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Prepare to burn your Michael McIntyre DVDs, expats, and replace them with the complete works of these astonishing, all-American jesters. (See also: 10 British comedians who Americans should know.)
If you haven’t discovered and fallen in comedic love with this portly, balding red head, then, frankly, where have you been, and what’s wrong with you? He’s obsessively fresh, producing a lengthy stand-up special with all original material every year. Then there’s his nearly eponymous, almost autobiographical sitcom, Louie, which he writes, directs and stars in. Each episode takes a dark dive in the dank recesses of CK’s less successful, parallel universe self. Louis’ shtick? He goes there. Always. Relentlessly.
The comedian, writer and frequent user of the word “doody” to magical comic effect is probably—no, definitely—the funniest person on this or any other list you’d care to compile. She had a Comedy Central sitcom for three seasons and now mostly does mind-meltingly hilarious stand up.
Famous for being the funniest person on Twitter, Delaney is also a brilliant stand up who can flit seamlessly from a satirical takedown of the homophobic to, say, sandwiches. The Massachusetts native has also spoken and written compellingly about his battles with depression and alcohol.
Last year, Notaro went a bit viral with her legendary set, in which she simultaneously tackled her mother’s death and her own cancer diagnosis. An astonished audience of fans and her comedic colleagues took to Twitter to gush profusely. And they were right: it’s an astonishing 30 minutes, which you can download on iTunes or similar for $5. But warm up to Tig first with this taster.
The smutty stand-up likes to riff on her sex life and does it so well she bagged a sketch show on Comedy Central. Inside Amy Schumer debuted last year and a second season started earlier this month.
Fox recently picked up his show, Mulaney, and his Comedy Central special New In Town hit Netflix this January. He’s very much positioned to become the new “It” comedian. But watch this and judge for yourself:
File him not simply under “comedian” but also humorist: as a published author, TED talk speaker, one-time Apple pitchman and Daily Show contributor, his scholarly bent and often amusingly meandering delivery have made him the funnyman du jour for geeks and the intelligentsia. He considers Stephen Fry one of his “heroes.” Have a look and see you can spot Fry’s influence:
The Daily Show regular, late arrival to 30 Rock and voice of Louise Belcher from Bob’s Burgers, Schaal is goofy-faced, klutzy-limbed and an extraordinary stand-up. She’s not afraid to fess up to her real-life sins either, like the time she totally killed a genie to steal his sparkly jacket.
Best known for his acting roles and spoof celebrity interview series, Between Two Ferns, the comedian is also a veteran stand-up whose comedy super powers include the easy destruction of vitriolic hecklers.
The Chicago native presents as laid back and dishes out satisfying blend of swagger, smart observations and absurdity. You’ll particularly love his bit on racism and apple juice. Last year, he inked a well-deserved deal with Comedy Central to produce a web series, Talking to Strangers.
Join @MindtheGap_BBCA on Twitter Wednesday (April 23) at 2 pm/et to discuss the differences between British and American humor—tweet your thoughts using hashtag #MindTheChat.
See more posts by Ruth Margolis
Ruth is a British freelance journalist who recently swapped east London for Brooklyn. She writes about TV for Radio Times and is working on her first novel.