When writing about the very best stand-up comedians in the world, it can be a daunting task to come up with a funny opener. So please forgive me for straight passing. Without further ado, here are the top 5 stand-up comedians in the world right now:
1) Chris Rock – Chris Rock is nothing short of a living legend, the King. Hell, he’s also the Queen, the Prince, and the Princess. He’s the entire royal family of comedy. He absolutely killed it hosting the Oscars in primetime with millions watching around the world, and the last time I was at the Comedy Cellar, he showed up out of nowhere and did an hour of brand new material that had the entire room buzzing. There is no question that Rock deserves the #1 spot.
2) Louis C.K. – Louis C.K. has been a major catalyst for the stand-up comedy explosion in recent years. He is an inspiration and trailblazer for creative people in every field. It doesn’t matter what venue he is performing at; he can take down any room. I have seen him at the Comedy Cellar multiple times, as the headliner at Irving Plaza, and at a Wounded Warriors Project charity event, and he had the audience in stitches each time. He has also conquered television, starting with his underrated 2006 HBO show, Lucky Louie, through his hit show on FX, Louie, and now as a co-creator of the show Baskets. That is a resume only Chris Rock can top right now.
3) Bill Burr – Here is what I wrote about Bill Burr in my F is for Family Review, “Burr is a mastermind at finding comedy in how men think, and why we act like we do. While being funny is surely his number one goal, what makes him great are that his insights cut on a much deeper level. Some try to pigeonhole Burr as the typical Neanderthal man, but it is that exact stereotype that Burr loves to play on, and ultimately rejects using ‘hilarious wisdom.’” Hey, if comedians can repeat their material every now and then, so can I.
4) Jim Gaffigan – Jim Gaffigan performed at the same Wounded Warriors Project charity event that I mentioned earlier, and being completely objective, he might have actually outdone Louis C.K. on that night. The entire theater was putty in his hands. He is the undisputed champ of “food comedy,” and if you haven’t seen his famous 5-minute bit on Hot Pockets, just stop reading this article right now and watch it. Gaffigan has been doing his thing for years now, and he is slowly but surely climbing his way up the stand-up comedy ranks.
5) Gary Gulman – Gary Gulman is the underdog of the group, an up and comer who is destined for a big breakout in the near future. He is a tall, handsome man with an athletic build, whose stand-up comedy style is that of an awkward, overweight kid who got no ass growing up. Just watch his hilarious bit about Donald Trump, Bill Gates, and Billionaires from his 2012 comedy special, In this Economy, and then go on Netflix and watch the rest of that special, along with his 2016 special, It’s About Time. I guarantee you become an instant fan.
By Michael Halpern
Twitter: Imaginary Brick Wall (@ImaginaryBrickW)