Comedy is an art form that brings people together, cheers us up, and spreads joy all around. It takes a very special performer to make audiences laugh, and while it may appear effortless, comedy performers put a lot of work into honing their craft. Over the years, these actors and actresses went from humble beginnings to earning their titles of the funniest of all time. By the time you've finished checking out this list, you'll definitely want to grab your remote and spend the rest of your day laughing until your sides hurt, watching these masters at work.
Robin Williams got his start as a comedian with a talent for improvisation and impressions before rising to television fame playing an alien from Planet Ork on the series Mork and Mindy. Williams went on to star in iconic comedy films, like Mrs. Doubtfire, as well as countless dramas and other genres in-between.
Perhaps best known for her performance as Rose Nylund on the Emmy Award-winning sitcom The Golden Girls, Betty White had a career in comedy that spanned an impressive seven decades from acting in radio, film and TV and just being herself in many game show panels. She was known for her impeccable comedic timing and quick wit, which earned her seven Emmy Awards, three Screen Actor's Guild Awards, and a Grammy Award as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
When you think of modern physical comedy, Jim Carrey is the first actor to come to mind. Known for roles in legendary films like The Mask, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and The Grinch, nobody brings over the top characters to life quite like the hilarious Jim Carrey.
Steve Martin may have gotten his start writing comedy behind the scenes, but once he stepped into the spotlight on Saturday Night Life it became inevitable that he would become one of the funniest performers of all time. Martin has starred in hilarious movies like The Jerk and Father of the Bride, and he is presently one of the stars of Hulu's hit series Only Murders in the Building.
Eddie Murphy got his start on Saturday Night Live in the early 1980s where he quickly rose to fame for his original characters and genius performances. In 1982 he made his silver screen debut, and since then he has gone on to star in some of the funniest movies of all time, like Coming to America and Beverly Hills Cop.He was even a successful stand-up comedian in his early career, which got him discovered for SNL.
Like many comedians, Kristen Wiig got her start performing with The Groundlings comedy troupe in Los Angeles before joining the cast of Saturday Night Live. She's starred in modern classic comedies like Bridesmaids and Ghostbusters, making her a household name.
Will Ferrell established his comedy career a a cast member on Saturday Night Live before becoming a full blown movie star. Ferrell is known for his roles in countless iconic comedies, like Elf, Anchorman, and Talladega Nights, among many others.
One of only eighteen people to win an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) Whoopi Goldberg is one of the greatest actors of all time, not to mention one of the funniest. She got her start performing a one-woman show on Broadway before becoming a movie star with leading roles in the hilarious films Sister Act and Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.
Few actors are as synonymous with comedy as Adam Sandler. The comedian has starred in some of the most successful comedic films of all-time, including The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy, and Happy Gilmore. Sandler also plays guitar and is known for writing hilarious songs from time to time.
Lucille Ball was a trailblazer for women in Hollywood in addition to being one of the funniest actresses in the history of television. She starred in several series, including I Love Lucy and The Lucy Show, which showcased her excellent timing, physical comedy, and larger than life characters.
Before there was Saturday Night Live, there was The Carol Burnett Show, a comedic variety show starring comedian Carol Burnett that earned 23 Emmy Awards throughout its 11-year run. Carol Burnett's career has spanned eight decades with performances on Broadway, in film, and on countless television shows.
It's hard to think of Bill Murray without smiling, that's how funny he is. Murray's deadpan delivery and versatility earned him roles in some of the funniest movies ever made, including Caddyshack and Groundhog Day.
Like many other names on this list, Martin Short got his start on Saturday Night Live, creating iconic, enduring characters like Jiminy Glick and Ed Grimley. Short has starred in countless comedies, including Three Amigos and Jungle 2 Jungle, and has even gone on a national comedy tour with close friend and fellow comedy legend, Steve Martin.
Chris Rock began making a name for himself in the comedy world performing stand-up before joining the cast of Saturday Night Live in the early 1990s. He's since gone on to become a star of the silver screen, starring in hilarious blockbusters like Down to Earth, Pootie Tang, and Top Five—the last of which he also directed!
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