Posted by: CJ | April 8, 2009


Having grown up with many people my age, I’m acutely aware that they’re dismally stupid and have horrible tastes. Bad music, bad fashion, bad movies, bad cars, and laughable life goals. And that’s what I was thinking when a friend of mine recommended the stand-up comedian Mitch Hedberg.

I wasn’t disappointed. With lines like “I wouldn’t stay at a bed and breakfast–I’d be hungry by the end of the day,’ I guessed he was doing an ironic impression of an awful standup comedian. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

So I started thinking about what stand-up comedians I really like, and started making a list. I like lists. What I mostly discovered from my list, aside from reassuring myself of my own good taste, is that I have three major criteria for a good stand-up comedian: their comedy should focus on serious social and political issues, they should have a filthy mouth, and it helps to have major substance abuse issues.

My favorite stand-up comedians are, in no particular order,

  • Richard Pryor
  • George Carlin
  • Bill Cosby
  • Robin Williams
  • Eddie Izzard
  • Dennis Miller (before his substance abuse problems with Republicanism)

The above comedians are surely a sign that, as my Grandpa would say, my parents were too successful in making me a “damn hippy.” (In my defense I did drastically overeat with a mammoth omlet, hash browns, and toast breakfast with bottomless coffee at a local diner a few weeks ago. So I’m like a truck-stop damn hippy.)

I don’t tend to like more modern comedians too much. Though I have a few guilty pleasures:

  • Lewis Black (when I want to feel angry or outraged without turning out angry or outrageous music on my iPod)
  • Jeff Foxworthy (very guilty pleasure, and only when I don’t have to go out of my way to watch him)
  • Chris Rock

According to this Comedy Central survey I need to watch more stand-up from Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, Steve Martin, Rodney Dangerfield, Roseanne, and Eddie Murphy. Thankfully, youtube exists.



  1. You do not need more Roseanne or Dangerfield. You might consider vintage Bob Newhart or Smothers Brothers.

    And I’m still laughing–are you sure you’re not secretly writing for some standup I haven’t discovered yet?

  2. If you’re not already familiar with him, you need to acquaint yourself with the late, great Bill Hicks.

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