Need suggestions for most popular comedians and their most famous bits.
July 22, 2018 9:57 AM   Subscribe

I'm organizing a party where I want to screen all the most well-known comedians of the last 50 years and screen a "signature" bit that each one of them does. Maybe their most famous bit. I haven't really watched much standup, but I imagined this almost like a university survey course of comedy. A funny anthology. Any suggestions would be welcome! Also Youtube links! Thanks in advance.
posted by Sully to Media & Arts (53 answers total) 51 users marked this as a favorite
George Carlin has so many great bits, but my vote would probably go to his Seven Words.
posted by xenization at 10:08 AM on July 22, 2018 [9 favorites]

Jim Gaffigan's Hot Pockets is a classic.
posted by General Malaise at 10:10 AM on July 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

Hard to beat John Mulaney's Salt and Pepper Diner.
posted by hobgadling at 10:16 AM on July 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

It's tough to pick just one bit from Eddie Izzard's Dressed to Kill, but if I'm forced to, it's got to be Cake or Death? (very strong language)
posted by Ufez Jones at 10:19 AM on July 22, 2018 [6 favorites]

Oh, Steve Martin's Excuse Me bit revolutionized what I guess would be called anti-comedy.
posted by General Malaise at 10:28 AM on July 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Also, Patton Oswalt's KFC Bowls bit is a classic.
posted by hobgadling at 10:30 AM on July 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

For the sake of inclusivity and just darn good humor, I'd add Ali Wong--she has two standup specials on Netflix. I'm sure you can just youtube her to find the most funny bits.

Also, Margaret Cho. As an Asian American woman, I really loved anytime she talked about her Korean mother, but Cho is also known to talk extensively about her yoni in descriptive detail. So you can choose the flavor of comedy you want to highlight.

Dave Chappelle. Chris Rock. Eddie Murphy. Richard Pryor. Again they all have bits they are famous for-- sure you can find them on youtube.

Sarah Silverman!
posted by jj's.mama at 10:34 AM on July 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Came in to say Eddie Izzard Dressed to Kill. Cake or Death? would be perfect!!!

Not stand up, but the four skits I have watched and recommended hundreds of times...

- Mitchell and Webb Under the Linden Tree

- The Bill Hader character Anthony Coleman in Puppet Class and Anthony Coleman Takes Another Puppet Class.

- Bill Hader and Zach Galifianakis in an SNL skit called Game of Game of Thrones.

Anything Bill Hicks, but especially the stand up bit It's Just a Ride.
posted by jbenben at 10:37 AM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, can't believe I forgot Kumail Nanjiani, Aziz Ansari, and Maz Jobrani
posted by jj's.mama at 10:38 AM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Steven Wright is so rapid-fire that it's tough to identify a 'signature' bit, but this appearance on The Tonight Show is emblematic of his style, and includes the immortal "I spilled spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone."
posted by googly at 10:52 AM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

This Robin Williams Live on Broadway, but only if those attending your party are not super-sensitive to political satire and off color humor.
posted by forthright at 11:03 AM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Wiki Stand Up comedy
is your friend.
posted by artdrectr at 11:04 AM on July 22, 2018

Assuming you're open to bluer stuff...

Eddie Murphy, Ice Cream Man

Dave Chappelle, Grape Drink (there's probably a better-quality version out there)

Richard Pryor, I Wasn't Really Runnin'
posted by praemunire at 11:27 AM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Rodney Dangerfield No Respect
posted by Jahaza at 11:40 AM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Jeff Foxworthy, You Might Be a Redneck
posted by Jahaza at 11:49 AM on July 22, 2018

This list is a great start
posted by elvissa at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Andrew Dice Clay - Nursery Rhymes NSFW

Catchphrase wise, Joan Rivers always said, "Can we talk?"
posted by NoraCharles at 12:42 PM on July 22, 2018

Ellen DeGeneres calling God (and getting called over to sit on the couch by Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show)
posted by sigmagalator at 1:33 PM on July 22, 2018 [4 favorites]

Anything Greg Giraldo does makes me laugh, but I'd try Death by Chocolate to start.
posted by Wet Hen at 1:58 PM on July 22, 2018

Emo Philips, Golden Gate Bridge (could skip to 2:45 if used in a montage)
posted by chimpsonfilm at 2:23 PM on July 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

This isn’t standup, but it’s a classic and it is absolutely hilarious: Tim Conway’s circus elephant story from The Carol Burnett Show. (One thing that makes it even funnier is the Carol and Co get that look like “oh no, here he goes” and then watching them try not to laugh.)
posted by azpenguin at 2:38 PM on July 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

Roseanne Barr - Domestic Goddess

Margaret Cho - Everybody's a little bit gay

Joan Rivers - All that counts is sex appeal

Gilda Radner - Roseanne Roseannadanna on Smoking

Garfinkel and Oates - Pregnant Women are Smug

Not as well-known now, but if you're looking for a broad survey, I'd include:

Anna Russell - How to Write your Own Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta (you almost certainly don't have time for this, and it's only audio, but I don't care, she was amazing and needs remembering in any thread like this)

Couldn't find a standup link, but here it is on SNL, Danitra Vance - Shakespeare in the Slums

And some token men,

Tom Lehrer - The Vatican Rag (probably his best-known piece, though I prefer National Brotherhood Week)

Victor Borge - Phonetic Punctuation
posted by Mchelly at 3:10 PM on July 22, 2018 [7 favorites]

Definitely has to include some Mitch Hedberg one liners.
posted by nightrecordings at 3:17 PM on July 22, 2018 [5 favorites]

One interesting thing is this "song" by Lazyboy, which is just a beat over one of Greg Giraldo's best bits - Underwear Goes Inside the Pants.
posted by General Malaise at 4:36 PM on July 22, 2018

Bob Newhart doing one of his phone bits, maybe the Abe Lincoln one.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:42 PM on July 22, 2018

I'm not the biggest fan of either, but they're iconic:

--Gallagher is famous for smashing watermelons

--Carrot Top and his bag of props
posted by hydra77 at 4:57 PM on July 22, 2018

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner's best known bit is undoubtedly the 2000 Year Old Man.

Gilbert Gottfried, who is known as "the comedian's comedian", absolutely killed at the Friar's Club Roast of Hugh Hefner (skip to 1:05:15) by doing what comedians never do: telling the dirtiest joke in the world, a/k/a "The Aristocrats". It was even the highlight of a documentary about the joke itself, where other comedians discuss how affected they were.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 5:51 PM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Mitch Hedberg didn’t do many extended bits but he is well known for his one-liners, they could be sprinkled throughout as interstitials.

I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.

I'm against picketing, but I don't know how to show it.

Rice is great if you're really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something
posted by SaltySalticid at 6:05 PM on July 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Early stand-up by Maria Bamford.

The late, great best Dennis Wolfberg's best bit of his career.
posted by Homer42 at 6:09 PM on July 22, 2018 [3 favorites]

Hedberg’s “Ducks Eat Free at Subway” might be a contender, if you have to choose just one bit.
posted by armeowda at 6:25 PM on July 22, 2018

Everything on this
posted by rhizome at 6:37 PM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Tig Notaro: I have cancer (ending with the bee joke)
posted by BeHereNow at 7:53 PM on July 22, 2018 [2 favorites]

I can't think of a particular bit, but I remember laughing my pants off watching this HBO special with Chris Rock, Louis CK, Ricky Gervais, and Jerry Seinfeld.
posted by iusedhername at 9:37 PM on July 22, 2018

Adding a few more:

Andy Kaufman - Foreign Man Impressions

Garry Shandling - I met a girl at a barbecue... (starts around 2:30)

Marsha Warfield - on developing a taste for younger men

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore - One Leg Too Few

Nichols and May - Mother and son

Stiller and Meara - The last man and woman on earth
posted by Mchelly at 10:28 PM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'd say search Youtube for "Lily Tomlin Ernestine" - here's one.
I'm trying to remember the classic George Burns and Gracie Allen bit - probably from their radio show, so audio-only - but I'm drawing a blank.
posted by five toed sloth at 11:15 PM on July 22, 2018 [1 favorite]

Humor is but a neurological response to the absurd, a taboo breaker, you laugh because you can't process the thing... (my philosophical sort of thing about humor). Old and funny (at least at the time):

Sanford & Son (a classic).
Hee Haw Comedy Collection The Best of Hee Haw Vol 1.
Red Skelton on The Ed Sullivan Show.

This is old country humor of childhood right up there with Eddy Murphy, George Carlin, Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, Tom Lehrer, Steve Martin, etc... back in like the '70s or so in a certain place at a certain time. Whether they're still innocently enough funny or not...
posted by zengargoyle at 11:56 PM on July 22, 2018

Hasan Minhaj - Homecoming King is perfection but the Bethany story doesn't seem to be on Youtube so try this 9/11 story.

Hannah Gadsby is also brilliant. Nanette is not really the thing you want for a fun comedy night because it's gut-wrenching, but given the points she makes in it I'm not sure I can really recommend any of her earlier work. Still, I do recommend that you watch it at some point, because it's just one of those specials that will be vitally important to the development of comedy in at least the next 10-20 years.
posted by storytam at 12:39 AM on July 23, 2018

Bo Burnham - We Think We Know You. First half lays the groundwork, but really starts turning into something wonderful around the 3:00 mark.

Stephen Colbert - The Word: Truthiness, from the premiere of the Report, perfectly summed up both his character and the burgeoning "post-truth" era.

Do skits count? If so: Key and Peele - Pizza Order

Louis CK - Everything is Amazing and Nobody's Happy
posted by Rhaomi at 1:54 AM on July 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Chris Rock would prefer you picked 'Bullet Control,' but 'Black People Vs. [redacted]' is probably his most famous bit.
posted by box at 8:49 AM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Albert Brooks doesn't have a single most iconic bit from the self-aggrandizing, character-based, piano-accompanied comedy he used to do before he switched to movies, but the Carl Heller Story is pretty representative.
posted by Iridic at 9:06 AM on July 23, 2018

Chris Rock would prefer you picked 'Bullet Control,' but 'Black People Vs. [redacted]' is probably his most famous bit.

I would think five, six, or twenty-nine times before I played that one to a mixed audience. It has not aged well.
posted by praemunire at 10:01 AM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would argue that Mitch Hedberg's featured bit, rather than one-liners or ducks eat free at Subway, should be What About the Dufresnes?
posted by knownassociate at 11:25 AM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Rick James sketch is the obvious one for David Chappelle. Part 1, Part 2. I seem to recall that people constantly yelling "F*** your couch!" - the climax of the sketch - at him is part of what drove Chappelle out of comedy for a few years.
posted by clawsoon at 12:38 PM on July 23, 2018

Dana Carvey: Choppin' Broccoli

David Cross: Answer Your Telephone (sadly, audio, no video, but it's so funny it makes me laugh until I hurt)

Aziz Ansari: Randy (his spoof on "bro comedians")
posted by lunasol at 1:00 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Don Rickles

Robert Klein

Janeane Garofalo

Drew Carey

Dave Attell

Kevin Hart

Jonathan Winters

Maybe not all signature bits, but they give you and idea of their comedy.

And just for fun, Todd Glass does Rodney Dangerfield doing Mitch Hedberg.
posted by Regal Ox Inigo at 2:22 PM on July 23, 2018 [1 favorite]

Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) - Reverse Racism
posted by straight at 8:11 PM on July 23, 2018

The entire special is pretty good, but I love Rowan Atkinson's invisible drums at the end
Kyle Dunnigan - Oh Yeah (this is a so-so recording of it)
Gallagher on the English language
I really like this routine that Demitri Martin does, "Drawings" -- this is the only copy I could find; munged to skip copyright detection, speed up the playback
posted by arantius at 7:32 PM on July 25, 2018

Also, nobody mentioned Jerry Seinfeld (except in passing)?
posted by arantius at 7:37 PM on July 25, 2018

Seinfeld's bit about dogs is the ultimate reference point for me.
posted by rhizome at 9:24 PM on July 25, 2018

Cameron Esposito is a hilariously lady. I'd say her best bit is guacomole - link:
posted by valoius at 9:18 AM on July 26, 2018

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