Who is now the greatest living standup comic (after George Carlin's death)?

The question came up in this thread.

I’ll post no opinion for the moment, as my recent exposure to standup is limited to Comedy Central broadcasts which are often several years old.

[del]Christopher Titus, with Eddie Izzard trailing by a hair.[/del]

Changed my mind. Lewis Black in a walk.

Robin Williams, followed by Robin Williams. But if I couldn’t pick Robin Williams, I’d have to go with…Robin Williams.

The best currently performing with great comedy: Lewis Black

The best living Comic: **Bill Cosby ** he had a 20+ year great run, but stopped being funny about 20 years ago.

Honorable mention to **Rita Rudner ** as best living Female Stand-Up Comedian.

You still can’t beat Billy Connolly.

I think Cosby is probably currently the most important, even though his salad days are behind him.

Chris Rock might be the most currently relevant, but I don’t know if he’s been especially groundbreaking. He just does very well within a conventional style and subject matter.

There are a few people that have gone onto movie stardom, but who were once great standups – Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Woody Allen.

There’s a few women who should not be overlooked, Roseanne, Ellen, Lily Tomlin, Joan Rivers.
I also think an argument could be made for Seinfeld.

Having said that, the guy who just puts me on the floor holding my stomach is Dave Chappelle. I wish he’d come back from wherever he went. I think he’s a genius and doesn’t know it.

Arj Barker. Or maybe Patton Oswalt.

ETA: Damn, Diogenes is right. Dave Chappelle it is.

This is a hard call. I can think of a lot of comedians I like and who I would comfortably put in the top tier, but I don’t see an obvious head to the list anymore. I suggested Chris Rock in the other thread. I haven’t seen his latest, but I think he’s the one I’d give it to. If Dave Chappelle got back into big-circuit standup, he’d be a contender. I saw him when I was in college, pre-Chappelle’s Show, and he was really good.

Eddie Izzard doesn’t have the level of insight Carlin did, but damn, when he’s funny he is extremely, make-your-sides-hurt funny, and he sustains it for long period of time. He’s very imaginative, too. He may be a little past his peak, but I haven’t seen his latest stuff. I like Lewis Black a lot, but I think he was funnier a few years ago; he doesn’t take his act quite so seriously these days. When I saw him in about 2003, he seemed more lethal. Billy Connolly is really, really funny, but I think of him as more of a storyteller than a comedian.

A couple of other really good ones seem to have gone too far into partisan politics, like Janeane Garofalo and David Cross. Cross’ first album is really something to hear.

I love Steve Martin’s standup, but he quit so long ago that I can’t say he’s the best living comic - even though I do think he’s one of the best ever. Woody Allen was really funny but also quit decades ago. Robin Williams’ old specials were… for him to be on every drug known to man, several that aren’t and still be that funny is really impressive.


I’ll back up Diogenes’ statement about Bill Cosby, and echo anyone who has already mentioned Patton Oswalt as the funniest comedian now performing. That guy takes the art of standup very seriously.

I second this. I saw Chappelle’s stand-up when he was on tour after the first season of his show. I wish I could convey what that experience was like, especially since I was sitting at the table that was right in front of the stage. If you enjoyed his show, imagine the moment that made you laugh the hardest. Then times that amusement by about 20 and imagine it’s sustained for about 2.5-3 hours (I don’t remember exactly how much time, but it was a long show). That’ll give you an idea of what he’s like live.