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Poll results: Name your top 3 favorite comedians

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47. You may not vote on this poll
  • Ellen Degeneres

    1 2.13%
  • Larry the Cable Guy

    4 8.51%
  • Cedric the Entertainer

    3 6.38%
  • Emo Philips

    1 2.13%
  • Woody Allen

    3 6.38%
  • Chris Rock

    10 21.28%
  • Margaret Cho

    2 4.26%
  • Andrew Dice Clay

    1 2.13%
  • Bill Cosby

    10 21.28%
  • Whoopi Goldberg

    1 2.13%
  • Jay Leno

    3 6.38%
  • George Carlin

    24 51.06%
  • Don Rickles

    6 12.77%
  • Robin Williams

    13 27.66%
  • Judy Tenuta

    1 2.13%
  • Eddie Murphy

    8 17.02%
  • Steve Martin

    13 27.66%
  • Jeff Foxworthy

    2 4.26%
  • ofos

    5 10.64%
  • other (hey there's only 20 poll options and 5000 comedians)

    25 53.19%
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Thread: Preferences in Humor

  1. #1
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Preferences in Humor

    It’s a well known fact that different styles of humor appeal to different types of people. It’s another well known fact that humor is almost never funny once it is dissected, or analyzed – anyone who has ever had to explain a joke knows this to be true. We’re going to try to straddle the line here and not quite examine the anatomy of specific jokes, but rather attempt to at least identify the various styles of humor and the ones that appeal most to you.

    On screen I tend to like the absurdist humor that Monty Python employed so cleverly in both their television shows and movies. I’d be hard pressed to name another comedy troupe that created such absurd/bizarre skit situations with such heavy use of gross exaggeration and understatement (the argument clinic, the Crimson Permanent Assurance, knights who say nee, dead parrot skit etc.) so successfully. I enjoy physical comedy too at times (Jim Carrey in ‘Ace Ventura’ comes to mind) but for some reason it never seems to be anywhere near as funny with successive viewings.

    In print my favorite humorists would include Garrison Keilor and Mark Twain. Both have/had the quality of telling sometimes painful truths, but their use of humor lessens the sting and help create a situation where one may be more inclined/willing to examine the potential truth behind what they said. For pure release of laughter, though, I’d have to go with Douglas Adams’ and his Hitchhiker series.

    Stand up comedy deserves its own special category as the comedian must not only balance effective delivery of their material (correct timing, intonation/emphasis, maintain character etc.) but must also be able to improvise and react to the live audience. Gauging an audience’s reactions to various jokes can be critical in determining which ones to tell or when it’s time to change directions. In terms of material I’d have to give Woody Allen top marks. He wrote jokes for other comedians for years, but was also quite good in his own delivery (e.g. his neurotic stage character says ‘I confess I cheated on my metaphysics exam by peering into the soul of the boy sitting next to me’). George Carlin, however, gets the blue ribbon in the stand up category. Not only did he maintain enormous stage presence but he managed to inject a healthy dose of truth in his stand up act not unlike the way Twain and Keilor do in print. His observational style of humor has been emulated by many following him, but few ever matched him.

    Who makes you laugh the hardest?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Hey, Garrison has been known to do a stand-up act now and then. (Every single Saturday night for the past, what, 30 years?)

    I don't recognize many of the names on the poll list.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    As far as stand-up comedians, I prefer Chris Rock, early Eddie Murphy, Dane Cook, and Louis CK. Throw in some Don Rickles, Red Foxx and Richard Pryor and I'm good to go.

    Ironicaly, Dane Cook has been accused of stealing Louis CK's style and material.

    I definitely prefer the more "urban" humor I suppose, becaue I can't stand any of those Blue Collar/redneck guys.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    I've always liked Robin Williams but I was watching the St. Jude's Hospital ad that features him and it occurred to me that he's become more & more like Jonathan Winters who was also a favorite. Similar insane comedic style and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that RW was influenced by JW's monologues.

    Yes, I do crack myself up sometimes.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Tide's avatar
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    My favorite stand up act, until his untimely death, was Mitch Hedburg. I saw him and Steven Lynch (also very funny) live in Philadelphia several years ago.

    Bill Cosby's skit from the early 80's on babies and child raising is timeless and everyone should see it if they are about to have kids (chocolate cake for breakfast?)

    Denis Leary is also a all time favorite, I like how in his acting roles he always manages to fit in a rant in his typical Leary style.

    I typically like high brow comedy, situational, and not profanity laced. I like the delayed reaction jokes and especially appreciate a comedian who can refer to a joke they told 10 minutes ago and tie it back in.
    Last edited by Tide; 10 Dec 2008 at 10:57 AM.

  6. #6
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ofos View post
    Similar insane comedic style and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that RW was influenced by JW's monologues.
    .
    I heard him openly admit it once in an interview when he was asked which comedians influenced him most. They both have that manic-thing going on where they switch gears and directions 10 times a minute. For me Robin Williams is hit or miss - sometimes the unexpected directions he takes you are hilarious but his little 'mini-personas' where he assumes a different voice/character for a few lines gets old quickly IMO.

    An interesting side-note - in the aforementioned interview they asked a lot of different comics the same question 'who makes you laugh and who influenced you the most'. Two names that came up consistently for who the comic's comics were - Andy Kaufman and Lenny Bruce.

  7. #7
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Absurdist and story oriented. Be it screen, print or standup.

    The Kids is the Hall are easily on par with Monty Python, if a little better. They were the definitive sketch comedy of the 1990s (though In Living Color could be pretty damn good too).

    The Office and 30 Rock on NBC are also transcendent. They can easily veer into aburdism, but still keep a foot in reality.
    Last edited by mendelman; 10 Dec 2008 at 1:30 PM.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Maister View post
    An interesting side-note -
    We'll be the judge of that.

    I thought Andy Kaufman was hilarious, part of the time. Never cared much for Lenny Bruce although he certainly was one of the social critic comedians who influenced George Carlin, another favorite of mine.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Coragus's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    My favorite stand up act, until his untimely death, was Mitch Hedburg.
    You beat me to it! I found Mitch a couple years ago, bought a CD, and then found out he was dead.

    I also like, and don't ask me why, Dimitri Martin. He's on Comedy Central once in a while and his act always gets to me.

    My favorite though, no question, is Ron White. I think the best thing he did was not keep on with the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, since Foxworthy, Larry, and Engvall all make me cringe. Every time someone uses a "you know you're a . . ." reference or says, "Get 'er Done", an angel loses its wings.
    Back home just in time for hockey season!

  10. #10
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Here's a story that I think illustrates something about the soul of a clown and how certain people have a deep seated need to make others laugh.

    An Indian lady once told me about when she was growing up there a man who lived in her village that was always joking and spent his life making people in the village laugh no matter where he was or what the situation. In his old age he contracted a slow painful terminal illness. One morning they found him dead in his bedroom. He knew the End was coming for quite some time and apparently knew that particular night would be his last. He had placed himself in a position on the floor with his head against the wall, feet propped up on a chair, and his arms splayed out at angles before him. Rigor mortis naturally set in and he 'froze' in that position. He wouldn't fit in a casket and they had to cover him with a cloth for the funeral procession through the town. Everyone laughed as he passed by and could see the odd draped shape on top of the funeral bier.

  11. #11
    Forums Administrator & Gallery Moderator NHPlanner's avatar
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    My "other" would be Lewis Black.
    "Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how." -- Edward T. McMahon, The Conservation Fund

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    Yukrakers

    Laurel and Hardy
    The Marx Brothers
    Victor Borge
    Senor Winces ([open box] Is alright?...'s alright [close box])
    Myron Cohen
    Monty Python
    George Carlin
    George Burns & Gracie Allen ("Say goodnight Gracie.")
    Jackie Gleason - Honeymooners
    Chappelle
    WALSTIB

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Good list by TomR,except this old fella still doesn't get Monty Python. I would add...


    Bill O'Reily

  14. #14
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    my we are a cynical bunch aren't we...

    also
    • Steven Wright (I went to a restaurant and the sign said "Breakfast anytime" so I ordered french toast during the Renaissance...)
    • Jon Stewart
    • Lily Tomlin
    • Billy Crystal


    agreed on Monty Python

    I went to high school with Tom Kenny (Spongebob) and Bobcat Goldthwaite - when they were working together doing stand up, they were pretty funny

    I usually don't watch the reality shows but I did follow Last Comic Standing and enjoyed a lot of those folks - it's amazing listening to Steve Martin now that his 70's humor would not have worked today on that show - we do everything faster on stage now, if you listen to his old stuff, he used visuals in his silence and his timing was so different

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Tide View post
    ...Bill Cosby's skit from the early 80's on babies and child raising is timeless and everyone should see it if they are about to have kids (chocolate cake for breakfast?) ...
    "Shut your mouth and eat."

    "If you fall out of that tree and break your leg, don't come running to me."

  16. #16
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    Good list by TomR,except this old fella still doesn't get Monty Python. I would add...


    Bill O'Reily
    What? No votes for WC Fields, Benny Hill, or Benny Hinn?

    I get Monty Python although that's not an individual. Kind of like Steely Dan, if you gets my meaning. I'd throw in a vote for Black Adder on the English humor poll as well.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    yuks

    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    I would add...


    Bill O'Reily
    You might as add "W" to the list in a sick sort of way.
    WALSTIB

  18. #18
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    I love standup and skethc comedy. Monty Python is a favorite. Carlin, Richard Pryor (why wasn't he on the poll), Lewis Black, Jon Stewart, Chris Rock (now, when he was young he wasn't very funny), Dennis Miller and Bill Maher (when they were funny and weren't full of themselves), Mitch Hedburg, Ron White, Jeff Foxworthy, Jim Carrey (when he was on In Living Color - his sendup of Vanilla Ice was a classic and for some reason the Fire Marshal always cracked me up), and many others. I also like some of the old school comedians, like David Steinberg and Robert Klein.

    There is another comedian I really liked, though right now I can't recall his name. He died maybe eight to ten years back. He was Jewish (imagine that?). Used to be a school teacher in the NYC schools. He was funny looking and when he would deliver his punch lines he tended to bulge his eyes for effect. One of his jokes was that he and his wife named their daughter Sue, which isn't a name to Jews but a verb. Any Cyburbians recall his name?
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    yuks

    I forgot W. C. Fields. His movie when he had burglers in the basement was hilarious. Then there's Mom's Mabley, Mort Sahl and a lot of others that used to be on the old Ed Sullivan show. How about Drew Carey?
    WALSTIB

  20. #20
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Count me as another Steven Wright fan. Also selected Robin Williams and Eddie Murphy.

    In my minds eye, I see ofos as a Professor Irwin Corey-type. You know, the world's foremost authority.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    There's a big difference between stand-up comedy performers and comedic acting/improve/TV.

    Chris Rock in a movie, not too funny. Stand-up, he's great.
    Adam Sandler, great comedic actor. Not so good in stand-up.

    A few (Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, etc.) can do both.

    Also; am I the only one who enjoys George Carlins "observations", but doesn't really find them all that funny in a laugh-out-loud sort of way?

  22. #22
    Cyburbian michiganplanner's avatar
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    Cake or Death?

    I could only decide on 2 "for sures" Rickles and Carlin. Third is up in the air. Murphy was hilarious, Jonathan Winters always makes me laugh, Lewis Black is great, and Eddie Izzard lines are a mainstay in my quotation vocab.
    I'd be more apathetic if I weren't so lethargic.

  23. #23
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Good one, michiganplanner. Izzard is hi-larious. His HBO special in 1999 was amazing and had be split in two for about a week.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

    Six seasons and a movie!

  24. #24
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Bill Cosby, Jay Leno, and Rush Limbaugh (yes, he's a comedian), but also Bob Hope, Buddy Hackett, Phil Silver, Jonathan Winters, and Terry-Thomas.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    yuks

    Quote Originally posted by otterpop View post

    There is another comedian I really liked, though right now I can't recall his name. He died maybe eight to ten years back. He was Jewish (imagine that?). Used to be a school teacher in the NYC schools. He was funny looking and when he would deliver his punch lines he tended to bulge his eyes for effect. One of his jokes was that he and his wife named their daughter Sue, which isn't a name to Jews but a verb. Any Cyburbians recall his name?
    Sounds a bit like Myron Cohen. http://laughstore.stores.yahoo.net/myroncohen.html He used to deliver his punch line dead pan with one eye closed.
    WALSTIB

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