Comedy The Most Original Comedians  

Lisa Waugh
Originally by
35.1k votes 2.6k voters 40.2k views 101 items

List Rules Comedians who were actually groundbreaking and original - not derivative.

Picking the top original comedians may start a bar fight but it's time to weigh in. What is the criteria for choosing some of the top groundbreaking comedians? This list looks at comedians who were the first of their kind, who set trends, established new genres, and broke the comedy mold to pieces. Those who killed while they made some razor sharp points about the state of things. Who had their own style that could not be replicated, try as many might.

Ranked here are original comics who broke down boundaries and changed American pop culture. Which top original comedians shocked the senses, created new comedic wrinkles, and challenged America to challenge itself?

Original comics with an original voice soon get folded into the next generation’s comedy. Milton Berle and Jack Benny were groundbreaking comedians of their time. Bill Hicks called the world out on its very existence. Johnny Carson created late night talk.

Groundbreaking comedians have changed public opinion and influenced politics. Jon Stewart has taken down many an arrogant journalist and political figure by using comedy, logic, and masterful mock news. Tina Fey has done the same. Lenny Bruce and George Carlin questioned every aspect of government and society and pushed limits. Monty Python surrealistically picked apart the British Empire. Amy Schumer brought a brash realism, a fresh voice for women, and taught us all where fudge is made. Dave Chappelle and Richard Pryor will always be considered two of the greats, nearly impossible to conquer.

Then there are those original comedy legends who have fallen from grace. Are they still groundbreaking comedians in light of their misdeeds and scandal? Many think so. Others see original comics like Bill Cosby as icons who did a lot for America’s perception of black families. But in the face of over 35 accusers of drugging and rape, where does he fall in comedy history? How about Woody Allen, who has faced his own public scandals?

Who are your favorite original comics? Do you swing old school or new? Do you mix your original comedy tastes and make choices based on your mood? Upvote your favorite groundbreaking comedians and tell us who should rule the original comics list. Don’t see your favorite original comedy king or queen here? Add it and get the last laugh. We’ll forgive you if you add Dane Cook.
list ordered by

1
994 226
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 63 (1951-2014)

2
1,002 190
Richard Pryor is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 65 (1940-2005)

3
936 181
George Carlin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 71 (1937-2008)

4
655 201
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 72

5
736 211
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 57

6
616 188
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 91

7
698 230
Dave Chappelle is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Original Comedians

8
568 209
Monty Python is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Monty Python

9
562 209
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 78 (1911-1989)

10
638 219
Bill Murray is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 65

11
428 179
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 88 (1889-1977)

12
516 179
Carol Burnett is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 84

13
493 181
John Belushi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 33 (1949-1982)

14
478 285
Chris Rock is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 53

15
269 90
John Candy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 44 (1950-1994)

16
331 164
Gilda Radner is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 43 (1946-1989)

17
379 171
Don Rickles is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 91

18
276 132
Chris Farley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Original Comedians
little-faye added Died at 33 (1964-1997)

19
369 236
Tina Fey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 47

20
319 177
Jonathan Winters is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 88 (1925-2013)

21
338 173
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 80 (1925-2005)

22
325 191
Rowan Atkinson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Original Comedians

23
319 166
Phil Hartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 50 (1948-1998)

24
481 291
Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 56

25
324 203
Andy Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 35 (1949-1984)

26
301 161
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 88

27
230 133
Marty Feldman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 48 (1934-1982)

28
268 156
The Marx Bros. is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Original Comedians
The Marx Bros.

29
334 245
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Original Comedians

30
313 201
Sam Kinison is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 39 (1953-1992)

31
337 264
Louis C.K. is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 50

32
145 87
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Original Comedians
djoka-dik added Died at 55 (1925-1980)

33
144 77
Steven Wright is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 62

34
225 152
Phyllis Diller is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 95 (1917-2012)

35
301 258
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 55

36
164 124
Lily Tomlin is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Original Comedians
tina-naylor-riston added age 78

37
77 25
Jackie Gleason is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Johnny B Goode added Died at 71 (1916-1987)

38
160 105
Chevy Chase is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Original Comedians
djoka-dik added age 74

39
283 184
Mitch Hedberg is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 37 (1968-2005)

40
190 167
Lenny Bruce is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 41 (1925-1966)

41
249 203
Joan Rivers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 81 (1933-2014)

42
87 44
Bernie Mac is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Johnny B Goode added Died at 51 (1957-2008)

43
210 175
Lewis Black is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Original Comedians
bryan-w-thompson added age 69

44
189 158
Milton Berle is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 94 (1908-2002)

45
123 87
Bill Burr is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Original Comedians
OldSchooler added age 49

46
196 190
Elaine May is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 85

47
132 81
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 71 (1895-1966)

48
108 101
Melissa McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Original Comedians
StephenAlgie added age 47

49
210 235
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Original Comedians

50
230 226
Roseanne Barr is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 65