No Right Answer: Best Standup Comedian Ever

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Definitely George Carlin for me. You know, we've gone a whole page in a thread without a clip from Carlin, so here we fuckin' go, with one of my favorite bits 'A List Of People Who Ought to Be Killed':

My top 5:
1.George Carlin
2.Lewis Black
3.Bill Maher
4.Patton Oswalt
5.Lisa Lampanelli

I like George Carlin but not that much. From what I've seen his material doesn't seem to be that varied. That might just be because the range on Youtube is a bad representation of his work but I'm not really convinced he's as good as people say he is. I've seen almost nothing of Bill Cosby and what I have seen tends to be making fun of how crap he is, so I don't see how he can be considered best comedian ever.
And while I'm at it I might as well say something that will piss of a lot of people and prove my first point. I hate Ricky Gervais. He's an unfunny dick whose "comedy" consists of nothing but awkward pauses. His popularity is completely undeserved. Also Russell Brand. Fuck that arrogant prick.

If you want to get an actual feel for Carlin, then I'd recommend finding his old shows in their entirety (for this reason we may all praise Netlfix...), I'd personally rank him near the top simply because the man managed to stay funny for so damn long, and managed to change his act to "keep with the times". Now Cosby, old Cosby standup is excellent, and almost devoid of the things that everyone over emphasizes with in their impressions. To put it simply, the man has not aged well over the past two decades. For the last part, I'd argue that Gervais can be funny in certain situations, but not all the time, and I agree on Brand.

Of the two, it's Carlin.

How did they get an even number of points? Does having a long running TV comedy really prove his standup prowess?

Of the two, Carlin. But, for the best ever, I'm going with George Burns.

He did vaudeville, radio, television and movies. Truly, a man before his time.

If I had to pick between those two, definately George Carlin.
If I had to pick my personal favorite, it would be Robin Williams.

Eddie Izzard > all

This. Need I say more?


Well, I shouldn't.

I'm gonna go for something a little different and say Stephen Wright. People give one liner comedians a bit of a hard time but you know who doesn't rag on them? Other comedians. Doing one liners is fucking hard. Coming up with one long piece that you can get a few laughs out of is a lot easier than coming up with all these different concepts and making them all funny. And then remembering your freaking set. I do stand up comedy and I'm still at the stage where I'm trying out lots of different things in clubs, doing seven minute sets. The hardest one has been writing seven minutes of one liners and stringing them together in some way that makes it possible to remember them.

And Stephen Wright is like a god when it comes to one liners. His jokes are so clever, perfectly delivered, incredibly surreal (he's like the Salvador Dali of comedy) and he does it for an hour. An hour! Remember how hard I said it was to do 7 minutes? Well multiply that by about 8.571 and you'll get roughly an idea of how hard an hour is.

he didnt make me laugh though it was a funny story

definitely way below those other comedian you listed.

humour is subjective though so.

To each his own I 'spose. It's OK if you don't like Titus, but I freakin' love him. He rarely curses on stage (not that I mind cursing, but some comedians rely way too much on it) and he always seems to give it his all. I'd love to see him live sometime.


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

You're welcome. :D

Noel Fielding is pretty hilarious but I haven't seen much of his stuff. I've not seen more than 10 minutes of The Mighty Boosh and I've never seen Luxury Comedy either. Never Mind The Buzzcocks is where I know him from. Him and Simon Amstell on that show were amazing.

He does stand up. Maybe not amazing, I love his humour which is why I love the Boosh and Luxury comedy but his stand up... Well it's like a person describing a scene from the Mighty Boosh. You really need to see it in action to appreciate it, his humour needs to be shown not told. Check out Simon Amstell's dvd Do Nothing. One of my favourite stand up shows ever. It's absolutely incredible. There's no one I've seen do anything like him. He is so open and honest and completely bares his soul to the crowd but still manages to be hilarious.

And while I'm at it I might as well say something that will piss of a lot of people and prove my first point. I hate Ricky Gervais. He's an unfunny dick whose "comedy" consists of nothing but awkward pauses.

And who charges extortionate rates for his shows. I heard at one stage he did Edinburgh and charged 80 quid (Well over $100) per ticket to something like a 5000 seat arena. No stand up comedian should ever charge that much. Most bands would balk at charging that much and they're dividing profits 4 or 5 ways. They don't need equipment, they don't need a huge crew to manage all of their stuff. They only have to cover the costs of travel. I'm not saying comedians shouldn't earn a profit, it's hard work and they should (of course I'd say that) but to want to make that much of a profit from it? It's disgusting. I'd call him a whore but whores make me cum at the end.

Also Russell Brand. Fuck that arrogant prick.

Arrogant? How? By most accounts he's quite a decent guy.I've read both his books and he comes across as quite modest.

As much as I love me some George Carlin, gotta go with Bill Cosby on this one. Cosby just trancends the ages and the age groups and has that clean sense of humour that makes him unique. I like the curse filled humour when it's done right, but Cosby struck a chord. I mean several chords.

Also, Chris, English Major you say? May I politely ask why?

Or... John Cleese, but hes not stand up so.....

#1 Bill Hicks

For me, it's definitely Stephen Wright. Completely deadpan delivery of one-liners over and over again really works. They're never really stories, though they do all go together. What's particularly impressive is when he does tell a story with them, every single sentence of the story is funny, making him one of the most quotable comedians ever. There's no long setup time without laughs -- every single sentence works as a joke on its own and they only get funnier when they fit together as a story.

My favourite is probably Jim Jefferies or Dara O'Brien, I don't watch alot of stand up though.

Lenny Bruce. Nearly all modern stand up that attempts to push boundaries can be traced back to him.

There's just no competition.
Cosby's humour just doesn't mesh with me.
He can get a chuckle out of me at best.
Carlin, however, was just brilliant.
Be it a fart joke or a commentary of the absurdities of society, he always made me laugh.

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.

2nded, 3rded, and everything else on Titus!!! I find Carlin's older spectals funnier than his more recent, lecturey work. And Cosby proved you CAN be funny without swearing like a sailor with Tourette's Syndrome, so point in his favor. But Titus is the best guy I've ever seen! I've been to 3 of his shows in the Bay Area, and he is always funny!

I always liked Kyle Cease to be honest.

Billy Connolly
Rich Hall
Bill Bailey
Dylan Moran

I could go on, but you might go off me!

Of the two, I'd go Carlin. No question there.

Of American comedians, I'd probably go Robin Williams. He's never has as much to say about politics, but he's always had more to say about life, and backs that up with amazing comedy, stunning voice work, and stellar acting (hello Oscar winner...).

Of stand ups in general I'd probably have to go with Dara O'Brien or Andy Parsons. Not just because they're from this side of the Atlantic, but because they are both genuinely nice guys as well as incredibly funny. Mr. O'Brien, just read 'Tickling The English' ad you'll have a fairly solid idea what I'm talking about.

Mr. Parsons however... When he was on tour a year or two ago, he came to our theatre. The night was plagued with technical screw ups (radio mic dropping out, occasional random feedback possibly even LX cue misprogramming (I wasn't working so don't know for sure)). He chastised our guys somewhat (par for the course, their bit was screwing up royally after all), but not too much. Afterwards, he went up to the techs on duty and apologised profusely for taking the piss out of them. The honest response from our guys? 'That's fine. We were screwing up so badly that you could've crucified us and we'd have deserved it'.

He blushed, thanked the guys for their hard work, apologised yet again and wandered off. What a Legend.

Also, Chris, English Major you say? May I politely ask why?

Because I wrote it on my college admission papers as a joke and they took me seriously. Joke's on me now! Yay staggering college debt! :D


I've seen a little bit of Fielding's stand up. It was okay but nowhere near as good as other stuff I've seen him in. All I can recall was him explaining the concept of "stump fucking". I've seen a few stand up shows of Amstell too, and he's good. He is definitely like how you describe.

And from what I've seen of Brand (a few shows) he talks of nothing except himself, usually his sex life, and he's clearly loving hearing about it.

George Carlin, hands down. While Cosby said things that no one could understand, Carlin said things that people couldn't believe! Truly a "modern man for the millenium".



I've seen a little bit of Fielding's stand up. It was okay but nowhere near as good as other stuff I've seen him in. All I can recall was him explaining the concept of "stump fucking". I've seen a few stand up shows of Amstell too, and he's good. He is definitely like how you describe.

And from what I've seen of Brand (a few shows) he talks of nothing except himself, usually his sex life, and he's clearly loving hearing about it.

A lot of comedians talk about themselves though. He's often quite self-deprecating. Although yeah since his first DVD Shame his material has become a lot about being famous. Which isn't necessarily bad but most crowds just aren't going to relate and there is a tendency to view stand up comedians who are confident in themselves as being arrogant considering most play up their own insecurities for laughs.

I see a few of the comments essentially say "you can't find an answer, comedy is subjective". To that I'll point out two things; first, everything discussed on this show is every bit as subjective. Secondly, the show is named No Right Answer.

As for the best of the two, George Carlin. By a mile.

Edit: Define irony. I need to agree to the new forum rules. I quote "You can disagree with whatever you like but using large amounts of obscene language and CAPS is against our policies". They then make me type I AGREE in all caps.

Of those 2. Carlin is far superior.

He, Bill Hicks, and Eddie Izzard stand as the 3 greatest of all time.

Louis CK needs more love here. He's got great storytelling abilities like Cosby, but the perspective and intelligence of Carlin. Not better than either, but he has the strengths of both. Chris Rock's energy and passion is amazing, too. (He's still at it, isn't he?)

Easy to overlook him just because he's still at his peak, and with things like this you tend to focus more on the retired talent. Hell, even talent that got families and went PG, like Tim Allen, have had pretty good success in their earlier days. Or people who aren't even marketed as stand-up comedians--the talks given in the An Evening with Kevin Smith series are just as good as any stand-up set (if you're a fan of Kevin Smith, anyways).

And Ricky Gervais--don't forget about him. Ricky Gervais is like an ingenious, sadistic, English version of Carlin.

God, I can just go on and on.

Cosby Vs Carlin? Pfft. Richard Pryor!

Or Rodney Dangerfield. Both awesome as hell.

Agreed! Also Russell Peters.

Carlin was without a doubt the best. Here are my reasons, and Im sure our debaters will be unable to counter with any other arguments, basis for my statements will show that their development into being the greatest will end the debate. While Cosby served in the Navy for 4 years, Carlin also served in the Air Force, and while Cosby served his country faithfully (Kudos to the Cos-man), Carlin was holding to his own standards and mentality and went against the system several times (Court Martialed 3 times, several disciplinary actions, and discharged in 57 for being an "unproductive airman") Carlin has always been anti-establishment, and held true to himself, while with all respect to Bill Cosby, Bill did everything to adhere to the whole family unit. George Carlin was all about the fight for rights of ALL American people to speak their minds and never be censored, citing the ridiculousness of the FCC controlling media within TV and radio. Cos did break a lot of the social stigma of black families in america, but, and Im not knocking the signifigance here so dont kill me on this, it only served a single demographic. George was silenced so many times for being blunt and honest to himself and every viewpoint he had that people would refuse to even sell his records. As a struggling comedian of the time cuz lets face it, the cash flow aint all that great till you hit it big, he still managed to rise to the top. He maintained his format of comedy, standup, did the occasional movie in his lifetime, with very memorable roles, and always focused on his audience with delivery of a comedy special every few years. Bill Cosby, while very great and awesome in his own right, only produced one special, did a few movies, then focused on TV roles. And while he fizzled out from public view in the late 80's to early 90's, george was still jamming out and keeping people laughing, all the way till the day he died June 22, 2008. Chris mentioned there is a signifigant void in the world now that he's gone, and there is without a doubt massive amounts of truth there. And to quote Jon Stewart "He was part of the Holy Trinity of Comedy; Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, and George Carlin".

I can't really stand Carlin, so I'm just gonna go with Eddie Izzard here.

George Carlin didn't have shtick he relied on. His comedy had an edge to it. Not necessarily a rebellious edge but rather an edge to defy the censorship that otherwise throttled "free speech". Granted the idea of "free speech" is shaky ground, with many interpretations and meanings to different individuals, but I believe Carlin had the best view on "free speech". Now Cosby had great family values and I believe his pieces are timeless and should be viewed by anyone who wants to be a good parent.
Carlin's material is revolutionary, it changed the face of comedy in my opinion forever. I agree that both men had an impact on today's comedy and no one else really comes close to those two in that arena.
You might think I'm taking away from other stand-up artists but in reality I'm not. Its like comparing present-day sports athletes to the legends of yesteryear. You can't compare them because the legends paved the way for the present day men to do what they do.

To me, Stweart Lee is the best stand-up ever.

He tells it to you straight, like a pear cider made from 100% pear.

Pears. Yeah, I agree with this. There's just something about his repetition and the way he just blatantly lies. Or there's the fact that some comedians pretend to hate their audiences, but Lee just seems dissapointed

Comparing Bill Cosby to George Carlin is like comparing MC Hammer to Eminem. Black Guy who doesn't offend "white people" vs White Guy who probably offended someone's parents. I'd settle for the White Guy who probable offended someone's parents.

Although the safest bet I guess right now for me would probable say Chris Rock.

But then again I don't remember Bill Cosby for comedy. I remember Cosby for Jello & Kodak. So for me that makes him as funny as that "Dude you're getting a Dell" guy. Or the "Can you hear me now?" guy. Or even the "Mac vs PC" Guys.

George Carlin however would at least try to connect with the audience on an intellectual level. Its sad that he's no longer around.
On 2nd Thought Joe Pesci wins....

Carlin, he just meant so much more for comedy.

Well for this, clearly Carlin. I ain't the most researched comedic person though, so I only recognize several names brought up in the comments.

Personal fave though? Mitch Hedberg. Don't know why, but I just find him so god dang hilarious. I can just relax, sit back, and laugh my arse off to his stuff.

I also can't really rank my favorites though. Sure I could tell you my biggest favorites, but it definitely wouldn't be in order! Hedberg, Carlin, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, and I can't forget Jeff Dunham. A shame that the latter two lost their shows, either by outright being cancelled, or no longer feeling as if his show was the right thing to do in its current state.

There's also Robin Williams, John Stewart and John Oliver, and god... at least a few whose names escape me at the moment.

I'd also throw in Stephen Colbert, but he doesn't fit into this because he doesn't do "Stand up". I have to include him anyways because he's Phil Ken Sebben in Harvey Birdman: Attorney at law, among other reasons.

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