This list ranks the best stand-up comedians in the history of the art form. First and foremost, all of the people on this list are funny comedians. Beyond that, this is a diverse list of people with different styles who approach different types of subject matter. Many of the popular comedians listed below worked their way up through the stand up circuit and eventually landed shows or specials on Netflix or Comedy Central, while others started their own YouTube channels and put their best jokes out into the world that way. The funniest comedians can come from any type of background, obviously there are insanely talented Black, Asian, Latino and white comedians (and everything in between.)
Being a good stand-up comic is tough, and whether they're an observant, an orator, an absurdist, blue collar, or alternative, all of the funny comedians on this list are unique, hardworking, and hilarious. They're some of the biggest and most famous names in the game, whether current or beloved goofy old comics. Many of the best comedians of all time got their start as stand-up comedians and then progressed to star in their own films or TV series. It takes a certain skill set and the ability to connect with people in order to excel at stand-up comedy, and we feel that these are the ones that shine.
This list is made of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians and then some. The top comedians are always changing. Feel free to add your votes on the greatest standups of all time. Then check back to see if any of your favorites broke into the top 20 comedians.
- Photo: Deborah Feingold / Getty Images141,754 VOTES
A pioneer in observational comedy, George Carlin's career spanned five decades and included numerous HBO specials, comedy albums, and roles in films and television. His thought-provoking routines often touched on controversial subjects, including politics, language, and religion, earning him a reputation as a fearless truth-teller.
- Photo: Dave Chappelle: The Closer / Netflix241,136 VOTES
Known for his sharp wit and unapologetic humor, Dave Chappelle gained fame with his groundbreaking sketch comedy series, Chappelle's Show. After a hiatus from the limelight, he made a triumphant return to stand-up comedy with multiple Netflix specials, solidifying his status as one of the greatest comedians of his generation.
- Photo: David Shankbone / Flickr331,135 VOTES
A versatile performer known for his impressions, Eddie Murphy first gained recognition as a cast member on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s. He went on to become a major film star with hits like Beverly Hills Cop and Coming to America, while also maintaining a successful stand-up comedy career that influenced a generation of comedians.
- Photo: Evan Hurd Photography / Getty Images432,753 VOTES
Widely considered one of the most influential comedians of all time, Richard Pryor's raw and honest storytelling about race, relationships, and his own life experiences broke new ground in stand-up comedy. His success extended to film, where he co-wrote and starred in various movies, including Silver Streak and Stir Crazy.
- 537,421 VOTES
A whirlwind of energy and quick wit, Robin Williams gained fame on the sitcom Mork & Mindy before transitioning to a successful film career that included both comedic and dramatic roles. Known for his improv skills and ability to create memorable characters, Williams's high-energy style and unparalleled performances left an indelible mark on the world of comedy.
- 629,424 VOTES
With his confrontational and brutally honest style, Bill Burr has developed a loyal following for his no-holds-barred take on politics, relationships, and societal issues. He gained widespread recognition with his stand-up specials and popular podcast, leading to roles in film and television, including his animated Netflix series F is for Family.