Greatest Comic Group of the Twentieth Century?

Who are/were the greatest Comic Duo, Group or Troop of the Twentieth Century?
This is a spin off of Greatest Comic Genius of the Twentieth Century
I nominate:
Abbott & Costello
Burns & Allen
Laurel & Hardy
Monty Python
Original Cast SNL
The Goons
The Marx Brothers


The Kids In The Hall.

This threasd is now over. :slight_smile:

Monty Python. The most amazing thing about them, to me, is that even after you go to countless parties where geeks recite Python skits word-for-word, when you sit down and watch the skit again, it’s still funny.

They are beyond geeks’ usual ability to make anything they touch unfunny!

My runners-up would be The Kids in the Hall.

Then way further down, Stella, or maybe some version of the cast of Mad TV.

Of those not mentioned:

The Firesign Theater

And, of course, Monty Python and the Marx Brothers.

Some others:

Flanders and Swann
The Bonzo Dog Band
Spike Jones and his City Slickers.

Python were great, but I think the nod has to go to the Marx Brothers. Longevity, originality and material that transcends language barriers. Watch Duck Soup or Horse Feathers with the sound off sometime. Still funny.

2nd Place goes to the first season Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players. Sheer genius, but like the candle burning at both ends. They never could sustain the level past the first year.

Just ones that haven’t been mentioned, yet:

The Frantics (I’m a huge fan of Dan Redican and Rick Green’s solo stuff as well as the Frantics stuff.)
The Vacant Lot (If for no reason but their ‘Blinded by the Light’ bit.)
Wayne and Shuster (Not very edgy or groundbreaking, but uniformly good.)

I thought in some ways they really didn’t hit their stride until the 2nd and 3rd years. Chevy Chase was great that first year but his departure is when John, Dan & Gilda really stepped up and gave the show its best 2 years. It is a tough call, I would say overall the 75-78 seasons were great.

Python had a similar 3 year run of Genius plus some incredible movies.
Marx Brothers are genius, word play and slapstick. High concepts and low.
Abbott & Costello can compete for “Who’s on First” alone but they made a half dozen very funny movies and six humorous ones.

If pressed I would go with Monty Python & the first 3 seasons of the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Players.


The Goon Show, ran from 1951 to 1960 and contained the combined genius of Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. With the Harry Secombe and for a short while Michael Bentine. For those who don’t know about Spike Milligan, he went on to invent the Monty Python TV style years before Monty Python.
About Spike Milligan

Note also in that link mention of Eric Sykes probably unknown in America, but one of the true comic geniuses of our time. A true vaudervillian who made the transfer to TV and Radio.

The Three Stooges…but only with Curly.

Savoy and Brennan, the godfathers of camp. “You musssst come ovah!”

Monty Python—no question about it. Brilliantly conceived, brilliantly written, brilliantly performed. Enormously influential. Laugh-out-funny bits, and still-funny-when-you-think-about-them-days-later bits. More absolutely classic sketches and routines than any other comedy group.

Yep, and the Goon Show had a HUGE influence on the Monty Python gang.

Two more for consideration:

  1. The cast of Your Show of Shows

  2. The cast of Beyond The Fringe

The Smothers Brothers–too far ahead of their time to be tolerated.

The Laugh-In Crew–for their time, fresh, funny & innovative.

SNL circa 1988, their strongest-ever cast. The original cast broke a lot of ground, but these guys stood on their shoulders and hit unmatched heights. Phil Hartmen, Dennis Miller, Dana Carvey, Jon Lovitz and Jan Hooks were at their considerable peaks.

Also, Guest/McKean/Shearer and their various ensembles. Spinal Tap, Best of Show, Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind. American satire doesn’t get much better.

And don’t discount the various National Lampoon recording projects.

I’ll second “Your Show of Shows”, with Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca & company, and add a vote (at least honorable mention) for SCTV with John Candy, Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, et al.
Also worthy of consideration might be the original cast of the Carol Burnett show with Harvey Korman and Tim Conway.

“What was your inspiration the create the fabulous, and I’m not just saying that, I’m actually salivating at the same time <slurp>, what was your inspiration to create the fabulous CN Tower?”

I’ve only heard a few routines of theirs, but it’s good stuff.

Nobody makes me laugh like the Marxes - I’d say their top five (or so) movies are untouchable, even with the singing in some of them.

What about the unofficial ‘Mel Brooks company?’ Do they count? Harvey Korman, Madeline Kahn, Chloris Leachman, Kenneth Mars… although they didn’t all work together in all of his movies.

Gene Wilder, Marty Feldman, Dom DeLuise and Brooks himself would have to be included. Maybe Ron Carey.
Hell of a group and many of them also did The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother.