Comedy The Most Original Comedians  

Lisa Waugh
Originally by
35.8k votes 2.7k voters 40.8k views 118 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
1,003 231
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 63 (1951-2014)

2
1,008 195
Richard Pryor is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 65 (1940-2005)

3
946 185
George Carlin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 71 (1937-2008)

4
661 204
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 72

5
743 215
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 57

6
618 192
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 91

7
705 234
Dave Chappelle is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Original Comedians

8
577 211
Monty Python is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Monty Python

9
568 212
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 78 (1911-1989)

10
646 221
Bill Murray is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 67

11
434 180
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)

12
520 181
Carol Burnett is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 84

13
497 185
John Belushi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 33 (1949-1982)

14
385 173
Don Rickles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 91

15
275 93
John Candy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 44 (1950-1994)

16
479 293
Chris Rock is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 53

17
334 169
Gilda Radner is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 43 (1946-1989)

18
285 138
Chris Farley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Original Comedians
little-faye added Dec. at 33 (1964-1997)

19
374 241
Tina Fey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 47

20
324 178
Jonathan Winters is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 88 (1925-2013)

21
341 175
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 80 (1925-2005)

22
333 196
Rowan Atkinson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Original Comedians

23
323 169
Phil Hartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 50 (1948-1998)

24
485 298
Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 56

25
304 162
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 88

26
327 208
Andy Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 35 (1949-1984)

27
232 138
Marty Feldman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 48 (1934-1982)

28
341 268
Louis C.K. is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 50

29
272 159
The Marx Bros. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Original Comedians
The Marx Bros.

30
338 249
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Original Comedians

31
148 79
Steven Wright is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 62

32
315 206
Sam Kinison is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 39 (1953-1992)

33
148 88
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Original Comedians
djoka-dik added Dec. at 55 (1925-1980)

34
163 107
Chevy Chase is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Original Comedians
djoka-dik added age 74

35
227 154
Phyllis Diller is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 95 (1917-2012)

36
302 263
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 55

37
89 48
Bernie Mac is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Johnny B Goode added Dec. at 51 (1957-2008)

38
165 128
Lily Tomlin is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Original Comedians
tina-naylor-riston added age 78

39
289 185
Mitch Hedberg is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 37 (1968-2005)

40
79 27
Jackie Gleason is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Johnny B Goode added Dec. at 71 (1916-1987)

41
191 170
Lenny Bruce is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 41 (1925-1966)

42
251 207
Joan Rivers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 81 (1933-2014)

43
127 89
Bill Burr is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Original Comedians
OldSchooler added age 49

44
210 179
Lewis Black is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Original Comedians
bryan-w-thompson added age 69

45
191 160
Milton Berle is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 94 (1908-2002)

46
241 247
Bill Cosby is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 80

47
179 239
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 82

48
136 83
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 71 (1895-1966)

49
197 193
Elaine May is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 85

50
233 227
Roseanne Barr is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 65