Comedy The Most Original Comedians  

Lisa Waugh
Originally by
36.3k votes 2.7k voters 41.6k views 119 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
1,023 235
Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 63 (1951-2014)

2
958 187
George Carlin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 71 (1937-2008)

3
1,016 200
Richard Pryor is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 65 (1940-2005)

4
669 207
Steve Martin is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 72

5
753 218
Eddie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 57

6
623 193
Mel Brooks is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 91

7
714 238
Dave Chappelle is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Original Comedians

8
586 211
Monty Python is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Monty Python

9
572 216
Lucille Ball is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 78 (1911-1989)

10
651 224
Bill Murray is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 65

11
439 184
Charlie Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 88 (1889-1977)

12
523 186
Carol Burnett is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 84

13
502 185
John Belushi is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 33 (1949-1982)

14
387 177
Don Rickles is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 89

15
281 94
John Candy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 44 (1950-1994)

16
487 295
Chris Rock is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 53

17
336 174
Gilda Radner is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 43 (1946-1989)

18
290 140
Chris Farley is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Original Comedians
little-faye added Dec. at 33 (1964-1997)

19
377 247
Tina Fey is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 47

20
325 181
Jonathan Winters is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 88 (1925-2013)

21
342 199
Rowan Atkinson is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Original Comedians

22
344 177
Johnny Carson is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 80 (1925-2005)

23
326 171
Phil Hartman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 50 (1948-1998)

24
496 301
Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 56

25
332 213
Andy Kaufman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 35 (1949-1984)

26
305 166
Bob Newhart is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 88

27
234 141
Marty Feldman is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 48 (1934-1982)

28
345 273
Louis C.K. is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 50

29
273 162
The Marx Bros. is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Most Original Comedians
The Marx Bros.

30
343 252
Jerry Seinfeld is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Most Original Comedians

31
150 81
Steven Wright is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 62

32
317 210
Sam Kinison is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 39 (1953-1992)

33
149 90
Peter Sellers is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Most Original Comedians
djoka-dik added Dec. at 55 (1925-1980)

34
165 109
Chevy Chase is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Most Original Comedians
djoka-dik added age 74

35
229 158
Phyllis Diller is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 95 (1917-2012)

36
305 266
Jon Stewart is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 55

37
295 187
Mitch Hedberg is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 37 (1968-2005)

38
93 53
Bernie Mac is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Johnny B Goode added Dec. at 51 (1957-2008)

39
166 132
Lily Tomlin is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Most Original Comedians
tina-naylor-riston added age 76

40
80 29
Jackie Gleason is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Johnny B Goode added Dec. at 71 (1916-1987)

41
192 172
Lenny Bruce is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 41 (1925-1966)

42
253 209
Joan Rivers is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Died at 81 (1933-2014)

43
132 90
Bill Burr is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Most Original Comedians
OldSchooler added age 49

44
212 180
Lewis Black is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Most Original Comedians
bryan-w-thompson added age 67

45
192 161
Milton Berle is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 94 (1908-2002)

46
242 253
Bill Cosby is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 80

47
181 243
Woody Allen is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 80

48
137 84
Buster Keaton is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Most Original Comedians
Dec. at 71 (1895-1966)

49
198 196
Elaine May is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Most Original Comedians
age 85

50
213 240
Whoopi Goldberg is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Most Original Comedians