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Famous Stand up Comedians

Russell Peters

Russell Peters is a Canadian comedian and actor of Indian descent. He began performing in Toronto in 1989. He has since gone on to perform in several countries worldwide. In 1992, Peters met comedian George Carlin, one of his biggest influences, who advised him to get on stage whenever and wherever possible. Peters said he "took that advice to heart, and I think that's the reason I am where I am now." In 2007, 15 years later, he hosted one of Carlin's last shows before Carlin's death the following year.

Russell Peters

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Dene Gervais (pronounced [dʒɜːˈveɪz]; born 25 June 1961) is an English actor, comedian, author, director, producer and former pop musician. Gervais achieved mainstream fame with his ground-breaking television series The Office and the subsequent series Extras, both of which he co-wrote and co-directed with friend and collaborator, Stephen Merchant. Besides writing and directing the shows, Gervais also played the lead roles of David Brent in The Office and Andy Millman in Extras. Gervais has also appeared in several Hollywood films, including For Your Consideration, Stardust, Night at the Museum and Ghost Town, in which he assumes the leading role.

Gervais has performed on three sell-out stand-up comedy tours, wrote the best-selling Flanimals book series, and starred with Merchant and Karl Pilkington in his podcast The Ricky Gervais Show. He has accumulated a multitude of awards and honours throughout his career, including seven BAFTA Awards, four British Comedy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two Emmy Awards and the 2006 Rose d'Or, as well as a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination.

Stand-up comedy

Gervais made a few attempts at stand-up in the late 1990s, but his first successful show took place at the Cafe Royal, as part of 2001's Edinburgh Fringe. Titled Rubbernecker, the show also featured Jimmy Carr, Robin Ince and Stephen Merchant.

Gervais later toured the UK in 2003 with his stand-up show Animals. The Politics tour followed a year later. Both of these shows were recorded for release on DVD and television broadcast. The third part of the themed live trilogy, Fame, took place in 2007. It started in Glasgow in January and ended in Sheffield in April. Blackpool reported selling out of tickets within 45 minutes of them going on sale. More dates were added.

Newsnight Review's panel saw Animals during its Bloomsbury run and covered it in January 2003. They were not favourable, with Private Eye editor Ian Hislop being the most explicit in his criticism. After this, Gervais closed each show by calling Hislop an "ugly little pug-faced cunt." Further coverage on Newsnight Review has been overwhelmingly favourable, with the panelists playing 'themselves' in promos for the second series of Extras. Panel regulars Germaine Greer, Mark Kermode and Mark Lawson also appeared as 'themselves' reviewing When The Whistle Blows in a series episode. Critic Lawson is a great admirer of Gervais and Merchant, having interviewed them extensively for television, print Front Row and the Edinburgh International Television Festival.

Fame was the subject of some controversy in January 2007 when Gervais told a story, ostensibly about how people will do anything to become famous, to a Scottish audience. The story referred to a question asked of Gervais five years earlier by a reporter: what can you do to become famous? To which he replied, "Go out and kill a prostitute." He followed up with the punchline, "I won't do that bit in Ipswich," referring to the December 2006 murders of five prostitutes in Ipswich. The joke even drew criticism from the father of one of the victims, Tania Nicol: "These days they want to make a joke out of anything. I feel he’s just being uncaring, quite honestly." Gervais did not apologise, but did attempt to defend himself: "I do want people to know that that happened five years ago and is not related to anything now. That is the problem with comedy, a joke that is funny today can be a terrible faux pas tomorrow."

Ricky Gervais

Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen Lee DeGeneres (born January 26, 1958) is an American stand-up comedienne, television hostess and actress. She hosts the syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show, and is also a judge on American Idol, having joined the show in its ninth season.

She has hosted both the Academy Awards and the Primetime Emmys. As a film actress, she starred in Mr. Wrong, appeared in EDtv and The Love Letter, and provided the voice of Dory in the Disney-Pixar's animated film Finding Nemo. She also starred in two television sitcoms, Ellen from 1994 to 1998 and The Ellen Show from 2001 to 2002. In 1997, during the fourth season of Ellen, she came out publicly as a lesbian in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Shortly afterwards, her character Ellen Morgan also came out to a therapist played by Winfrey and the series went on to explore various LGBT issues as well as the coming out process. She has won twelve Emmys and numerous awards for her work and charitable efforts.

Stand-up comedy

DeGeneres started performing stand-up comedy at small clubs and coffeehouses. By 1981 she was the emcee at Clyde's Comedy Club in New Orleans. Degeneres describes Woody Allen and Steve Martin as her main influences at this time. In the early 1980s she began to tour nationally, being named Showtime's Funniest Person in America in 1982. In 1986 she appeared for the first time on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, who likened her to Bob Newhart. When Carson invited her over for an onscreen chat after her performance, she became the first female comedian in the show's history to whom this honor was bestowed.

Ellen DeGeneres

Jeff Dunham

Jeff Dunham is an American ventriloquist, producer, and stand-up comedian. His style has been described as "a dressed-down, more digestible version of Don Rickles with multiple personality disorder". Describing his characters, Time magazine said, "All of them are politically incorrect, gratuitously insulting and ill tempered." Dunham has been credited with reviving ventriloquism, and doing more to promote the art form than anyone since Edgar Bergen. J.P. Williams, the producer of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, has opined that Dunham's act is not funny on its own merits, and that his material gets a greater reaction because of the puppet characters than it would otherwise garner by itself.

Jeff Dunham

Robin Williams

Robin Williams was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Starting as a stand-up comedian in San Francisco and Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, he is credited with leading San Francisco's comedy renaissance. After rising to fame as Mork in Mork & Mindy (1978–82), Williams established a career in both stand-up comedy and feature film acting. He was known for his improvisational skills. On August 11, 2014, Williams committed suicide by hanging at his home in Paradise Cay, California. His wife attributed his suicide to his struggle with Lewy body dementia.

Robin Williams

Eddie Izzard

"Eddie" Izzard (born 7 February 1962) is a two-time Emmy-winning British stand-up comedian and actor. His comedy style is expressed in rambling, whimsical monologue and self-referential pantomime. Izzard's works include standup sets Definite Article, Dress to Kill and a starring role in the television series The Riches as Wayne Malloy. He is also known for his transvestism.

His stand-up work brought him British Comedy Awards in 1993 (for Live at the Ambassadors), a part in "Filth" which was a stand up presentation by left-wing sympathetic comedians in aid of raising money for the Terence Higgins Trust in 1994, and 1996 (for Definite Article). After the British leg of the tour, he took Definite Article to major cities outside the UK including a successful stint in New York City. However, his U.S. breakthrough did not really come until 1999, when Dress to Kill was shown on the American television channel HBO, about a year or so after he performed the show on tour in the U.S., the U.K. and France (that same year, he played a supporting role in the movie Mystery Men). Suddenly, America was aware of Izzard, and the show went on to earn him two Emmy Awards in 2000 (for performance and writing). However, he only rarely performs his stand-up act on television, as he says it uses up material at too high a rate whereas stage material can be continually re-used in front of different audiences for several months.

Eddie Izzard

Brian Regan

Brian Regan is an American stand-up comedian. Regan uses observational humor, which is also occasionally self-deprecating, and his performances are relatively "clean" as he refrains from off-color humor. Regan's material typically covers everyday events, such as shipping a package with UPS and a visit to an optometrist. Regan makes frequent references to childhood, including little league baseball, grade school spelling bees, and science projects.

Brian Regan

Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho born Moran Cho (December 5, 1968) is an U.S. comedian, fashion designer, author and actress. Cho is known for her stage performances, recordings, and concert movies. Her shows are a mixture of her comedy stylings with strong political and social commentary. Apart from these shows she has also directed and appeared in music videos and started her own clothing line. She has frequently supported gay rights and identifies herself as bisexual and has won awards for her humanitarian efforts.

Margaret Cho

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy is an American actor, voice actor, film director, producer, comedian and singer. He is the second-highest grossing actor in motion picture history. He was a regular cast member on Saturday Night Live from 1980 to 1984, and has worked as a stand-up comedian. His early comedy was characterized by frequent swearing and sketches lampooning a diverse group of people (including White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs), African Americans, Italian Americans, overweight people, and gay people). Murphy released two stand-up specials. Eddie Murphy was his first album, released in 1982. Delirious was filmed in 1983 in Washington, D.C. Due to the popularity of Delirious, his concert film Eddie Murphy Raw (1987) received a wide theatrical release, grossing $50 million; the movie was filmed in the Felt Forum section of Madison Square Garden in New York.

Eddie Murphy

Dane Cook

Dane Jeffrey Cook is an American stand-up comedian, actor and musician. He has released two albums, Harmful If Swallowed and Retaliation, the latter of which went double platinum and became the highest charting comedy album in twenty-eight years. Cook performs on many television shows and in the fall of 2006 performed in his own HBO special, Vicious Circle. As an actor, Cook has appeared in fifteen films since 1997, including Mystery Men, and starred in the 2006 comedy Employee of the Month, with Jessica Simpson. He also appeared in the 2007 thriller film Mr. Brooks in a departure from his standard comedic roles.

Style
Cook's style is principally observational humor. He tends to talk about his childhood, and his plans for the future, such as his "dream home". He will sometimes deliver jokes in the form of over the top rants. He has commented that:

“ I wanted to create a stage persona for myself that allowed me to really speak on anything I want... So I can be a storyteller, I can be jokey, I can be corny, I can be a little vulgar, I can be a lot vulgar. And I'm not afraid to go anywhere to get the point of the joke across, even if I have to just blabber like an idiot until it becomes apparent that I'm telling a joke and that the audience should laugh. ”

Cook uses slang vocabulary to match his talkative manner. For example: A bad relationship is a "Relationshit", Walgreens is "The Wall," and a sandwich is a "sangwich". Similarly, he uses such acronyms as BAMF and SUFI, which are short for "Bad Ass Mother Fucker", which is originally believed to refer to 24's Jack Bauer, and "SUperFInger," respectively. He also shortens words to keep the same meaning. He has even been known to completely change words or phrases, like saying "Concernicus" instead of concerned, "Chicken Sangwich" instead of Chicken Sandwich, "agrain" instead of again, and "chat-chitting" rather than "chit-chatting". Afterwards he says, "Yeah, I just flipped that shit...they're just words, they don't control us...not anymore."

Dane Cook