A life without humor is an unworthy life. No matter how stern a person is, they will eventually need some moments to laugh their hearts out. What’s interesting about humor is that you don’t necessarily need to have a huge laugh – a simple smile can act as a relaxant.
Since ancient days, humans have used different methods in the name of leisure. Hunting started as a necessity to get food. When there was enough food for everyone, hunting became a sport. Similarly, people started playing harmless tricks on each other to amuse themselves. With time, these tricks kept evolving.
Humor can be found in various forms – It can be a hidden pun in a serious piece of writing or found in a clown’s circus performance. Whatever the form it takes, the basics vary in the style of conveying and the words a person chooses. The most famous type of humor in modern times comes in the form of standup comedy.
A standup comedian is a person who performs live in front of an audience. They usually use the whole stage while holding a mic. The jokes and other elements of humor are often targeted at the audience. The genres of comedy can range from subtle humor to dark comedy, depending on the audience. Organizations and companies usually hire comedians for their events.
The entertainment industry has given us hundreds of comedians over time. All of them were famous for their unique styles and persona. Among them, there are a few who outshines others by using their wits and cleverness. Let’s take a look at them:
1. George Carlin
Often regarded as the greatest comedian of all time, George Carlin was an inspiration to so many comedians. George was an American, and his comedy was nothing like nonsensical jokes. He was a marvelous orator who used his talents to address social and political issues.
George’s comedy routine “Seven Dirty Words” was the center of the famous FCC vs. Pacifica Foundation case. The words that he enlisted were actually meant to never be used on television. He had woven a humorous routine around them, which triggered a man for indecency.
It’s bad for ya was George’s last comedy special. He died four months after its release. The show received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy Special. The overall album won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album, which was given posthumously.
2. Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor was another comedian of the past who was widely listed as one of the top comedians of all time! He was a black American who never feared speaking his heart out loud. Richard used his comedy style to comment on social issues like racism and injustice. He would often use profanities and other vulgar elements.
Richard’s special comedy Live in Concert was a huge success. He mimicked his way throughout the show, and every joke of his was met with laughter. His mimicking skills were flawless – dogs, children, and himself after enduring a heart attack. He did them all perfectly. He died in December 2005 after having a third heart attack.
3. Robin Williams
Robin’s name requires no formal introduction. He was a universal darling whose suicide shook the world. Before starting his acting career, Robin Williams was a standup comedian. He did very well for himself by throwing dark yet witty jokes at his audience. He was famous for instantly improvising into characters during his shows and in his movies.
In 1988, Robin won the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album for his show “An Evening at Met.” He joked about sensitive topics such as pregnancy, return of Jesus, effects of drugs, and childbirth. After suffering from long-term depression and anxiety, Robin committed suicide in August 2014.
4. Dave Chappelle
A remarkably consistent comedian from the 2000s, Dave Chappelle, is a favorite among many. His standup comedy shows ranked high in the lists, especially in the early 2000s. Like other black comedians, his focus was to address police brutality, racism, and other social issues.
In July 2000, Dave’s best comedy special came out. Killin’ Them Softly ranked number 6 at Rolling Stones 25 Best Standup Specials of All Time.
To date, it is the highest-rated show of Dave’s career. He has also received America’s highest comedy honor, the Mark Twain Prize for Humor.
5. Eddie Murphy
Fun Fact: Eddie Murphy gave the voice to our favorite dragon, Mushu from Disney’s Mulan.
Eddie was a successful standup comedian before switching his career to acting and giving his voice to characters. In fact, he is an inspirational figure to the new comedians.
His most famous show was Delirious that aired in 1983. The 70 minutes long show was not for a young audience as it had a total of 501 slurs and cuss words. Despite using homophobic remarks and vulgarities, the show was very well received. Of course, Eddie apologized for his insensitive statements later on. This show opened Eddie’s way to a successful movie career.
6. Chris Rock
Chris is an American comedian and actor who enjoyed his peak during the late 1990s. He was already famous for his movies when he came up with the most successful show of his career – Bring the Pain. He talked about American Politics as well his favorite topics of dating and marriage.
Chris is a recipient of four Emmy Awards and three Grammy Awards for his outstanding performances as a comedian. He has also hosted the Academy Award ceremony twice – in 2005 and 2016.
7. Louis C.K.
The controversial American-Mexican comedian and actor have lived a life of many ups and downs. Despite all this, he has received three Peabody Awards, six Primetime Emmy Awards, and two Grammy Awards for the Best Comedy Albums. While he stands high on the list of best comedians, Louis’s jokes can trigger some people.
One of the best performances by Louise came in the form of his comedy special, Chewed Up. His comedy routine revolved around white privilege, terrorist attacks, obesity issues, using slang language, and many other sensitive topics. The show was released in 2008 and made it to DVD only.
8. Jerry Seinfeld
Imagine a comedian so famous that he worked in a sitcom that was partially made on his own personality? You guessed that right; it’s Jerry Seinfeld. The sitcom Seinfeld is widely acclaimed as one of the best sitcoms of all time. Jerry’s character was loosely based on his own life, which made the show quite original. The show ran from 1989 to 1998. It received many accolades throughout the years, including Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, and Screen Actors Guild Award for Ensemble cast.
A Comedian’s Life
The profession of comedy is not an easy one. Sometimes, the comedians have to make fun of themselves to earn a few bucks. Many struggling comedians give up every year for not getting enough support. It must also be kept in mind that the jokes these comedians use are meant for the performances only. In no way do they support insults or mockery to anyone. It is often seen that comedians live a dark life behind their happy façade.
They may be successful in making the world laugh, but the people take their wits for granted. These precious people should always be cherished as they struggle every day with their own battles to make us smile.