As I mentioned on the UK versions of this list, which you can check out here and here, I have always profoundly enjoyed comedy, not just because of its capacity to make people happy, but for its powerful social impact, and it’s ability to engineer real change. I am from the UK so of course the comedians on my previous lists resonate with me a little more because of shared culture and sense of humor, but I also think comedy can be universal, and that at the end of the day we all face the same issues. So here we have it, my hand selected picks, my Top 10 picks for male comedians in America, oh and check out the female version here.
1. John Mulaney
John Mulaney is a fantastically funny comedian, noted for his observational comedy, and surreal humor (this is particularly obvious during his writing for the Stefon character on SNL). He has produced several great stand-up specials, my particular favourites being The Comeback Kid and Kid Gorgeous (which are available on Netflix) and The Top Part which you can check out here. You might also be familiar with his vocal talents in voicing Andrew Glouberman on Big Mouth, a Netflix original animated show or Peter Porker/Spider-Ham in the animated feature film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
2. Pete Holmes
Pete Holmes is an absolute sweetheart, his comedy is filled with his vibrant and good natured personality, not to mention he’s genuinely funny. I strongly suggest you check out his comedy album Impregnated with Wonder, which is hilarious. I first came across Pete, after seeing him as ‘Badman’ in CollegeHumor’s parody of Batman, and since then have become a massive fan. You should also check out his television show, The Pete Holmes Show, which was just superb, and I was disappointed that it was cancelled, speaking of which keep your eyes peeled for a Top 10 list of Pete Holmes Show sketches in the near future.
3. Hannibal Buress
I first saw Hannibal Buress on Russell Howard’s Good News and I just loved his energy, his delivery, he just made me laugh and I’m really grateful that he’s continued to get the attention and recognition he deserves, appearing on the likes of as The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Lopez Tonight, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Late Show with David Letterman, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell and Conan.
4. Chris Rock
Chris Rock is a legend, not only has he been in numerous great films such as Dogma, Nurse Betty, The Longest Yard and the Madagascar Series, as well as narrating the TV show Everybody Hates Chris which is based upon his early life but he is a tremendous and iconic stand up comedian, I strongly recommend you check out Big Ass Jokes and Kill the Messenger which rank among my personal favourites.
5. Gabriel Iglesias
Mr. Fluffy himself, he’s an incredibly funny and charming dude, noted for his self-deprecating comedy, as well as his observations of Latin American culture and race relations. I’ve been really enjoying his new show, Mr. Iglesias (which is airing on Netflix) where he plays a character similar to himself, I was drawn in to watching the show after seeing this scene around the term Latinx. I also really enjoyed his stand up show, Aloha Fluffy and you can check that out here.
6. Hari Kondabolu
Hari Kondabolu is a tremendously talented comedian, and much as I addressed in the introduction uses his comedy also as a vessel for change, in this regard he is particularly noted for The Problem with Apu which discussed the potentially harmful impact Apu from The Simpsons has had on Indian culture, particularly in regard to stereotypes. For stand-up I strongly suggest you check out his appearance at the 2013 Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and his appearance on Russell Howard’s Good News, where I was first introduced to him.
7. Patton Oswalt
So technically my first conscious exposure to the talent of Patton Oswalt was when he voiced Remy in the 2007 Pixar movie Ratatouille, and since then I’ve made it a point to keep my eye out for him because he is an incredibly funny man, with a talent for performance. In particular I enjoyed his stand up shows, My Weakness Is Strong and Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time.
8. Bert Kreischer
I first found Bert on Facebook, while browsing videos late one night. If I recall, this video here was the first routine of his I ever saw, and as I later discovered was one of his more popular and well known routines. Bert is really fun, and brings a lot of energy to his performances, he also often performs shirtless. I suggest you check out Secret Time and Hey Big Boy which are both great, and both available on Netflix.
9. Eugene Mirman
He has a bachelor of Arts Degree in comedy, so not only is he qualified to do this job, but he’s also legitimately hilarious, noted for his absurdist sense of humor, I first saw him during his appearance on Russell Howard’s Good News and was instantly a fan. I also enjoyed his role as Gene Belcher on Bob’s Burgers. I strongly suggest you also check out his routine at his appearance at the 2011 Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal and his Netflix special Eugene Mirman: Vegan on His Way to the Complain Store.
10. Demetri Martin
Demetri Martin is noted for amongst other things his deadpan delivery and musical comedy. My first exposure to him wasn’t for his stand-up comedy, but instead for his role as Ice Bear in the Cartoon Network animated series, We Bare Bears. However since then I have grown to greatly enjoy his comedy, particular favourites include These are Jokes and his routine on The Late Late Show with James Corden.
Honourable mentions go to Eddie Murphy, Bo Burnham and Gabe Liedman who I also really enjoyed but didn’t quite make the top 10 list.
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