Comedy The Most Original Comedians  

Lisa Waugh
Originally by
35.3k votes 2.6k voters 40.3k 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
996 226
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 63 (1951-2014)

2
1,002 192
Richard Pryor is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 65 (1940-2005)

3
938 182
George Carlin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 71 (1937-2008)

4
656 202
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 72

5
737 212
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 57

6
616 190
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 91

7
698 232
Dave Chappelle is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Original Comedians

8
569 210
Monty Python is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Monty Python

9
563 210
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 78 (1911-1989)

10
639 221
Bill Murray is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 65

11
429 180
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 88 (1889-1977)

12
517 180
Carol Burnett is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 84

13
494 182
John Belushi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 33 (1949-1982)

14
478 287
Chris Rock is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 53

15
271 90
John Candy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 44 (1950-1994)

16
380 172
Don Rickles is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 91

17
331 166
Gilda Radner is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 43 (1946-1989)

18
278 133
Chris Farley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Original Comedians
little-faye added Died at 33 (1964-1997)

19
370 237
Tina Fey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 47

20
320 178
Jonathan Winters is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 88 (1925-2013)

21
327 192
Rowan Atkinson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Original Comedians

22
339 174
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 80 (1925-2005)

23
319 168
Phil Hartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 50 (1948-1998)

24
482 293
Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 56

25
324 205
Andy Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 35 (1949-1984)

26
302 161
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 88

27
230 134
Marty Feldman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 48 (1934-1982)

28
268 157
The Marx Bros. is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Original Comedians
The Marx Bros.

29
335 246
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Original Comedians

30
314 202
Sam Kinison is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 39 (1953-1992)

31
338 265
Louis C.K. is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 50

32
146 88
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Original Comedians
djoka-dik added Died at 55 (1925-1980)

33
226 153
Phyllis Diller is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 95 (1917-2012)

34
144 79
Steven Wright is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 62

35
301 260
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 55

36
164 126
Lily Tomlin is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Original Comedians
tina-naylor-riston added age 78

37
78 26
Jackie Gleason is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Johnny B Goode added Died at 71 (1916-1987)

38
160 107
Chevy Chase is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Original Comedians
djoka-dik added age 74

39
284 185
Mitch Hedberg is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 37 (1968-2005)

40
190 169
Lenny Bruce is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 41 (1925-1966)

41
249 205
Joan Rivers is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 81 (1933-2014)

42
87 46
Bernie Mac is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Johnny B Goode added Died at 51 (1957-2008)

43
210 177
Lewis Black is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Original Comedians
bryan-w-thompson added age 69

44
190 159
Milton Berle is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 94 (1908-2002)

45
124 88
Bill Burr is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Original Comedians
OldSchooler added age 49

46
197 191
Elaine May is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 85

47
232 226
Roseanne Barr is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 65

48
132 83
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 71 (1895-1966)

49
210 237
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Original Comedians

50
108 103
Melissa McCarthy is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Original Comedians
StephenAlgie added age 47