Comedian

A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience by making them laugh. This might take many forms including jokes, satirical observations, amusing situations, acting foolish (as in slapstick) or employing prop comedy. A comedian who addresses an audience directly is called a stand-up comedian. Other practises include the sitcom, sketch comedy and improv genres.

A popular saying, variously quoted but generally attributed to Ed Wynn,[1] is, "A comic says funny things; a comedian says things funny", which draws a distinction between how much of the comedy can be attributed to verbal content and how much to acting and persona.

A lot of creative and original comedy is based on surrealism and absurdity. Early pioneers in these comedic forms include Spike Milligan and Monty Python. Current examples include Vic and Bob, Noel Fielding and Sam Simmons. Elements of surreal and absurd comedy include the non-sequitur (where language or events do not follow a logical process/sequence), irony (where a message is conveyed in a way contrary to its content) and deadpan performance (in the face of surreal and absurd situations, furthering the absurdity).

Since the 1980s, a new wave of comedy, called alternative comedy, has grown in popularity with more offbeat and experimental style. Alternative comedy was initially inspired by punk culture and rejected old comedy forms, the establishment and bigoted humour. Ben Elton, Rik Mayall, Malcolm Hardee and Alexi Sayle were among the most well-known 1980's alternative comedians. Alternative comedy experienced a revival around 2010, with Stewart Lee promoting the liberal, progressive values of the movement and many younger comedians in the UK banding together in groups dedicated to alternative comedy including The Alternative Comedy Memorial Society and the Weirdos Collective.

Many comics achieve a cult following while touring famous comedy hubs such as the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, the Edinburgh Fringe, and Melbourne Comedy Festival in Australia. Often a comic's career advances significantly when they win a notable comedy award, such as the Edinburgh Comedy Award (formerly the Perrier comedy award). Comics sometimes foray into other areas of entertainment, such as film and television, where they become more widely known; e.g., Eddie Izzard or Russell Brand. However, a comic's stand-up success does not guarantee a film's critical or box office success.

Comedian
Laurel & Hardy reading The New Movie
Laurel and Hardy, one of the most famous comedy duos during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema
MediumTheatre, stand-up, comedy club, television, film
Ancestor artsJester, harlequinade, clown
Originating cultureHumour

History

Ancient Greeks

Comedians can be dated back to 425 BC, when Aristophanes, a comic author and playwright, wrote ancient comedic plays. He wrote 40 comedies, 11 of which survive and are still being performed. Aristophanes' comedy style took the form of satyr plays.[2]

Shakespearean comedy

The English poet and playwright William Shakespeare wrote many comedies. A Shakespearean comedy is one that has a happy ending, usually involving marriages between the unmarried characters, and a tone and style that is more light-hearted than Shakespeare's other plays.

Modern era

Chaplin The Champion
Charlie Chaplin in the film The Champion, 1915

Charlie Chaplin was the most popular screen comedian of the first half of the 20th century. Chaplin and Stan Laurel were protégés of Fred Karno, the English theatre impresario of British music hall, and in his biography Laurel stated, "Fred Karno didn't teach Charlie [Chaplin] and me all we know about comedy. He just taught us most of it".[3] Chaplin wrote comedic silent films such as Modern Times and The Kid. His films still have a major impact on comedy in films today.[4]

One of the most popular forms of modern-day comedy is stand-up comedy. Stand-up comedy is a comic monologue performed by one or more people standing on a stage.[5] Bob Hope was the most popular stand-up comedian of the 20th century, and also starred in numerous comedy films over a five-decade span. Other noted stand-up comedians include Billy Connolly, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Jerry Seinfeld, Dylan Moran, Lee Evans, Patton Oswalt and Jo Brand.

Radio has been a proving-ground for many comedians. Ricky Gervais began his career at a London radio station called XFM and Chris Morris began his career at Radio Cambridgeshire. The League of Gentlemen, Mitchell and Webb and The Mighty Boosh all transferred to television after broadcasting on BBC Radio 4. Between 2002 and 2011 BBC Radio 6 Music used to feature regular shows presented by comedians including Phil Jupitus, Stephen Merchant and Adam & Joe. Now BBC radio comedy is mainly available on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra. Before television, radio was one of the main ways to enjoy comedy, The Goon Show and Hancock's Half Hour being among the most popular early shows.

On television there are comedy talk shows where comedians make fun of current news or popular topics. Such comedians include Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Graham Norton, Jim Jefferies, James Corden, Jonathan Ross, David Letterman, and Chelsea Handler. There are sketch comedies, such as Mr. Show with Bob and David and Monty Python who created their sketch comedy show Monty Python's Flying Circus (a BBC show that influenced Saturday Night Live), then there are sitcoms, for example Roseanne, Only Fools and Horses and Not Going Out, as well as popular panel shows like The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, Have I Got News for You and Celebrity Juice.

Comedy is increasingly enjoyed online. Comedians with popular long-running podcasts series include Kevin Smith, Richard Herring and PewDiePie. Comedians streaming videos of their stand-up include Bridget Christie, Louis C.K. and Daniel Kitson. Many comedians publicise their work and build an audience through social media, especially Twitter.

Jokes

There are many established formats for jokes. One example is the pun or double-entendre, where similar words are interchanged. The Two Ronnies often used puns and double-entendre.[6] Stewart Francis and Tim Vine are examples of current comedians who deploy numerous puns. Jokes based on puns tend to be very quick and easy to digest, which sometimes leads to other joke forms being overlooked, for example in the Funniest Joke of the Fringe awards. Other jokes may rely on confounding an audience's expectations through a misleading setup (known as a 'pull back and reveal' in the UK and a 'leadaway' in the US).[7] Ed Byrne is an example of a comedian who has used this technique.[8] Some jokes are based on ad absurdum extrapolations, for example much of Richard Herring and Ross Noble's standup.[9]. In ironic humour there is an intentional mismatch between a message and the form in which it is conveyed (for example the work of Danielle Ward). Other joke forms include observation (Michael McIntyre), whimsy (David O'Doherty), self-deprecation (Robin Williams) and parody (Diane Morgan).

Personality traits

In a January 2014 study, conducted in the British Journal of Psychiatry, scientists found that comedians tend to have high levels of psychotic personality traits. In the study, researchers analyzed 404 male and 119 female comedians from Australia, Britain, and the United States. The participants were asked to complete an online questionnaire designed to measure psychotic traits in healthy people. They found that comedians scored "significantly higher on four types of psychotic characteristics compared to a control group of people who had non-creative jobs." Gordon Claridge, a professor of experimental psychology at the University of Oxford and leader of the study claimed, "the creative elements needed to produce humor are strikingly similar to those characterizing the cognitive style of people with psychosis—both schizophrenia and bipolar disorder."[10] However, labeling comedians' personality traits as "psychotic" does not mean that individual is a psychopath,[11][12] since psychopathy is distinct from psychosis, and neither does it mean their behavior is necessarily pathological.

Highest-paid comedians

Forbes publishes an annual list of the most financially successful comedians in the world, similarly to their Celebrity 100 list. Their data sources include Nielsen Media Research, Pollstar, Box Office Mojo and IMDb.[13] The list was topped by Jerry Seinfeld from 2006 until 2015, who lost the title to Kevin Hart in 2016.[14] In that year, the eight highest paid comedians were from the United States, including Amy Schumer, who became the first woman to be listed in the top ten.[15] The top ten of 2016 are as follows:[a]

Rank Name Annual earnings (USD) Nationality Age Notable works
1 Kevin Hart $87.5 million  United States 38 Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain, Ride Along, The Secret Life of Pets
2 Jerry Seinfeld $43.5 million 63 Seinfeld, The Marriage Ref, I'm Telling You for the Last Time
3 Terry Fator $21 million 52 America's Got Talent
4 Amy Schumer $17 million 36 Trainwreck, Inside Amy Schumer, 2015 MTV Movie Awards
5 Jeff Dunham $13.5 million 55 Spark of Insanity, Arguing with Myself, Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special
6 Dave Chappelle $13 million 44 Dave Chappelle's Block Party, Half Baked, Chappelle's Show
7 Jim Gaffigan $12.5 million 51 Jim Gaffigan: Mr. Universe, The Jim Gaffigan Show, It's Kind of a Funny Story
8 Gabriel Iglesias $9.5 million 41 Hot and Fluffy, The Fluffy Movie, Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution
9 Russell Peters $9 million  Canada 47 Red, White and Brown, Outsourced, Breakaway
10 John Bishop $7 million  United Kingdom 51 John Bishop's Britain, The John Bishop Show, Panto!

See also

Notes

  1. ^ The Forbes 2016 list appears to exclude people often regarded as comedians who are better known for other professions, despite having earned more than some in the list's top ten, including actors Adam Sandler and Melissa McCarthy, and late-night talk show hosts Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon.

References

  1. ^ "Simpson's Contemporary Quotations, 1988". Archived from the original on 2008-03-16. Retrieved 2008-04-01.
  2. ^ Aristophanes. Lysistrata. pp. ix.
  3. ^ Burton, Alan (2000). Pimple, pranks & pratfalls: British film comedy before 1930. Flicks Books. p. 51.
  4. ^ Sigler, Michael S (1 May 2001). "Charlie Chaplin Biography". Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  5. ^ "'stand-up comedy' definition". Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  6. ^ BBC News - Ronnie Corbett Christmas Return
  7. ^ Chortle - Missing A Trick
  8. ^ Chortle - Missing A Trick
  9. ^ Russel Howard's Good News Extra
  10. ^ Kelland, Kate (16 January 2014). "Comedians have psychotic personality traits, study finds". Reuters. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  11. ^ Suebsaeng, Asawin (18 January 2014). "Study Says Comedians Have Psychotic Personality Traits—Here's What Some Comedians Have To Say About That". Mother Jones. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  12. ^ Cooper-White, Macrina (17 January 2014). "Comedians Have 'High Levels' Of Psychotic Personality Traits, New Study Shows". Huffington Post. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  13. ^ Forbes (27 September 2016). "The World's Highest-Paid Comedians 2016". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  14. ^ Berg, Madeline (27 September 2016). "The Highest-Paid Comedians 2016: Kevin Hart Dethrones Jerry Seinfeld As Cash King Of Comedy With $87.5 Million Payday". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  15. ^ Desta, Yohana (27 September 2016). "Amy Schumer Is the First Woman to Land on Forbes' Highest-Paid Comedians List". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
Ali (actor)

Ali (born 10 October 1968) is an Indian actor and TV presenter who works predominantly in Telugu cinema. He acted in more than 1000 films in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. He is a regular actor in Pawan Kalyan and Puri Jagannadh movies. The Academy of Global Peace conferred an honorary doctorate to Ali on 25 May 2013 at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. He won two Filmfare Awards and two Nandi Awards and is famous for his comic roles.

Black comedy

Black comedy, also known as dark comedy or gallows humor, is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. Comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include death and violence (murder, suicide, abuse, domestic violence, graphic violence, rape, torture, war, genocide, terrorism, corruption), discrimination (chauvinism, racism, sexism, homophobia), disease (anxiety, depression, nightmares, drug abuse, mutilation, disability, terminal illness, insanity), sexuality (sodomy, homosexuality, incest, infidelity, fornication), religion, and barbarism.

Black comedy differs from blue comedy which focuses more on crude topics such as nudity, sex, and bodily fluids. Although the two are interrelated, black comedy is also different from straightforward obscenity in that it is more subtle and does not necessarily have the explicit intention of offending people. In obscene humor, much of the humorous element comes from shock and revulsion, while black comedy might include an element of irony, or even fatalism. For example, an archetypal example of black comedy in the form of self-mutilation appears in the English novel Tristram Shandy. Tristram, five years old at the time, starts to urinate out of an open window for lack of a chamber pot. The sash falls and circumcises him; his family reacts with both hysteria and philosophical acceptance.

Literary critics have associated black comedy and black humor with authors as early as the ancient Greeks with Aristophanes.Whereas the term black comedy is a relatively broad term covering humor relating to many serious subjects, gallows humor tends to be used more specifically in relation to death, or situations that are reminiscent of dying.

Black humor can occasionally be related to the grotesque genre.

Brahmanandam

Brahmanandam Kanneganti (born 1 February 1956) is an Indian film actor and comedian, known for his works predominantly in Telugu cinema. He currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most screen credits for a living actor. He was honoured with the Padma Shri, for his contribution to Indian cinema in 2009. Brahmanandam is regarded as one of the finest comic actors of India, noted particularly for his comic expressions. He has acted in more than 1,000 films to date and has been one of the most highly paid comedy actors in Indian Cinema. Brahmanandam has garnered five state Nandi Awards, one Filmfare Award South, six CineMAA Awards, and three South Indian International Movie Awards for best comedy.

Hannibal Buress

Hannibal Amir Buress (, born February 4, 1983) is an American comedian, actor, writer, and producer. He started performing comedy in 2002 while attending Southern Illinois University. He has co-starred on Adult Swim's The Eric Andre Show since 2012 and has featured on Comedy Central's Broad City since 2014.

Jerry Seinfeld

Jerome Allen Seinfeld ( SYNE-feld; born April 29, 1954) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, producer, and director. He is known for playing himself in the sitcom Seinfeld, which he created and wrote with Larry David. As a stand-up comedian, Seinfeld specializes in observational comedy; in 2005, Comedy Central named Seinfeld the "12th Greatest Stand-up Comedian of All Time."Seinfeld produced, co-wrote and starred in the 2007 film Bee Movie. In 2010, he premiered a reality series called The Marriage Ref, which aired for two seasons on NBC. He is the creator and host of the web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

John Oliver

John William Oliver (born 23 April 1977) is an English comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, and television host. Oliver started his career as a stand-up comedian, both in the United Kingdom and United States. He came to wider attention for his work on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as its senior British correspondent from 2006 to 2013. Oliver won three Primetime Emmy Awards for his work as a writer on The Daily Show and was its guest host for an eight-week period in 2013. In addition to The Daily Show, Oliver co-hosted the satirical comedy podcast The Bugle (2007–2015) with Andy Zaltzman, with whom Oliver had previously co-hosted the radio series Political Animal, and hosted John Oliver's New York Stand-Up Show on Comedy Central from 2010 to 2013. He has also acted on television, most notably in a recurring role as Ian Duncan on the NBC sitcom Community.

Since 2014, Oliver has been the host of the HBO series Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. He has received widespread critical and popular recognition for his work on the series, whose influence over US culture, legislation and policymaking has been dubbed the "John Oliver effect". For his work on Last Week Tonight, Oliver has won six Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards and was included in the 2015 Time 100, being described as a "comedic agent of change...powerful because he isn't afraid to tackle important issues thoughtfully, without fear or apology."

Kapil Sharma (comedian)

Kapil Sharma (born 2 April 1981) is an Indian stand-up comedian, television presenter, actor and producer. As of February 2019, he hosts The Kapil Sharma Show. He also hosted television comedy shows like Comedy Nights with Kapil, The Kapil Sharma Show, Family Time with Kapil.

Ormax Media rated Kapil Sharma the most popular Indian television personality in April 2016. Forbes India ranked him at 11th position in their Celebrity 100 list in the year 2016.

Forbes India ranked him at 18th position in their Celebrity 100 list in the year 2017 with an income of Rs. 48 crore. In 2013, he was awarded the CNN-IBN Indian of the Year in the entertainment category, and was ranked third in the Most Admired Indian Personality List by The Economic Times in 2015. Sharma was nominated for the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was invited to the Rashtrapati Bhavan by President Pranab Mukherjee in September 2015 to acknowledge his contribution for the same.

Kevin Hart

Kevin Darnell Hart (born July 6, 1979) is an American comedian, actor and producer. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Hart began his career by winning several amateur comedy competitions at clubs throughout New England, culminating in his first real break in 2001 when he was cast by Judd Apatow for a recurring role on the TV series Undeclared. The series lasted only one season, but he soon landed other roles in films such as Paper Soldiers (2002), Scary Movie 3 (2003), Soul Plane (2004), In the Mix (2005), and Little Fockers (2010).

Hart's comedic reputation continued to grow with the release of his first stand-up album, I'm a Grown Little Man (2008), and performances in the films Think Like a Man (2012), Grudge Match (2013), Ride Along (2014) and its sequel Ride Along 2 (2016), About Last Night (2014), Get Hard (2015), Central Intelligence (2016), The Secret Life of Pets (2016), Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (2017), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), and Night School (2018).

He also released four more comedy albums, Seriously Funny in 2010, Laugh at My Pain in 2011, Let Me Explain in 2013, and What Now? in 2016. In 2015, Time Magazine named Hart one of the 100 most influential people in the world on the annual Time 100 list. He starred as himself in the lead role of Real Husbands of Hollywood.

List of YouTubers

This is a list of notable YouTubers. YouTubers are people who are mostly known for their work on YouTube. This list does not include notable persons who have a YouTube presence who are not known primarily for their contributions to YouTube.

Martin Lawrence

Martin Fitzgerald Lawrence (born April 16, 1965) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, producer, talk show host, and writer.

Lawrence came to fame during the 1990s, establishing a Hollywood career as a leading actor, most notably in the Fox television sitcom Martin and the films House Party, Boomerang, Bad Boys, Wild Hogs, Nothing to Lose, Blue Streak, Life, Big Momma's House and A Thin Line Between Love & Hate.

Matt Lucas

Matthew Richard Lucas (born 5 March 1974) is an English comedian, screenwriter, actor and singer, best known for his work with David Walliams in the television show Little Britain, as well as for his portrayals of the scorekeeping baby Georgie Dawes in the comedy panel game Shooting Stars, both Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee in Alice in Wonderland and its sequel, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Nardole in the tenth series of Doctor Who.

Norm Macdonald

Norman Gene Macdonald (born October 17, 1959) is a Canadian stand-up comedian, writer, and actor. He was a cast member for five seasons on Saturday Night Live, which included anchoring Weekend Update for three years. Early in his career, he wrote for the sitcom Roseanne and made appearances on shows including The Drew Carey Show and NewsRadio. He starred in The Norm Show from 1999 to 2001. Paste named him #31 on their The 50 Best Stand-up Comics of All Time.

Observational comedy

Observational comedy is a form of humor based on the commonplace aspects of everyday life. It is one of the main types of humor in stand-up comedy. In an observational comedy act the comedian "makes an observation about something from the backwaters of life, an everyday phenomenon that is rarely noticed or discussed." The humor is based on the premise of "Have you ever noticed?" (or "Did you ever notice?"), which has become a comedy cliché. "Observational humour usually took the form of long monologues of personal narrative, and the punch-line was either hard to predict or never came."

Ray Romano

Raymond Albert Romano (born December 21, 1957) is an American stand-up comedian, actor and screenwriter. He is best known for his role on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond, for which he received an Emmy Award, and as the voice of Manny in the Ice Age film series. He created and starred in the TNT comedy-drama Men of a Certain Age (2009–11). From 2012 to 2015, Romano had a recurring role as Hank Rizzoli, a love interest of Sarah Braverman in Parenthood, and co-starred in the romantic comedy The Big Sick (2017).

Ron White

Ronald Dee White (born December 18, 1956) is an American stand-up comedian and actor, best known as a charter member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. Nicknamed "Tater Salad", he is the author of the book I Had the Right to Remain Silent But I Didn't Have the Ability, which appeared on the New York Times best seller list.

Russell Peters

Russell Dominic Peters (born September 29, 1970) is a Canadian stand-up comedian and actor. He began performing in Toronto in 1989 and won a Gemini Award in 2008. In 2013, he was number three on Forbes' list of the world's highest-paid comedians, and became the first comedian to get a Netflix stand-up special. He also won the Peabody Award and the International Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming for producing Hip-Hop Evolution (2016). He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Sketch comedy

Sketch comedy comprises a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio or visual medium such as radio and television. Often sketches are first improvised by the actors and written down based on the outcome of these improv sessions; however, such improvisation is not necessarily involved in sketch comedy.

An individual comedy sketch is a brief scene or vignette of the type formerly used in vaudeville, and now used widely in comedy and variety shows, talk shows and some children's television series (such as Sesame Street). Warner Bros. Animation made two sketch comedy shows, including Mad and Right Now Kapow.

Sketch comedians routinely differentiate their product from a "skit", maintaining that a skit is a (single) dramatized joke (or "bit") while a sketch is a comedic exploration of a concept, character or situation.

Stand-up comedy

Stand-up comedy is a comic style in which a comedian performs in front of a live audience, usually speaking directly to them. The performer is commonly known as a comic, stand-up comic, comedian, comedienne, stand-up comedian, or simply a stand-up. In stand-up comedy, the comedian gives the illusion that they are dialoguing, but in actuality, they are monologuing a grouping of humorous stories, jokes and one-liners, typically called a shtick. Some stand-up comedians use props, music or magic tricks

to enhance their acts. Stand-up comedy is stated to be the "freest form of comedy writing" that is normally regarded as an "extension of" the person performing.

The improvization of stand-up is often compared to jazz music.

A comedian's process of writing is likened to the process of song writing.

A comedian's ability to tighten their material has been likened to crafting a samurai sword.

YouTuber

A YouTuber, also known as a YouTube personality, YouTube celebrity, or YouTube content creator, is a type of internet celebrity and videographer who has gained popularity from their videos on the video-sharing website YouTube. Networks sometimes support YouTube celebrities. Some YouTube personalities have corporate sponsors who pay for product placement in their clips or production of online ads. As of February 2019, PewDiePie is the most-subscribed YouTuber, with over 86 million subscribers.

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