Scott Hardie | April 12, 2022
2022 seems to be a deadly year for comedians: Bob Saget, Norm Macdonald, Louie Anderson, and today, Gilbert Gottfried. It's like an entire generation of comics is dropping dead. Jerry Seinfeld had better watch out. :-(

I've written before about Louie Anderson and what he meant to me. Gottfried gave the single funniest live performance I've ever seen by a comic, a blistering, non-stop 60-minute set that was utterly relentless and shockingly raunchy and hilarious in every single sentence. He did not pause for laughter; he barely paused to breathe. I have never laughed so hard or so much at any comedian, and I've seen my share. (I've already posted Gotffried's infamous Michael Jackson joke.)

What are your thoughts on these comedians? And who is the funniest comic you've ever seen, live or recorded?

Samir Mehta | April 14, 2022
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Scott Hardie | April 14, 2022
Great list! You mentioned the confessional style, and I thought immediately of Birbiglia, whose albums have impressed me. And I agree about true softies (which Gottfried was said to be in private) being able to write the best offensive jokes because of their empathy; I like Anthony Jeselnik ok, but his relentlessly mean-spirited comedy has yet to reach the heights (or is it depths?) of some of the others mentioned.

I'm on the fence about Burr. I like his empathetic side, and I don't mind when he gets angry and lobs truth-bombs like they're Molotovs. But too often he blurs the line so much that his punching-down style becomes hard to hear. If you're going to be offensive, you'd better be funny or truthful, and his work isn't always.

He's not the funniest comedian that I've seen live, but the one who most surprised me was Carlos Mencia. He has a reputation as a hack, and I've said numerous times here (for example and example) that he's not my type at all. And yet, eventually seeing him live a few years ago, he was both way more high-energy and way more raunchy than I expected, and I laughed quite a bit. I can't tell if his reputation is based on his hit show Mind of Mencia being watered down by the network and people thinking that's all he could do, or if some kind of racism played into it (as we discussed in TC, his contemporary Dave Chappelle got away with joking non-stop about race, so why was Mencia penalized for it?), but he was definitely better than his reputation.

Samir Mehta | April 14, 2022
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