeni,Jackie Mason,Louie Anderson,Howie Mandel,Ricky Gervais,David Brenner,Drew Carey,The Amazing Johnathan,and not known by very many people in the U.S. Tommy Cooper.
how the hell is tig Notaro on this list & Greg Giraldo & Doug Stanhope are left off. Thats completely insane. Nevermind leaving off Dave Attell & putting on Reggie Watts & Amy Schumer
Dave Attell should definitely be up there. He’s a stand-up’s stand-up. He’s definitely above some names on this list: Amy Schumer (and I legit don’t hate her) and Aziz And Sri (he’s not even a stand-up). Norm needs to be up there too. I’m pretty baffled by this list; did Any actual stand-ups help assemble it? Why is Patrice O’Neal ranked so low?
Where’s Norm?? And Attell?
Mort Sahl only at #10?
Pryor is not #!. Carlin is. (Well, not counting Mark Twain.) Actually, Pryor is way too high there
Derry T Fontenot – I agree with you. Carlin’s humor was extremely clever and well constructed. I may be burned at the stake for saying this but Pryor is overrated. Everyone in the business is afraid to say it. And Amy Schumer? Really? Not even in the top 500.
Schumer, Ansari, and Watts shouldn’t be anywhere near this list. Especially when the likes of Norm MacDonald, Colin Quinn, and Dave Attell are absent. Props for giving Patrice O’Neal a spot, albeit too low.
Watts is a comedian? I could list 20 whom don’t belong on this list that are 10x as funny-wait, not 10x because for watts x=0-so I’ll just say 20 that actually get laughs, & that’s just off the top of my head.
Norm, Attell, Regan…… List can’t be taken seriously without them not only on it, but towards the top.
Tig Notaro looks like Denis Leary.
Comedy is subjective but whoever made this list doesn’t know shit about stand-up. I don’t want to point out all of the horrible rankings on this list but I mean, come on, Norm Macdonald is one of the most original comics of all time. Top ten comic of all time. He has tons of amazing material but he doesn’t spew out shitty comedy specials 4 times a year. “Me doing stand up” was amazing. If the people that put this list together knew Norm’s method as a comic or ever did a gig in their lives, they would realize how talented he really is. He has so much material that he just goes on stage with one major idea, one bit that he really likes, and builds his act towards that idea. Also, Attell, and Giraldo would be way up there if I were doing this list. I mean, Giraldo was one of the smartest and quickest guys on stage.
I’ve still yet to see Anthony Jeselnik, Frankie Boyle or Jimmy Carr make one of these lists that is scandelous!
thank you for this comment….this speaks absolute truth and the fact that he is not in the top 50 let alone top 5 makes me realize they dont know shit
I didn’t see David Brenner. I always enjoyed his comedy and think him grossly underrated.
How is Joe Rogan not on this list, but Amy Schumer and Aziz Ansari are? Is this a joke? I guess not, since the list maker obviously doesn’t get jokes. Sheesh.
What about Madeline Kahn??? Loved her!!!
a moronic list..so many great comics should have been on here…cho, hart.etc…are you kidding? ..go get a job cooking hamburgers, you know nothing about comedy..
A list without the King of Cringe (Ricky Gervais) is not one I can take seriously. Likewise, Norm MacDonald, Rogan and Colin Quinn all have to be top 50 easy.
Where’s Fozzie Bear
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