The Funniest Alternative Comedians of All Time


This list contains information about the best alternative comedians, loosely ranked by user votes. The best alt comedians come in many forms. Some famous alternative comedians got their start at Largo in Los Angeles while other alternative stand-ups find the funny in absurd TV series. A few hilarious alternative comedians have gone on to become some of the most successful stand-ups in the world.

Who will you find on this top alternative comedians list? Patton Oswalt has to be at the top. Oswalt came up in the alternative comedy scene in the late-1990s. He later teamed-up with fellow alt-comics Maria Bamford, Brian Posehn, and Zach Galifianakis on the Comedians of Comedy Tour bringing their underground humor all over the country. Todd Barry is another hilarious comedian who emerged from the alt comedy scene.

In many ways – including hosting stand-up shows and booking alt-comics on her TV series – Sarah Silverman has helped countless alternative stand-up acts to get mainstream exposure. Other hilarious alternative comics featured on this list include Janeane Garofalo, Dana Gould, and David Cross.

Do you have a favorite alternative comedian? Give the best comics a thumbs up and share some of your favorite jokes in the comments section.


Ranked by
  • Bob Odenkirk
    Saturday Night Live, Breaking Bad, Nebraska
    294 votes
    • Birthplace: Berwyn, Illinois, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America

    Bob Odenkirk has been a prominent figure in alternative comedy, making a name for himself through writing and acting in shows like Mr. Show with Bob and David and The Ben Stiller Show. His unique blend of absurd humor and satire has secured him as an influential figure in the comedy world. Recently, he has transitioned into a successful dramatic acting career with his role on Better Call Saul.

  • Dave Chappelle
    Block Party, Half Baked, Chappelle's Show
    374 votes
    • Birthplace: Washington, D.C.
    • Nationality: United States of America

    Dave Chappelle is renowned for his ability to tackle controversial subjects with wit and fearlessness, as showcased in his legendary sketch comedy show Chappelle's Show and his numerous stand-up specials. His impactful, thought-provoking humor has earned him numerous accolades and respect across the diverse comedy landscape. Despite taking a hiatus from the limelight for some years, Chappelle remains one of the most influential comedians of our time.

  • Mel Brooks
    The Producers, Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles
    85 votes
    • Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America

    Mel Brooks is considered a legend for pioneering a genre of comedy by blending satire, slapstick, and parody in iconic films such as The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein. As a multi-hyphenate talent, he has extended his reach as a writer, director, composer, and actor, leaving a notable mark on the comedy industry. Throughout his decades-long career, Brooks has displayed his unwavering dedication to pushing comedic boundaries.

  • Zach Galifianakis
    The Hangover, Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), The Hangover Part II
    291 votes
    • Birthplace: Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA
    • Nationality: United States of America

    Zach Galifianakis catapulted to fame with his offbeat stand-up routines and talk show Between Two Ferns, showcasing his deadpan humor and irreverent style. His eclectic career includes roles in blockbuster movies like The Hangover series and critically acclaimed indie films such as Birdman. Galifianakis's quirky persona and knack for awkward interactions have cemented him as a favorite among alternative comedy fans.

  • Flight of the Conchords

    Flight of the Conchords

    169 votes

    Flight of the Conchords, the New Zealand musical comedy duo consisting of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, have charmed audiences with their witty lyrics and deadpan delivery. Their self-titled HBO series brought them to international fame and showcased their unique blend of comedy, character development, and heartfelt storytelling. The duo's talent for combining humor and music in unexpected ways has solidified them as an original force in the world of alternative comedy.

  • John Mulaney

    John Mulaney

    Saturday Night Live, Mulaney
    266 votes
    • Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois
    • Nationality: United States of America

    John Mulaney is a gifted stand-up comedian known for his sharp wit, clever storytelling, and incredible timing. His comedy specials, such as New in Town and Kid Gorgeous, have garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated fan base. Mulaney's versatility extends to television, where he has written for Saturday Night Live and created the short-lived but beloved series Mulaney.