The Mount Rushmore of Comedy -- who are your four faces?

Not a problem, I like the cut of your jib. If that were the case then I’d definitely have Ianucci and “the thick of it” writers on the case. Along with John Oliver perhaps?

The OP asked for “comedians”, which in modern parlance almost always refers to performers rather than writers of comedy. Shakespeare was an actor, and Aristophanes may have been one as well, but it is their comedic writing, not their comedic performances, for which they are remembered.

For those of you talking about women you’re missing one of the all time greats Moms Mabley

  1. Richard Pryor
  2. Paul Mooney
  3. Eddie Murphy
  4. Dave Chappelle

All for stand up, of course.

How many of the performers listed so far are going to be remembered in 100 years? Without using a search engine, how many comic performers from the 1800s can you recall?

Marcel Marceau might be remembered.

Let him speak up for himself.

Groucho Marx
George Carlin
Richard Pryor
Carol Burnett

Actually my list was pretty much tongue in cheek (hence the smilie) as I really don’t care for Ron White or Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy’s routine is kind of getting stale. I think out of those 4, Bill Engvall is about the only one to refresh his act occasionally.

Performers from the 1800s aren’t remembered today because there was no good means of recording and reproducing their performances. Motion pictures and sound recordings weren’t invented until the late 19th century, and for the first few decades the recordings were short, of poor quality, and not so widely distributed. Performers from the 20th century, on the other hand, have the benefit of good-quality, easily distributable video and audio recordings, so it’s very likely many of them will continue to be remembered for centuries or millennia, in the same manner of authors, composers, painters, and other creators who work in fixed media.


Since this is the Mount Rushmore of comedians, maybe we should give some thought to who were the funniest Presidents?

Kennedy is almost the only one I can think of known for a quick wit. Maybe Clinton?

Looking through a couple of articles on the subject the three names that pop up often are Kennedy, Reagan and G. W. Bush. Clinton was good at delivering lines written for him but isn’t that witty off stage. Reagan had very good comic timing and loved a good joke. G.W.B. can be very witty off the cuff. Obama seems to have a good sense of humor and seems pretty funny but I’m not sure how much of that is him and how much is him saying someone else’s lines well.

Well, it’s not quite true that they’re not remembered, it’s just that their performances aren’t still familiar.

The great pre-film music-hall and vaudeville comedians like Arthur Lloyd, Marie Lloyd, George Robey, Little Tich, Dan Leno, Cal Stewart, and others are still recognizable names to a lot of people. And a lot of their catchphrases are still embedded in popular culture, even if most people couldn’t identify their source (“Goodbyeeeee!”, “Curb your hilarity”, “That’s the ticket!”, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”, etc.)

But you can’t casually encounter a good-quality recording of most of their performances, so even people familiar with Keaton, Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, etc., have never seen the comedy greats that influenced them.

Johnson looked funny.

Ain’t no American president more risible than the megalomaniacal Saparmurat Niyazov, former President for Life of Turkmenistan. Among his comedic highlighs:
[li]He outlawed ballet, opera, and circuses.[/li][li]He banned TV presenters from wearing makeup as he found it difficult to tell men and women apart.[/li][li]He discouraged Turkmen citizens from getting fillings, saying that they could instead improve their dental health by gnawing on bones.[/li][li]He decreed that the months and days of the week be renamed in honour of him and his mother.[/li][li]He replaced the Hippocratic Oath with an oath to himself.[/li][li]He rewrote the national anthem to honour himself.[/li][li]He wrote a book which became legally required reading in schools and mosques.[/li][li]He had quotations from this book carved into the walls of the country’s mosques.[/li][li]He commissioned a giant golden statue of himself which rotated throughout the day to face the sun.[/li][/ul]

Carlin, Pryor, Murphy, Rock

Groucho Marx
W.C. Fields
Carol Burnett
Lily Tomlin

Johnny Carson
Richard Pryor
Mel Brooks
Lucille Ball

How about an all-terrain team?