Over the years, friends, reporters, patrons and students have asked me “Who are your favorite comedians?” So I thought I’d share with you, my Top 10 comedic “GREATS” of all-time – the ones that inspire me, each for different reasons – but they all have one thing in common – Clean Comedy:
- Carol Burnett – quite possibly the strongest comedian hands down!! From her variety of characters to her deadpan delivery
- Tim Conway – his responses to everything, his comedic timing was flawless. and most importantly his PTC Integrity award recipient for life long clean comedy.
- Bob Newhart – dry, straight forward and proof that comedy is a serious business
- Dick Van Dyke – his physical comedy, facial reactions and he “has fun” with all he does
- Red Skelton – his wide variety of characters and facial reactions
- Bob Hope - every stand up performances in his USO tours is better than any stand up comic today
- Lucille Ball - her delivery, her facial expressions and emotional reactions
- Laurel & Hardy – true “straight man / funny man” team… the masters of slapstick and the use of silence
- The Marx Brothers – The use of their other talents to compliment their funny (singing, dancing, musical instruments)
- Bill Cosby – his clean stand up career, his “everyday people” style, and family values he incorporates
and although he missed the mark on “clean comedy” I must give recognition to Robin Williams – quite possibly the fastest comedic brain EVER… his mouth cannot keep up with his ideas.
When I tell my students to study comedic actors, I tell them to avoid MANY of the comedians of today. If they want TRUE comedic genius – watch any of the above list… they understood “why” audiences laughed. There was no “shock” value in their work. They understood what it meant to set up a joke, set up your partner for a punchline, etc.
I may also say that this list is just the list for the clean comedians that inspire me. I have a separate list that includes more recent greats like Dan Ackroyd, Steve Martin, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Monty Python, Jerry Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan, etc. etc. – the list goes on and on and includes more recent comedians. That list will be made another day.
Who inspires you? Who are your favorite comedians? and WHY?? Go to our facebook page and give us your list!!