10 Must Watch Stand-Up Comedians

1. Frankie Boyle

“The government are considering spending £3million on a state funeral for Margaret Thatcher when she dies. For £3million they could buy everyone in Scotland a shovel, and we’ll dig a hole deep enough to deliver her to Satan ourselves.”

He is the unmatched master of black comedy. The Scot has carved a niche for himself on British television owing to his risque act. He has appeared on television shows such as Mock the Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks and is the host of the show Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights. His material touches upon everything from murder, pedophilia to autism and terrorism. Sprinkled among them are hilarious routines about Scottish people and the foibles of the British society. He has released two live DVDs named Live at the Hackney Empire and If I Could Reach Out Through Your TV and Strangle You I Would. You’ll either find him extremely offensive or extremely funny.

2. Michael McIntyre

“My wife and I both made a list of 5 people we could sleep with. She read hers out and there were no surprises, George Clooney, Brad Pitt etc. I thought ‘Ive got the better deal here’ so I just put down: Your sister”

At first he might look slightly Asian and camp, something he agrees with, but he’s the big thing in comedy right now. Performing in front of full houses around Britain, he is a must watch. His material focuses on everyday life and embarrassing situations that we often find ourselves in. He draws inspiration from the English way of life and his keen observations of human behaviour often result in hilarious routines. His major television appearances have been on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Britain’s Got Talent where he serves as a judge; apart from appearances on various panel shows. He has released two DVDs named Live and Laughing and Hello Wembley.

3. Jimmy Carr

“I worry about my nan. If she’s alone and falls, does she make a noise? I’m joking, she’s dead.”

Another British comic completes the top 3 of our list. Jimmy Carr’s unique act features dark humour with an unmatched style of delivery. He might seem posh to you at first but soon his jokes about disability, rape, torture etc. will make you go, “Why am I laughing at that!”. One particular video of him being heckled during a performance has received over 2 million+ hits on YouTube because of the way he dismantles the heckler, completely battering him into submission! On television he hosts the show 8 out of 10 Cats and hosts the annual new year show, The Big Fat Quiz of The Year. He has released 6 DVDs to date named Live, Stand Up, Comedian, In Concert, Telling Jokes, and Making People Laugh.

4. Greg Giraldo

“If you’re going to dedicate your career to ranting about the excesses of American capitalism, you probably shouldn’t weigh 450 pounds.”

Greg Giraldo was undoubtedly one of the funniest American comedians around. His death in 2010 came as shock to everyone. A lawyer by profession, he is fondly remembered for his awesome performances on Comedy Central’s annual Roast Specials where he roasted celebrities such as William Shatner, Chevy Chase, Pamela Anderson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bob Saget etc. Despite this, his best work was his stand-up comedy where he really came into his own. Talking about everything from the unhealthy American lifestyle to our unsustainable modern society, he wasn’t just funny, he was intelligent. He mostly performed short specials on Comedy Central and released an album named Good Day To Cross A River and a DVD named Midlife Vices. A truly funny guy who will be missed.

5. Jim Gaffigan

“Whenever you are single, all you see are couples, but whenever you are a couple, all you see are hookers.”

Two words describe this guy: Unbelievably Funny! Seriously I haven’t laughed as much over an hour and a half as I did watching him perform on stage. His mode of delivering the jokes is what sets him apart from the rest. While talking about something he’ll abruptly switch his voice to sound like a member of his audience saying things like “Oh this guy is going to hell”, or “He’s weird!”. He talks about the most mundane stuff around like food or family traditions but somehow manages to extract comedy from them. He has released five albums and two DVDs named Beyond the Pale and King Baby.

6. Jack Dee

“My local’s rough as anything. I went to the pub quiz the other night, first question was, “What the f**k are you looking at?”

Jack Dee’s USP lies in the way he tells his jokes. On stage he comes off as an easily irritated person who just basically hates the world! He slags off everyone from telemarketers to Cockneys (a possible overlap) and mostly does observational comedy with some really loud moments in between. He usually ends his show by reading out comments or SMS’es sent by his audience which results in some truly laugh out loud situations. He has released six shows on VHS and DVDs to date. His last two DVDs Live Again and Live At The Apollo shouldn’t be missed.

7. Danny Bhoy

“I saw corn-fed, farm-reared breast of chicken on the menu of a posh restaurant. I thought, I don’t really care about the chicken’s childhood!”

Part Scottish part Indian, Danny Bhoy is a very funny guy. His comedy is mostly observational and his impressions of people of different nationalities are extremely funny. A lot of his material also focuses on his Scottish heritage and is often hilarious. He appeared on Comedy Central performing a special named Subject to Change and has also performed on Live at The Apollo.

8. Brian Regan

“ I would have been a lot better off if I’d studied more when I was growing up, y’know. But you know where it all went wrong was the day they started the spelling bee. Because up until that day I was an idiot, but nobody else knew.”

An immensely talented comedian and an equally lovable person, Brian Regan has gained quite a large fan base in the US. His observational and self deprecating humour often leaves audiences in splits. He sometimes does slapstick, physical humour too; just the image of him jumping around on the stage makes me laugh! He has performed specials for Comedy Central and has released three DVDs titled Epitome of Hyperbole, Standing Up and All By Myself.

9. Adam Hills

Adam Hills is Australia’s darling. A genuinely funny comic from down under, he has quickly made a name for himself after appearing on shows such as Mock The Week, Never Mind The Buzzcocks in Britain and has his own weekly talk show named Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight on Australian television. What’s unique about his stand-up is that he uses a sign language interpreter for deaf people among his audience. In one routine of his, he actually talks about how sign language is a bit racist! Being from Australia, a lot of his material focuses on Australians and their way of life. His shows often involve interaction with members of the audience and have a general feel good environment about them. Check out his solo work Characterful, Joymonger and Inflatable.

10. Milton Jones

” I once baked a pie and took it to Leeds, Reading and Liverpool. All because my teacher told me to take pie (pi) to three dismal (decimal) places”

On first look he’d probably come across as a homeless person on a bad hair day! But Milton Jones is an incredibly funny comic. His style of humour is based on one-liners and puns. The way he incorporates this play on words into his material is truly brilliant. His deadpan delivery style further adds to the hilarious nature of his jokes which, admittedly, take a couple of seconds to be fully understood and appreciated! He has released one DVD titled Milton Jones Live Universe Tour.

Special Mention:

Russell Peters, Robin Williams, Ed Byrne, Dara O’Braian, Russell Brand, Mark Watson


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Surabhi on October 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    I take it that you are not a major fan of Russell Peters… That is a pleasant surprise!

    Good listing! 🙂


  2. Thanks!
    Russell Peter’s good but, simply put, not as good as these guys. Plus he hasn’t released anything new since ages.
    I’d probably also add Ricky Gervais (of The Office fame) and Stewart Francis to the list.


  3. Posted by Diego on November 11, 2011 at 5:08 am

    Great list, though I would add Hari Kondabolu to any list of great comedians, especially those doing noteworthy work.


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