10 American Comedians Whom British People Will Love

U.S. comedians to watch: Louis CK, Amy Schumer, Hannibal Buress. (Photos: AP)

U.S. comedians to watch: Louis CK, Amy Schumer, Hannibal Buress. (Photos: AP)

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.)

Louis CK
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.

Sarah Silverman
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.

Rob Delaney

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.

Tig Notaro
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.

Amy Schumer
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.

John Mulaney
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:


John Hodgman
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:

Kristen Schaal
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.

Zach Galifianakis
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.


Hannibal Buress
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:

6 U.K. Television Quirks Only Brits Will Know
11 TV Shows That Explain American Culture (for a British Expat)
British vs. American Ads: Which TV Commercials Make You Blush?

Ruth Margolis

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.
View all posts by Ruth Margolis.
  • Thomas Barnidge

    If any Brit has the stomach to watch the semi-talented comics on this list, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a call to break off diplomatic relations with the US.

  • Pat

    Wow, Ruth Margolis, you chose absolutely HORRIBLE clips to represent the work of these usually very talented comedians.

  • calebmuese@aol.com

    Most of these are not very good at all. The worst one is Tig Notaro. Brits hate mediocre middle aged comics ,with cutesy nicknames, Brits have had a long time to embrace most of these, and they have not for good reason.

  • Cory

    George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Dave Chapelle, Steve Martin and Bob Hope. Try those. This list is pretty bad.

  • Angy Olivier

    Most of these people aren’t really good but it’s only what you find funny. I can’t believe comedians Godfrey, Kevin Hart, or Gabriel Iglesias weren’t on the list. They are on Comedy Central too sometimes and are twice as funny than the ones mentioned/

  • LittleMissCantBeWrong

    I have to disagree with the other commenters. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen most of these comedians live, and they’re all skilled performers and very funny. (The only exception I’ll make is Sarah Silverman, I find her more vulgar than funny).

    I think English people would prefer these comics over the likes if Kevin Hart or Gabriel Iglesias. I’m not hating on them, but they have a broad sense of humor that English people might not appreciate.

  • EnglishMark

    Hi all, I’m a Englishman living in the States, and I write a monthly blog for an American friends’ website underlining the differences (typically with a more humourous bent) between the UK and the US? I was wondering if folks might be interested in checking out some of my entries? This months topic is ‘comedy’. My name is Mark Turner, and I’m a guest writer here > http://jeffreykirk.com/category/guest-writers/
    Thanks in advance for your interest and support! :-)