Top Ten Comedians

I usually ignore these things because I think they are just a cheap “let’s link each other” fest, but this one intrigued me. Comedy is important to me. It is how I deal with life’s problems. Acidman at Gut Rumbles has thrown down the guantlet and I’m picking it up.

  1. George Carlin. No, I’m not kissing Acidman’s ass. George is funny, and he has been funny for 40 years. I don’t agree with him, but he is still funny. He can play with words, he can point out the absurdity of the human condition, and he can give a point of view that would have you ready to shoot anyone else who tried to say the same thing, and make you laugh at it. Also, I can’t argue with his ultimate philosophy — “Fuck it.”
  2. Red Foxx. He was black and blue when either one was a guarantee to never get work as a comedian. He was funny, and he gave us one of the funniest shows ever. Screw you if you don’t like Sanford and Son. It was a show that could make you laugh and give you a message about black life in America without trying to beat you over the head with it like “Good Times.” Besides, he showed what really make “being black” what it was — just being poor and undereducated. And he led to #3:
  3. Richard Pryor. Just damn. Richard Pryor is funny. It doesn’t matter what he is talking about. One of the funniest things I’ve heard is him in the outtakes of a movie with Gene Wilder just going off in a mock interview. No script, no prep, just, “Gene is a faggot. You tell him I said that.” I wish that disease and freebase hadn’t gotten to him. I also appreciated how he could spend years telling Nigger jokes, go to Africa, and then never use the word in jest again.
  4. Mel Brooks. He’s campy. He’s corny. He is still funny. He can recognize other funny people and work with him. No one talks about liking Mel Brooks movies, but everyone has seen them. Blazing Saddles is one of my favorites of all time. Mel Brooks and Richard Pryor are a devastating combination.
  5. Bob Newhart. I really haven’t seen much of Bob, but I’ve never seen better timing. Ever. It is hard to hold a one sided telephone conversation, and he is the best at it. I could spend hours listening to him doing those bits. He also proves that you don’t have to do blue to do funny better than Bill Cosby.
  6. Rodney Dangerfield. Rodney never gets any respect, even on Acidman’s list. Lucy is funnier than Rodney? No respect. Not only is he better at one liners than anyone else, but he gave a lot of young comedians a break. No one would know who Kenison is if it wasn’t for Rodney.
  7. Dennis Miller. Sure, he has writers for his rants, but he still gets out every week, does his rant, and does the news. His standup was always consistent, too. Fuck you if you can’t keep up with him. I’m glad that there is a comedian out there who doesn’t dumb his act down just because he is smarter than his audience.
  8. Henry Rollins. OK, so he isn’t a comedian by trade. His spoken albums are still great. Tales from the road of a third string rock star. He is a regular guy in an irregular room, and he is willing to tell you anything. He is a more emotional me. Don’t miss the Airport rant from Think Tank.
  9. Dan Ackroyd. I saw in one of Acidman’s comments that Larry Fine was the best straight man of all time. I think Dan gives him a run for his money. Besides, the Blues Brothers needs a mention, and while I think that Belushi was funny, he didn’t do enough funny stuff to make the list.
  10. Dennis Leary. God, that man can rant. Doing what he does hour after hour would kill me from exhaustion. The world needs to keep comedians who understand the importance of having people who smoke, drink, eat raw red meat and love violence around. The American male is slowly being turned into a pussy, and Dennis Leary is one of the last bulwarks against that assault.

So there aren’t any women on the list. There are funny women out there — they just aren’t funnier than these guys. Deal with it.

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