The best comedians aren’t necessarily the ones that get all the movie roles, have sold out comedy tours or guest star on the most popular TV shows. In fact, some of the best comedians have been touring the minor circuit: comedy clubs and colleges, perfecting their craft for decades. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, they just haven’t been able to get that one big break. Sure, some of them may have their own hour-long stand-up specials, and have appeared all over Comedy Central, but you’re not going to see one of these guys starring in a hit movie any time soon. COED’s giving credit where credit is due in our list of the most underrated comedians.
His old school brand of comedy combined with his deadpan delivery prevented Demetri Martin from really hitting it big with the mainstream audience. Still, a stint as a writer for Conan O’Brien a few years ago, a few appearances on The Daily Show, his own stand-up special and a starring role in the indie hit Taking Woodstock have all definitely increased his popularity and even got him his own show – albeit only for two short seasons.
Doing comedy for well over a decade, Todd Barry is best known for his laid back sarcastic delivery and weird look. The look gets him some bit parts in films and television, but his sarcastic wit is only now starting to pay off. Barry can currently be seen on Adult Swim’s Delocated and FX’s Louie.
With nearly two decades of stand-up comedy under his belt, Bill Burr is a hit with his audiences. But sadly, that has not translated to success off the stage. Despite releasing a hilarious new special Let it Go, Burr has only managed to get a few bit parts on television and is best known for his podcast and appearances on The Opie and Anthony Show.
Doug Stanhope finds himself somewhere between a modern-day Bill Hicks and a rambling drunk. His stand-up is angry, poignant and hilarious, but his devil-may-care attitude may be what prevent him from breaking into the mainstream. He now lives in the middle of nowhere in Arizona.
Performing for nearly two decades, Patrice O’Neal has been called one of the funniest comics in the world by Chris Rock. His on-stage hilarity has not translated into movie and TV deals and, in fact, very few stand-up specials for that matter. He most recently got his first one-hour special on Comedy Central this year and frequently guest hosts on The Opie and Anthony Show.
The late Greg Giraldo was best known by the mainstream audience as the funniest guy at the Comedy Central roasts, but for nearly two decades he wowed audience with some of the most poignant social comedy in the country. While he was well-liked by Comedy Central – who booked him on all of the roasts, original TV shows and a couple of stand-up specials – Giraldo never hit it big off the channel, save for a spot as a judge on NBC’s Last Comic Standing.
This guy is crazy. Nick got his big break playing the gay, rollerblading crack-whore Terry on Reno 911. A few years later, he played Jeff in Grandma’s Boy, forever coining the phrase ‘roommates’ when referring to the parents you live with. He’s still got his show Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time, which will be renewed for a second season that will air in Mid-October 2011.
Nick Kroll did his first television stand-up on the Jimmy Kimmel show. In it, he displays his affinity for characters that he’s since developed over the years. These include the flamboyant ‘Fabrice Fabrice’ and Jersey-Shore character ‘Bobby Bottleservice.’ His non-standup work is a little more mainstream, playing roles on the League on FX and voices Stu on the Life and Times of Tim on HBO.
A legend of his time, Bill Hicks unfortunately died an early death at 33. Before then, Bill became famous for his honest social commentary fused with hilarity. He was one of the Outlaws along with Sam Kinison and was widely popular both in the United States and the UK and Ireland, where he toured for almost a full year. In 2010, Channel 4 ran a poll of the ‘Top 100 Stand-Up Comedians of All Time’ in 2010 and Bill placed #2.
Patton is involved in all forms of comedy ranging from writing, to stand-up, movies, and even creating a tour called the Comedians of Comedy with Zach Galifinakis, Brian Posehn, and Maria Bamford. His credits are too long to list here, which is a clear indicator he needs more exposure.
Made most famous by the show Insomniac with Dave Attell, Dave went around to different cities and towns and partied the night away. What most people don’t know is that he was a correspondent for the Daily Show in 1999 right after Craig Kilborn left in segments called the Ugly American. Dave recently just hosted the AVN awards in 2010. With Louis CK’s show doing well on FX, it should pave the way for Dave to do something big.
Birbiglia has released three albums, including My Secret Public Journal Live, which was named one of the best comedy albums of the decade by the Onion AV Club. He’s also written a best-selling book, “Sleepwalk with Me” that might be adapted into a feature-length film. The live CD just came out recently.
He’s currently playing Tom Haverford on NBC’s Parks and Recreation and is one of my favorite comedians of today. His characters seem genuinely interested in whatever it is that he’s ranting about. He got his start on Human Giant, a show that aired on MTV. Aziz also played roles in Funny People and I Love You, Man. Will 30 Minutes or Less be the nudge he needs to hit superstardom? Maybe not, but it could be the jump off before the jump off. Raaaaaaaaaaaandy!
Steven has coined a completely dead-pan sense of humor that often jumps from one joke to the next in a matter of seconds. Similar to Mitch Hedberg in that regard, he met critical acclaim for his first comedy album I Have a Pony released in 1985. After a long succesful career, Steven released another album in 2007 titled I Still Have a Pony. It was nominated for a Grammy. Half Baked’s guy on the couch is well known among comics but the general public? He’s the king of deadpan… and he makes for a killer DJ (see “Reservoir Dogs”).
Matt Berry is an English comedian / actor / writer who is not known so much for his stand-up work. His television and movie work, however, is outstanding. The clip from above (which you need to watch if you haven’t seen it) is from the show Snuff Box which he wrote for BBC Three. He recently voiced Allen in the second episode of the new ATHF reboot Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1.
Joe Rogan is a do-it-all who many don’t automatically associate with comedy. He’s been the host for Fear Factor and an announcer for UFC fights. Don’t be fooled though, because this dude is funny. Plus he hates Carlos Mencia so that’s pretty awesome.
Norm MacDonald is possibly the most underrated comedian on this list. The only reason he might not be is because people do know who he is. Norm used to be on SNL, but was booted in the dumbest controversial firing ever on the show. Apparently, he was bitter for a while after that but did not allow him to slow down at all. He’s written movies Dirty Work (which I think is one of the funniest movies ever) and appeared on all sorts of shows since. He now hosts a sports version of the Daily Show called The Sports Show With Norm MacDonald.
Brian is a stand-up comic through and through. He is widely accepted by most comic critics and refrains from using curse-words or off-color humor. Check out his hilarious clip above for proof that you don’t need a dirty mouth to be funny. F**k yeah!
Pablo’s Myspace Comedy page is in the top 25 out of over 33,000 placing. FOX – TV Boston called him “the most talented comedian in the business today”. His narration of the action-movie preview with Arnold Schwarzenegger as a tortilla vendor is a classic. You might’ve also seen him on “Mad TV”.
You’ve seen Christian as ‘Chad’ the white guy from Dave Chapelle’s skit “The Mad Real World.” He recently played a supporting role in the TBS series Are We There Yet? We’re hoping he bails on that turd to get his own series.
Mike Epps has been in pretty much every black comedy movie ever made. Make no mistake though, that fact is for a good reason. This guy’s standup comedy is still hilarious. Even though some of his jokes are aimed at a different audience than mine, I think that good humor hits across all bases. Check out his video up top about ‘Getting Head’ and tell me you don’t think its funny. If you like what you see, make sure to see any comedy made by Tyler Perry or his videos on his website.
This Queens, New York native has been on the whole late night talk show circuit – David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Craig Ferguson, and even the View. This guy is hysterical and would be much better known if there weren’t so many funny f*cking people out there. To see more of this guy, try to catch one of his two Comedy Central specials.
Stephen is one of the comedians who uses songs to tell his jokes. That doesn’t make him any less funny or politically-incorrect, though, as one his best skits is titled ‘Special Olympics.’ He first started on Opie and Anthony and was then given a half-hour special by Comedy Central. Now he plays at rock clubs and theatres.
I had honestly never heard of Tony Roberts when I wrote this article but after watching a bunch of his clips I’m a fan. This dude brings crazy energy to the stage. Hailing from Detroit, this guy has been on Def Comedy Jam, BET’s ComicView, and It’s Showtime at the Apollo.
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