Watchworthy

The Most Original Comedians 

Lisa Waugh
Originally by
Updated July 13, 2020 47k votes 3.4k voters 56.2k views 96 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.

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list ordered by
1
Richard Pryor is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 65 (1940-2005) from Peoria, Illinois, United States of America
2
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 63 (1951-2014) from Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
3
George Carlin is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 71 (1937-2008) from Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America
4
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 57 from New York City, USA, New York
5
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 92 from New York City, New York, United States of America
6
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 73 from Texas, USA, Waco
7
Dave Chappelle is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 45 from Washington, D.C., USA
8
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 78 (1911-1989) from Jamestown, New York, United States of America
9
Bill Murray is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 68 from Wilmette, Illinois, United States of America
10
Carol Burnett is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 85 from San Antonio, Texas, United States of America
11
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 88 (1889-1977) from England
12
Monty Python is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Original Comedians
13
John Belushi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 33 (1949-1982) from Humboldt Park, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
14
Don Rickles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 92 from New York City, USA, New York
15
John Candy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 44 (1950-1994) from Newmarket, Canada
16
Jonathan Winters is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 88 (1925-2013) from USA, Bellbrook, Ohio
17
Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 57 from Canada, Newmarket
18
Chris Rock is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 54 from Andrews, USA, South Carolina
19
Gilda Radner is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 43 (1946-1989) from Detroit, Michigan, United States of America
20
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 80 (1925-2005) from Corning, Quincy Township, Iowa, United States of America
21
Chris Farley is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Original Comedians
little-faye added Dec. at 33 (1964-1997) from Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America
22
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 89 from Oak Park, USA, Illinois
23
Rowan Atkinson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Age 64 from Consett, United Kingdom
24
The Marx Bros. is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Original Comedians
The Marx Bros.
25
Andy Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 35 (1949-1984) from New York City, New York, USA