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Comedians Who Use Stage Names

Updated June 14, 2019 2.0k votes 180 voters 17.2k views41 items

List RulesVote on the most surprising given name of these comedians

These comedians knew that it's tough to make a name in comedy and that literally making themselves a stage name was the best way to get a leg up in a sea of all the other folks trying to break into show business.

A number of the stand-up comedians and comedic actors on this list simplified their last names to make what they were called catchier or easier to remember. Judy Holliday was born Judith Tuvim and as tovim means "good" in Hebrew and yomtoyvim means holidays, or literally "good days" in Yiddish, her stage name is simply a loose translation of what she was born with. Others changed their names for stranger reasons. Stan Laurel was born Arthur Stanly Jefferson but felt that the 13 letter length of "Stan Jefferson," his original stage name, was unlucky which is why we don't know his comedic team as "Jefferson and Hardy."

This list of famous stage names includes comedians who go by nicknames and famous people who have changed their names. It does not, however, include comedians who use their married surnames professionally, had their names legally changed as children, or celebrities with obviously theatrical stage names. It's pretty clear that "the Cable Guy" isn't Larry's last name.

Some of the names you know for these comedians aren't even the names they were born with or their legal names. Rodney Dangerfield was born Jacob Rodney Cohen and legally changed his name to Jack Roy when he was 19, not taking on his well-known stage name until some years later. Which of these comedians have the most surprising birth names?

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  • Gene Wilder - born Jerome Silberman1
    78
    26

    Gene Wilder - born Jerome Silberman

    Young Frankenstein, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

    Age87

    BirthplaceMilwaukee, Wisconsin, United States of America

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  • Mel Brooks - born Melvin Kaminsky2
    71
    24

    Mel Brooks - born Melvin Kaminsky

    The Producers, Spaceballs

    Age94

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

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  • Bob Hope - born Leslie Townes Hope3
    52
    12

    Bob Hope - born Leslie Townes Hope

    The Bob Hope Show, The 50th Annual Academy Awards

    AgeDied at 100 (1903-2003)

    BirthplaceLondon, England

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  • Stan Laurel - born Arthur Stanley Jefferson4
    50
    13

    Stan Laurel - born Arthur Stanley Jefferson

    The Flying Deuces, Sons of the Desert

    AgeDec. at 75 (1890-1965)

    BirthplaceUlverston, United Kingdom

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  • Oliver Hardy - born Norvell Hardy5
    49
    13

    Oliver Hardy - born Norvell Hardy

    The Flying Deuces, Sons of the Desert

    AgeDec. at 65 (1892-1957)

    BirthplaceHarlem, Georgia, United States of America

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  • Rodney Dangerfield - born Jacob Cohen6
    54
    19

    Rodney Dangerfield - born Jacob Cohen

    Back to School, Rover Dangerfield

    AgeDec. at 83 (1921-2004)

    BirthplaceDeer Park, New York, United States of America

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  • Tim Allen - born Timothy Alan Dick7
    63
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    Tim Allen - born Timothy Alan Dick

    Home Improvement, Toy Story

    Age67

    BirthplaceDenver, Colorado, United States of America

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  • Chevy Chase - born Cornelius Crane Chase8
    61
    29

    Chevy Chase - born Cornelius Crane Chase

    Christmas Vacation, Caddyshack

    Age77

    BirthplaceNew York City, USA, New York, Lower Manhattan

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  • George Burns - born Nathan Birnbaum9
    41
    13

    George Burns - born Nathan Birnbaum

    The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Oh

    AgeDec. at 100 (1896-1996)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    George Burns (born Nathan Birnbaum; Yiddish: נתן בירנבוים‎; January 20, 1896 – March 9, 1996)...  more

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  • Dean Martin - born Dino Paul Crocetti10
    36
    19

    Dean Martin - born Dino Paul Crocetti

    The Dean Martin Show, The Colgate Comedy Hour

    AgeDec. at 78 (1917-1995)

    BirthplaceSteubenville, Ohio, United States of America

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  • W. C. Fields - born William Claude Dukenfield11
    32
    14

    W. C. Fields - born William Claude Dukenfield

    The Bank Dick, David Copperfield

    AgeDec. at 66 (1880-1946)

    BirthplaceUSA, Darby, Pennsylvania

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  • Jack Benny - Benjamin Kubelsky12
    32
    18

    Jack Benny - Benjamin Kubelsky

    The Jack Benny Program, To be or not To Be

    AgeDec. at 80 (1894-1974)

    BirthplaceUSA, Chicago, Illinois

    Jack Benny (born Benjamin Kubelsky, February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974) (often called...  more

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  • Jamie Foxx - born Eric Marlon Bishop13
    35
    23

    Jamie Foxx - born Eric Marlon Bishop

    Django Unchained, Collateral

    Age52

    BirthplaceTerrell, Texas, United States of America

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  • Mel Blanc - born Melvin Jerome Blank14
    29
    17

    Mel Blanc - born Melvin Jerome Blank

    The Flintstones, The Bugs Bunny/Looney Tunes Comedy Hour

    AgeDec. at 81 (1908-1989)

    BirthplaceCalifornia, United States of America

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  • Peter Sellers - born Richard Henry Sellers15
    27
    16

    Peter Sellers - born Richard Henry Sellers

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, Being There

    AgeDec. at 55 (1925-1980)

    BirthplaceSouth East England, Eurasia, South West England, Dorset, United Kingdom

    Peter Sellers, CBE (born Richard Henry Sellers; 8 September 1925 – 24 July 1980) was an...  more

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  • Benny Hill - born Alfred Hawthorn Hill16
    28
    17

    Benny Hill - born Alfred Hawthorn Hill

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Italian Job

    AgeDec. at 68 (1924-1992)

    BirthplaceSouthampton, United Kingdom

    Alfred Hawthorne "Benny" Hill (21 January 1924 – 20 April 1992) was an English comedian and...  more

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  • Danny Thomas - born Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz17
    25
    14

    Danny Thomas - born Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Kairouz

    The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show

    AgeDec. at 79 (1912-1991)

    BirthplaceDeerfield, Michigan, United States of America

    Danny Thomas (born Amos Muzyad Yaqoob Kairouz; January 6, 1912 – February 6, 1991) was an...  more

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  • Milton Berle - born Milton Berlinger18
    26
    16

    Milton Berle - born Milton Berlinger

    AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs: America's Funniest Movies, The Hollywood Palace

    AgeDec. at 94 (1908-2002)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

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  • James Garner - born James Scott Bumgarner19
    23
    12

    James Garner - born James Scott Bumgarner

    The Rockford Files, The Notebook

    AgeDied at 86 (1928-2014)

    BirthplaceNorman, Oklahoma, USA

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  • Judy Holliday - born Judith Tuvim20
    19
    9

    Judy Holliday - born Judith Tuvim

    On the Town, Adam's Rib

    AgeDec. at 44 (1921-1965)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York, United States of America

    Judy Holliday (born Judith Tuvim, June 21, 1921 – June 7, 1965) was an American actress,...  more

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  • Freddie Prinze - born Frederick Karl Pruetzel21
    27
    20

    Freddie Prinze - born Frederick Karl Pruetzel

    Chico and the Man, The Million Dollar Rip-Off

    AgeDec. at 23 (1954-1977)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

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  • Lily Tomlin - born Mary Jean Tomlin22
    25
    19

    Lily Tomlin - born Mary Jean Tomlin

    I Heart Huckabees, Nine to Five

    Age81

    BirthplaceDetroit, Michigan, United States of America

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  • Kevin James - born Kevin George Knipfing23
    25
    21

    Kevin James - born Kevin George Knipfing

    The King of Queens, Here Comes the Boom

    Age55

    BirthplaceMineola, New York, United States of America

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  • Al Jolson - born Asa Yoelson24
    19
    13

    Al Jolson - born Asa Yoelson

    Goodfellas, The Jolson Story

    AgeDec. at 64 (1886-1950)

    BirthplaceSeredžius, Lithuania

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  • Joan Rivers - born Joan Alexandra Molinsky25
    31
    29

    Joan Rivers - born Joan Alexandra Molinsky

    Fashion Police, The Joan Rivers Show

    AgeDec. at 81 (1933-2014)

    BirthplaceNew York City, New York

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