1. George Carlin
Studied by many, George Carlin was an innovator His talent was to mix social and political observations with word-play, making him second on the Comedy Central list of the 100 greatest stand-up comedians of all time, being considered to be one of the great classics in comedy. Analysis of language, euphemism and jargon was one of his favorite subjects. He also satirized our way of living with phrases like : “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.”
2. Bill Cosby
A comedian many grew up listening to, Bill Cosby wasn’t just an on the spot stand-up artist, he was also a great story teller. With real life stories about behavior and family situations you could feel involved in the show because you could actually relate to most of his sayings. Staring in one of the most defining sitcoms, like “The Bill Cosby Show”, ”The Electric Company” and “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids”. In 2002 he was included in the book “The 100 Greatest African Americans”. He also volunteered himself to promote the Partnership for a Drug Free America’s campaign to deglamorize drugs in the 1990s, writing the script and discouraging the use of illegal drugs by young people.
3. Lenny Bruce
Starting his life defining career at the age of 22 in a nightclub in Brooklyn, Lenny Bruce continued doing gigs in the New York–New Jersey area and eventually won Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts Show in 1948, and began to get booked in better venues, such as New York’s Strand, and make enough money to support himself. He was declared Bankrupt in 1965,and on August 3, at the age of 40, he was found dead of a morphine overdose in his home. He paved the way to allow free speech for comedians in entertainment, and his love for comedy and for the ability to speak freely in your country inspired many who followed.
4. Richard Pryor
By his full name Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor, he was an all time favorite. In 1963 he moved to New York City, only to make his debut on the “On Broadway Tonight” variety show the following year. He made guest appearances on shows such as “The Merv Griffin Show” and “The Ed Sullivan Show”. He was influenced by Bill Cosby and Dick Gregory, two comedians he greatly admired. He shared his pains and concerns and pleaded with the audience to like him.
5. Bill Hicks
Getting in trouble for telling the truth didn’t stop him from becoming one of the most honest comedians. He began earning a living from stand up while he was still in high school. Having a particular disdain for pop culture, he challenged the minds of his audiences by proposing issues like politics and sexuality.
6. Bob Hope
Born in 1903, well known for his contribution in radio, in movies, on television, and in live shows, he made a reputation for his efforts to entertain and boost the morale of American military all over the world and for his numerous appearances and his million dollar donations in the name of various charities. When he was 75, he continued to shoot television specials, tour the world and run NBC. Known also for never making a re-run and always wanting his material to be fresh, although he never wrote all of his material by himself , and actually had a writing staff available all the time.
7. Paula Poundstone
She is one of the best female stand up comedians Approaching humor from a different perspective, like for example making fun of her own suicide attempt, she really surprised the crowds. Also writing her own material, she shares her pains in a funny way.
8. Jerry Seinfeld
He took observational material to a whole new level. So much so, that he made a show called “The Seinfeld Chronicles.” and it was nearly canceled in its first airing. It came back as “Seinfeld.” and ir ran for 9 years. He then decided by himself to end the run. He is currently doing stand up again.
9. Eddie Murphy
Born on April 3, 1961, he started doing stand up when he was a teenager and later joined “Saturday Night Live”. He was ranked No. 10 on Comedy Central’s list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. At 21, he co-starred in “48 Hours” and went on to success with “Trading Places” and “Beverly Hills Cop”. Eddie won the 2007 Best Supporting Actor and the Motion Picture Golden Globe Award for his role in Dream girls and was also nominated several times for Emmy Awards.
10. Steve Martin
Born in Texas, he began performing in 1967 while still in college. He won and Emmy in 1969 and is known to be the best-selling comedian and actor. He is also an accomplished author, musician and play writer.