No Right Answer: Best Standup Comedian Ever

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I love Carlin, but I think I'd have to go with Cosby. His standup was funny, his shows were funny, and I recently picked up one of his books and, spoiler warning, it was funny. Carlin was very much an adult comedian and liked to push the envelope. Cosby managed to keep it tame, allowing adults and their children to love his work. Ultimately he managed to make more diverse groups of people laugh and that makes him a better comedian.

Monty McDougal:

SnootyEnglishman:

I'd also like to add in Jim Gaffigan, Lewis Black, Gabriel Iglesias.

great choices man. Jim Gaffigan is my personal favourite but I would say that Carlin is the best ever.

But of course. I was just adding in my two cents..

Who's the one that doesn't count that the hand was trying to say?

You seem to forget people, the best comedian of all time has to be without a single strand of a doubt, Richard Pryor!!!

Since he just asked about the best comidian in the last sentence, I am just gonna ignore the stand-up part and show you the best comedian of all time. Hope you guys don't mind german, but there are subtitles.

maybe it's just the prejudice puritan in me, but i know that the best comedian has to be British.

that being said, donald glover is pretty damn funny

I'd have to go with Carlin. For many people here on the Escapist, myself included, the man is our patron saint.

Actually, for many people here on the Escapist, the patron saint is either Carlin or Stephen Fry, but Fry isn't a comedian.

Both are legends in their own right, but my vote goes to Carlin. The man embodies what good humor is about. It's about breaking boundaries. It's about challenging are perspective on life. It's about having a good time. Carlin wins for this reason.

Eddie Izzard is my favorite stand-up

But I do have to concede that Carlin is the best.

George Carlin without a doubt. And your choice is weird. You should have said Carlin is the best, and then choose the second best between some other two comedians...Carlin doesn't have a competition.
And why Cobsy, I mean he's great, but next to Eddie Murphy, Eddie Izzard, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Jim Carrey (not necessarily in that order), and many aforementioned comedians...I personally think of Chris Rock before Cosby...but that's just me.

Carlin wins, hands fucking down!

However, If I had to chose a contestant for "most unique stand-up comedian", I'd definitely throw Steven Wright into the ring.

*Edit* Seriously, though. I have never seen anyone do what Steven Wright does. I mean, his stand-up comedy is so hilariously depressing.

If it's not Carlin, it's Doug Stanhope.

I think it's kind of funny how people keep saying we "forgot" to mention this or that comedian in our debate. When you debate with only two options, it's not "forgetting," it's "excluding." Just a point of clarity there. :)

Also, were we to keep going, I'd have added Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, Louis C.K., Eddie Izzard, Jerry Seinfeld, Rodney Dangerfield, and Dave Chappelle to my favorites. But, you know, only one choice per side.

ShinobiJedi42:
I would contend that Steve Martin is the greatest comedian of all time... He is a talented musician, writer, actor, comedian, and all around great guy. Carlin can't even touch Steve Martin when it comes to being a Renaissance Man...

While I think it might be a bit outside the parameters of this debate, Steve Martin is definitely a strong contender for best all-around talented guy. He's won various awards for his music, and done a ton of writing. And to really blow your mind, he came up with the idea for, and produced, the movie "Traitor" (staring Don Cheadle). Kind of makes me wonder what else he's done that isn't immediately apparent.

Trucken:
No, I disagree. There are many fantastic stand-up comedians, like Eddie Izzard, Dave Chappelle and Eddie Murphy. But there is only one man at the top, and that man is Christopher Titus.

he didnt make me laugh though it was a funny story

definitely way below those other comedian you listed.

humour is subjective though so.

Me I'm going to say there is no best standup there are great ones but the essence of stand up is soaring highs and cavernous lows.

I've seen so many it's not worth listing. carlin is up there but he's more of a preacher than he is funny.

doug stanhope made me laugh hard but he goes up and down. louis ck is up there for me.

Sarah Millican very british a lot wouldnt get her. Ross Noble, Omid Djalili, Tim Minchin can be good at times. Billy Connolly's old stuff. Sean Lock was good.

Comedy is also rooted in the times, it's hard to be funny in ages past because you are less relevant. Carlin and Pryor are timeless comedians.

Cosby I've never seen. Much mainstream American comedy I don't find that funny. I like edgy stuff.

My first thought when I saw the subject was George Carlin. I was worried at the beginning of the episode when I saw the Seinfeld DVD. He's good, but not in the same league. I have to admit, Cosby is clear choice. As soon as you said that, I had to admit that it was far closer than I would have thought. Cosby just had so long on the Cosby Show and commercials that a lot of people don't remember his stand-up days.

I'm glad someone mentioned Bill Hicks. He might have been better than either, but he died tragically too soon. If the debate is best "ever," you really have to show some longevity. Hicks never got the chance to prove he could entertain generations. And the world is a sadder place because of that.

InTheEnd:
Since he just asked about the best comidian in the last sentence, I am just gonna ignore the stand-up part and show you the best comedian of all time. Hope you guys don't mind german, but there are subtitles.

Germans have a strange sense of humour.

between this and schlager musik they should just stick to making cars ;P

however I found die ludolfs quite funny.

Carlin, Hicks, and then everybody else can fight for a distant 3rd.

all the regulars from mock the week, dylan moran and john bishop

Carlin easily, Cosby would make my top five, but at the bottom of the list. Richard Pryor was funnier than Cosby

1. George Carlin
2. Richard Pryor
3. Patten Oswald
4. Eddie Izzard
5. Bill Cosby

Gizmo1990:
I don't like Carlin or Cosby but then I am not american so it is possible that I did not get half the jokes when I have watched both of them in the past.

I don't find them funny either. In fact I find Carlin hugely irritating, and Bill Hicks (another one Americans seem to love) isn't funny either.

Carlin of the two, but that's not to say Cosby isn't wearing a crown of comedy as well. But for the more recent entries, I'd go Louis C.K., Christopher Titus, maybe throw in some Jim Gaffigan and Lewis Black.

I'm just gonna say it because it has something to do with this but.......Bill Cosby should do commentary for porn. Imagine it everybody.

I'm gonna go with Carlin on this one. He's the kind of guy that always makes me laugh somehow, no matter what he says. He was very intelligent, and intelligent humor is the best kind if you ask me.

After that, I'm gonna go with Bill Hicks. The "calm and well-paced asshole" routine was brilliant, and he truly meant every word he said while also making a point.
On the negative side:
While I can't say anything bad about the guy, he's got a really obnoxious fanbase. They make him come across like god's holy gift to the universe, and like the guy invented every single joke out there and everyone ripped him off after that. And if you speak against that, you are automatically wrong and probably likes Dane Cook.
While I can agree with this, I think they're making too big a deal of it. Yes, I know Denis Leary stole quite a bit of his jokes for the No Cure for Cancer special. I still laughed my ass off at it. The Hicks fans still make him come off as the devil incarnate for that.

But whatever. Hicks and Carlin were awesome, and it's a shame they're gone. Then again, I wonder what they'd think if they saw today's society.

Trucken:
No, I disagree. There are many fantastic stand-up comedians, like Eddie Izzard, Dave Chappelle and Eddie Murphy. But there is only one man at the top, and that man is Christopher Titus.

lmao

Omg I had entirely forgotten about Christopher Titus! Thx for posting that vid. ^.^

Out of those, Carlin. Personally I like Jimmy Carr more than basically anybody else. Recently Cracked did an article on stand up comedians putting down hecklers and it only had american comedians, which is despicable considering we have this...

What the hell was the finger thing all about?

As for the contest, probably Frankie Boyle. He's just so damn lowbrow and nasty that I can't help pissing myself with laughter at everything the man says.

Nghtgnt:

ShinobiJedi42:
I would contend that Steve Martin is the greatest comedian of all time... He is a talented musician, writer, actor, comedian, and all around great guy. Carlin can't even touch Steve Martin when it comes to being a Renaissance Man...

While I think it might be a bit outside the parameters of this debate, Steve Martin is definitely a strong contender for best all-around talented guy. He's won various awards for his music, and done a ton of writing. And to really blow your mind, he came up with the idea for, and produced, the movie "Traitor" (staring Don Cheadle). Kind of makes me wonder what else he's done that isn't immediately apparent.

I can understand that. Steve Martin is most known for his acting and writing than his stand-up. But I have three of his four standup albums, so I am a bit biased lol. He also wrote Bowfinger, one of the most cleverly written comedies of all time.

Woodsey:

Gizmo1990:
I don't like Carlin or Cosby but then I am not american so it is possible that I did not get half the jokes when I have watched both of them in the past.

I don't find them funny either. In fact I find Carlin hugely irritating, and Bill Hicks (another one Americans seem to love) isn't funny either.

Hicks wasn't actually that popular in the USA, especially when he was alive. He was huge in England though, something that his friends commented on in the documentary that they found really strange; to them he was just a guy playing shitty clubs to small audiences, then they'd see his UK DVDs and think "holy shit, he's a rock star to those people!"

SonicWaffle:

Woodsey:

Gizmo1990:
I don't like Carlin or Cosby but then I am not american so it is possible that I did not get half the jokes when I have watched both of them in the past.

I don't find them funny either. In fact I find Carlin hugely irritating, and Bill Hicks (another one Americans seem to love) isn't funny either.

Hicks wasn't actually that popular in the USA, especially when he was alive. He was huge in England though, something that his friends commented on in the documentary that they found really strange; to them he was just a guy playing shitty clubs to small audiences, then they'd see his UK DVDs and think "holy shit, he's a rock star to those people!"

Ah, well certainly I've seen his name brought up by quite a few Americans on here. Although now that you mention it, my old History teacher did say he thought he was hilarious.

John Pinette? I like him a lot but I have to admit Luis CK is also good.

Shakespeare+1=Marlowe

+ 1 vote for Uncle George.

He was my Idol growing up, and my parents let me watch him as young as 12 because my father felt I could learned something from his work, in addition to the laughs. I got married on June 21st 2008, the day before he died. I guess the Laws of equivilent exchange work in real life as well.

I'll miss you George. but I know that you are down there right now... screaming up at us. and I know you are in severe pain.

Woodsey:

SonicWaffle:

Woodsey:

I don't find them funny either. In fact I find Carlin hugely irritating, and Bill Hicks (another one Americans seem to love) isn't funny either.

Hicks wasn't actually that popular in the USA, especially when he was alive. He was huge in England though, something that his friends commented on in the documentary that they found really strange; to them he was just a guy playing shitty clubs to small audiences, then they'd see his UK DVDs and think "holy shit, he's a rock star to those people!"

Ah, well certainly I've seen his name brought up by quite a few Americans on here. Although now that you mention it, my old History teacher did say he thought he was hilarious.

He was popular with more than just history teachers. Observe my mad copy-paste-from-Wikipedia skills!

On February 25, 2004, British MP Stephen Pound tabled an early day motion titled "Anniversary of the Death of Bill Hicks" (EDM 678 of the 2003-04 session), the text of which reads:

That this House notes with sadness the 10th anniversary of the death of Bill Hicks, on 26th February 1994, at the age of 33 [sic]; recalls his assertion that his words would be a bullet in the heart of consumerism, capitalism and the American Dream; and mourns the passing of one of the few people who may be mentioned as being worth [sic] of inclusion with Lenny Bruce in any list of unflinching and painfully honest political philosophers.[41]

of those two, Carlin.
never really been a big fan of Cosby

but there's also
Ron White
Bill Hicks
Christopher Titus
Eddie Izard.
and...

my inability to pick one i like best

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