There are a million hilarious comedians out there, but few stand the test of time.
Crowdsourced rankings website Ranker came up with a list of the funniest people of all time. They asked users to vote on the funniest comedians, actors, and producers who’ve built careers on making people laugh. Over 150,000 people voted. Below are the top 25.
1. Robin Williams
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Though he tragically passed away at age 63, Williams will be eternally remembered for his roles in hit films both comedic and dramatic, including “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Good Will Hunting,” “Dead Poet’s Society,” and “Aladdin.” Williams also created a solid stand-up catalogue throughout his career, showcasing his signature improvisational style.
2. Will Ferrell
Ferrell is kind of a big deal — especially considering his uproarious performances in now-classic comedies such as “Anchorman,” “Elf,” and “Step Brothers.” Ferrell also gained fame and followers from his 10-year run on “Saturday Night Live,” where he kept fans asking for more cowbell.
3. Bill Murray
Best known for his roles in “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day,” and “Caddyshack,” Murray got his start on “Saturday Night Live” in the late 70s. Later on, Murray became one of Wes Anderson’s go-to actors, starring in several of his films, including “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Rushmore,” and “The Royal Tenenbaums.”
4. Jim Carrey
Known for his over-the-top facial expressions and rubber-like body movements, Carrey made a name for himself with breakout hits “Dumb & Dumber” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” Though he’s taken on more serious roles — and even won a Golden Globe for his performance in “The Truman Show” — Carrey can always be counted on for a laugh.
5. Steve Martin
Though he’s recognised as a movie star these days, Martin got his start writing for TV shows and in stand-up, where he perfected his trademark absurdist brand of comedy and performed for sold-out arenas. His signature style also kept audiences laughing through hit films such as “All of Me,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” and “The Jerk.”
6. Eddie Murphy
The Brooklyn-born comedian first rose to fame as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live” in the early ’80s, where he perfected his signature impersonations, taking on the personas of Bill Cosby and Muhammad Ali, among others. Murphy’s film career is also nothing to laugh at as he starred in hits “Beverly Hills Cop,” “Trading Places,” and “Coming to America.”
7. George Carlin
Few comedians can claim their antics made it all the way to Supreme Court, but Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” sketch became the central to FCC v. Pacifica Foundation case after the profanity-heavy routine was played on the radio. That wasn’t the only controversy the late comedian caused — he was widely known for his risqué humour and willingness to take on hot topics.
8. Richard Pryor
One of the most respected comedians of all time, Pryor gained fame for his provocative stand-up routines, where he often used profanity and wasn’t afraid to delve into controversial topics like race. The late comedian also had a healthy film career, starring in movies such as “Brewster’s Millions,” “Stir Crazy,” and “Harlem Nights.”
9. Bill Cosby
Despite recent scandals, Cosby’s longtime career in stand-up and television still makes comedic history. In addition to the eponymous “The Cosby Show,” he also created “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” and “Cosby,” and cultivated a successful career in stand-up.
10. Leslie Nielsen
Don’t call him Shirley — despite starting his 60-year career as a dramatic actor, Nielsen cemented his name as a comedy legend through his deadpan delivery in roles such as Dr. Rumack on “Aeroplane!” and Frank Drebin in “The Naked Gun.” In fact, “Aeroplane!” is often referred to as the funniest movie ever. Nielsen passed away in 2010.
11. Steve Carell
Widely recognised as the “World’s Best Boss” Michael Scott on the American version of “The Office,” Carell is also one of the world’s greatest comedians, known for his roles in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Anchorman,” and “Little Miss Sunshine.”
12. Chris Farley
Despite a tragically young death at 33, Farley packed a lifetime of laughs into his career, with a long-running stint on Saturday Night Live, as well as a solid lineup of movies. Farley starred in now-classic hits such as “Tommy Boy” and “Wayne’s World.”
13. John Belushi
One of the first cast members on “Saturday Night Live,” Belushi kept audiences laughing with his loud, energetic performances, which propelled him to a successful movie career before his untimely death at age 33. Today he is best recognised for his roles in “The Blues Brothers” and “Animal House,” the latter of which is immortalised through posters plastered across every college dorm in the country.
14. Mel Brooks
Unlike his counterparts on this list, Brooks brought us humour from behind the camera, writing and directing classic hits such as “Spaceballs,” “Blazing Saddles,” and “The Producers,” the latter winning him an Oscar for best screenplay. Brooks is also one of few people in Hollywood to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony.
15. John Candy
Like many great comedians, Candy got his start touring with Second City comedy troupe, where he grabbed audiences’ attention with his wit and dry humour. After his breakthrough role in “Splash,” opposite Tom Hanks, Candy cemented his place in comedy history with starring roles in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and “Uncle Buck” before a heart attack took his life at age 43.
16. Chris Rock
Like his mentor Eddie Murphy, joining the cast of “Saturday Night Live” proved a jumping-off point for Rock’s career. Post-SNL, Rock starred in HBO’s “Bring in the Pain,” which earned him two Emmy awards. He’s since built a solid stand-up career and created multiple TV shows, including “The Chris Rock Show” and “Everybody Hates Chris.”
17. Lucille Ball
Ball made a career out of her role as the clumsy-yet-loveable Lucy Ricardo on “I Love Lucy.” The show ran for six years, before spinning off into “The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour,” which ran for three more seasons. Ball also starred in “Yours, Mine and Ours” and “The Facts of Life.” She died in 1989.
18. Mike Myers
Another “Saturday Night Live” alum, Myers took his popular “Wayne’s World” skit to the big screen with two movies by the same name. He’s also the face of the “Austin Powers” franchise and the voice of Shrek.
19. Tina Fey
Tina Fey is everywhere these days — and for good reason. After getting her break on “Saturday Night Live” in the mid ’90s, Fey went on to create and star in “30 Rock,” which was nominated for a record-breaking 22 Emmys in 2009, and won for outstanding comedy. She also wrote and starred in “Mean Girls” — and if you haven’t seen it, you can’t sit with us.
20. Jerry Seinfeld
Seinfeld’s eponymous show turned the sitcom world on its head with his “show about nothing” concept that became a ratings behemoth in the ’90s. Throughout its tenure, “Seinfeld” was nominated for a slew of awards and took home several Primetime Emmys. The show also spawned a horde of popular catchphrases, including “yada, yada, yada” and “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
21. Dan Aykroyd
As part of the original cast of “Saturday Night Live,” Aykroyd created several memorable characters including Beldar, an alien father who inspired the film “Coneheads” and Elwood Blues, half of the Blues Brothers duo opposite John Belushi. He’s also recognised for his roles in hit comedies such as “Trading Places” and “Ghostbusters.”
22. Chevy Chase
Chase got his start as a writer and actor on “Saturday Night Live,” where his deadpan humour made him a breakout star. He left SNL after a single season and went on to star in classic films such as “Caddyshack,” “Fletch,” and “National Lampoon’s Vacation.”
23. John Cleese
Though he originally aspired to become a professional athlete, Cleese turned to comedy as a way to make friends as a kid. After college, he helped develop “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” which threw audiences for a loop with its absurd plots and unconventional punchlines. Cleese left the show after three seasons, but returned to work on later releases, including “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “Life of Brian.”
24. Zach Galifianakis
Best recognised as oddball Alan from “The Hangover,” Galifianakis has already had a rich career in comedy. In addition to the “Hangover” franchise, he appeared in “Due Date” and “The Campaign,” and hosts the “Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis” web series on Funny or Die.
25. Phil Hartman
Hartman is best remembered for his time on “Saturday Night Live,” where his celebrity impressions and deadpan delivery kept fans laughing for eight seasons. He was also a long-running guest star on “The Simpsons” and helped create the character Pee-wee Herman. Tragically, Hartman garnered national attention when he was murdered by his wife in 1998.
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