The Best Male Stand Up Comedians of the '80s
These men are some of the best 80s comedians, all of whom were inspired by the 1970s generation of comics, but made stand up comedy their own. The funniest 80s stand up comedians were in their prime during this decade, but much of their success lasted several decades (and TV shows later).
For instance, before he was a 1990s movie star, Robin Williams was known for being one of the best male comedians of the 80s. From the Comedy Store stages in Los Angeles to the Mork and Mindy soundstage on television, Williams’ reputation as one of the best 80s stand up comedians is what led to his meteoric rise to fame. Robin Williams is one of the funniest 80s comedians to stay famous forever, and the rest of the people on this list of the top 80s comedians will also be a nostalgic trip down comedy lane. Rowan Atkinson is another of the famous 1980s comedians.
Many of the top 80s stand up comedians came from the city of Boston, including Lenny Clarke and Denis Leary. But a list of the best 80s stand ups — or in this case, the best 80s male comedians — would be incomplete without famed jokesters Rodney Dangerfield and Eddie Murphy. It was during this time that Dangerfield became known, not only as one of the funniest 80s male comedians, but also as a legend. Meanwhile, Murphy’s stand up specials solidified him as one of the funniest male comedians of the 80s. Check out this list of great 80s comedians, and specifically great 80s male comedians, like Sam Kinison and Billy Crystal.
Vote up the men you think are some of the funniest 80s stand up comedians. If we are missing any of the iconic 80s comedy actors below, simply add them to the list! Then, check back to see if your favorite eighties comedians topped the list.
- Birthplace: New York, New York, USA
A comedic genius of the 80s, George Carlin delivered groundbreaking stand-up specials that tackled controversial topics and societal norms with unmatched wit and insight. His seminal work, Carlin at Carnegie, featured provocative bits like "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television," which helped redefine the boundaries of humor. His mastery of language, astute observations, and scathing commentary on politics and religion made him an icon in the world of comedy, influencing countless comedians who followed in his footsteps.
- Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
From spontaneous improvisation to poignant storytelling, Robin Williams dazzled audiences with his boundless energy and unparalleled comedic talent throughout the 1980s. His signature style was on full display in specials like An Evening with Robin Williams and A Night at the Met, where he skillfully weaved between characters and voices to create a kaleidoscope of hilarity. Williams' unforgettable performances transcended comedy clubs, leaving a lasting impact on pop culture through iconic film roles in movies like Good Morning, Vietnam and Dead Poets Society.
- Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Eddie Murphy dominated as a stand-up comedian in the '80s by encompassing razor-sharp wit, impeccable timing, and an uncanny ability to mimic characters. In his legendary special Delirious, Murphy showcased unforgettable routines such as his hilarious impersonations of James Brown and Michael Jackson. With his raw talent, Eddie Murphy paved the way for future African American comedians while also becoming a Hollywood powerhouse through box office hits like Beverly Hills Cop and Coming to America.
- Birthplace: Deer Park, New York
Known for his self-deprecating humor and iconic catchphrase, "I don't get no respect," Rodney Dangerfield became a standout figure among 80s comedians with memorable performances like HBO's Nothin' Goes Right. Dangerfield's unique delivery made him a master of one-liners, leaving audiences in stitches as he lamented his lot in life. In addition to his successful stand-up career, Dangerfield made a splash in Hollywood with films like Caddyshack and Easy Money.
- Birthplace: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
An accomplished comedic actor, John Candy also flourished as a stand-up comedian throughout the 1980s. His lovable demeanor and impeccable timing made him a crowd favorite on stage, mixing self-deprecating humor with relatable observations about everyday life. With memorable roles in hit films such as Planes, Trains & Automobiles and Uncle Buck, Candy left an indelible mark on both the comedy club circuit and Hollywood screens alike.
- Birthplace: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Steven Wright's deadpan delivery and delightfully absurd one-liners made him a standout among 1980s comedians. His debut album, I Have a Pony, showcased his signature brand of humor that blended dry wit with surreal observations. Wright's unique style garnered him critical acclaim, including recognition from the Grammy Awards, and influenced a new generation of comedians.