Stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy is a comedic art form. Usually, a comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

 performs in front of a live audience, speaking directly to them. Their performances are sometimes filmed for later release via DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

, the internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, and television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

. The performer is commonly known as a comic, stand-up comic, stand-up comedian or simply a stand-up.
In stand-up comedy the comedian usually recites a fast-paced succession of humorous stories, short jokes called "bits", and one-liners
One-liner joke
A one-liner is a joke that is delivered in a single line. A good one-liner is said to be pithy.Comedians and actors use this comedic method as part of their act, e.g...

, which constitute what is typically called a monologue
In theatre, a monologue is a speech presented by a single character, most often to express their thoughts aloud, though sometimes also to directly address another character or the audience. Monologues are common across the range of dramatic media...

, routine or act. Some stand-up comedians use props
Theatrical property
A theatrical property, commonly referred to as a prop, is an object used on stage by actors to further the plot or story line of a theatrical production. Smaller props are referred to as "hand props". Larger props may also be set decoration, such as a chair or table. The difference between a set...

, music or magic tricks to enhance their acts. Stand-up comedy is often performed in comedy club
Comedy club
A comedy club is a venue, typically a nightclub, bar, or restaurant where people watch or listen to performances, including stand-up comedians, improvisational comedians, impersonators, magicians, ventriloquists and other comedy acts...

s, bars, neo-burlesque
Neo-Burlesque is the revival and updating of the traditional burlesque performance. Though based on the traditional Burlesque art, the new form encompasses a wider range of performance styles; Neo-burlesque acts can be anything from classic striptease to modern dance to theatrical mini-dramas to...

s, colleges and theaters, but there are no real restrictions on where the craft can be performed. Stand-up comedy is also performed by professional comedians outside of traditional entertainment venues, such as in country clubs, at corporate events and conferences, as charity fundraising events, even in temples and churches.

Many smaller venues hold "open mic" events, where anyone can take the stage and perform for the audience, offering a way for amateur performers to hone their craft and possibly break into professionalism.

Stand-up is an art form that is openly devoted to getting immediate laughs from an audience above all else, unlike theatrical comedy which creates comedy within the structure of a play with amusing characters and situations. In stand-up comedy, feedback of the audience is instant and crucial for the comedian's act. Audiences expect a stand-up comic to provide a steady stream of laughs, and a performer is always under great pressure to deliver. This pressure can be thrilling, but also threatening. Comedic actor Will Ferrell, has called stand-up comedy "hard, lonely, and vicious".

If the performer cannot coax laughs out of the audience, the bored crowd may harass the comedian, a practice known as heckling. One hallmark of a master stand-up comedian is the ability not only to face down and silence a heckler, but to win over and entertain the rest of the crowd with a witty retort. An adept stand-up comedian will nimbly play off the mood and tastes of any particular audience, and adjust his or her routine accordingly. Heckling is viewed differently in different cultures. For example in Britain, heckling is considered to be a normal part of the stand-up experience, and is in fact actively encouraged by comedians such as Jimmy Carr
Jimmy Carr
James Anthony Patrick "Jimmy" Carr is an English-Irish comedian and humourist. He is known for his deadpan delivery and dark humour. He is also a writer, actor and presenter of radio and television....


The skills attributed to stand-up are diverse, as the stand-up comic often acts as writer, editor, performer, promoter, producer and technician for the act. Many stand-up comedians work for years to develop 45 minutes of material, and usually perform their bits repeatedly, slowly perfecting them over time.

Despite the name, stand-up comedians do not always stand up. Some will sit on a stool; Martin Mull has sometimes used an easy chair. The term "sit-down comic" is usually pejorative in nature.

While a stand-up comedy show may involve only one comedian, often billed as a one-man or one-woman show, or a solo performer at a corporate event, usually a stand-up show consists of several comedians. Though a large venue in New York or Los Angeles will use a showcase format with several comedians performing for only 15-20 minutes each, most club shows are 3-comic format, with a master of ceremonies
Master of Ceremonies
A Master of Ceremonies , or compere, is the host of a staged event or similar performance.An MC usually presents performers, speaks to the audience, and generally keeps the event moving....

 (MC), the feature or middle act, and the closer or headliner. It is the MC's job to warm up the audience and get them in a laughing mood.

United Kingdom history

The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 has a long heritage of stand-up comedy, which began in the music halls
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

 of the 18th and 19th centuries. Notable performers who rose through the twentieth century music hall circuit were Morecambe and Wise
Morecambe and Wise
Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise, usually referred to as Morecambe and Wise, or Eric and Ernie, were a British comic double act, working in variety, radio, film and most successfully in television. Their partnership lasted from 1941 until Morecambe's death in 1984...

, Arthur Askey
Arthur Askey
Arthur Bowden Askey CBE was a prominent English comedian.- Life and career :Askey was born at 29 Moses Street, Liverpool, the eldest child and only son of Samuel Askey , secretary of the firm Sugar Products of Liverpool, and his wife, Betsy Bowden , of Knutsford, Cheshire...

, Ken Dodd
Ken Dodd
Kenneth Arthur Dodd OBE is a British comedian and singer songwriter, famous for his frizzy hair or “fluff dom” and buck teeth or “denchers”, his favourite cleaner, the feather duster and his greeting "How tickled I am!", as well as his send-off “Lots and Lots of Happiness!”...

 and Max Miller, who was considered to be the quintessential music-hall comedian. The heavy censorship regime of the Lord Chamberlain's Office
Lord Chamberlain's Office
The Lord Chamberlain's Office is a department within the British Royal Household. It is presently concerned with matters such as protocol, state visits, investitures, garden parties, the State Opening of Parliament, royal weddings and funerals. For example, in April 2005 it organised the wedding of...

 required all comedians to submit their acts for censorship. The act would be returned with unacceptable sections underlined in blue pencil (possibly giving rise to the term "blue" for a comedian whose act is considered bawdy or smutty). The comedian was then obliged not to deviate from the act in its edited form.

At the end of World War II, many members of the Armed Forces had developed a taste for comedy (stand-up or otherwise) in wartime concert parties and moved into professional entertainment. Eric Sykes
Eric Sykes
Eric Sykes, CBE is an English radio, television and film writer, actor and director whose performing career has spanned more than 50 years. He frequently wrote for and/or performed with many other leading comedy performers and writers of the period, including Tony Hancock, Spike Milligan, Peter...

, Peter Sellers
Peter Sellers
Richard Henry Sellers, CBE , known as Peter Sellers, was a British comedian and actor. Perhaps best known as Chief Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther film series, he is also notable for playing three different characters in Dr...

 and the other Goons, and Tommy Cooper
Tommy Cooper
Thomas Frederick "Tommy" Cooper was a very popular British prop comedian and magician from Caerphilly, Wales.Cooper was a member of The Magic Circle, and respected by traditional magicians...

 all began their careers this way. The rise of the postwar comedians coincided with the rise of television and radio, and the traditional music hall circuit suffered greatly as a result. Whereas a music hall performer could work for years using just one act, television exposure created a constant demand for new material, although this may have also been responsible for the cessation of theatrical censorship in 1968.

By the 1970s, music hall entertainment was virtually dead. Alternative circuits had evolved, such as Working Men's Clubs
Working men's club
Working men's clubs are a type of private social club founded in the 19th century in industrial areas of the United Kingdom, particularly the North of England, the Midlands and many parts of the South Wales Valleys, to provide recreation and education for working class men and their families.-...

. Some of the more successful comedians on the Working Men's Club circuit - including Bernard Manning
Bernard Manning
Bernard John Manning was an English comedian and nightclub owner. He was born and raised in Manchester in northwest England....

, Bobby Thompson, Frank Carson
Frank Carson
Frank Carson is a Northern Irish comedian and actor, best known on television in series such as The Comedians and Tiswas.-Early life:...

 and Stan Boardman
Stan Boardman
Stan Boardman is an English comedian.- Early life :Boardman was evacuated with his family to Wrexham during World War II, and after the family returned to their Merseyside home mistakenly thinking the area had escaped the German bombs, his elder brother Tommy was killed in a bombing raid.He had...

 - eventually made their way to television via such shows as The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club
The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club
The Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club was a British television variety show produced by Granada Television from 1974 to 1977. It was set in a fictional working men's club in the North of England and was hosted by comedian Colin Crompton. Also regularly featured was comedian Bernard Manning...

. The "alternative" comedy scene also began to evolve. Some of the earliest successes came from folk clubs
Folk clubs
A folk club is a regular event, permanent venue, or section of a venue devoted to folk music and traditional music. Folk clubs were primarily an urban phenomenon of 1960s and 1970s Great Britain and Ireland, and vital to the second British folk revival, but continue today there and elsewhere...

, where performers such as Billy Connolly
Billy Connolly
William "Billy" Connolly, Jr., CBE is a Scottish comedian, musician, presenter and actor. He is sometimes known, especially in his native Scotland, by the nickname The Big Yin...

, Mike Harding
Mike Harding
Mike Harding is an English singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet and broadcaster. He is known as 'The Rochdale Cowboy' after one of his hit records...

 and Jasper Carrott
Jasper Carrott
Jasper Carrott OBE is a British comedian, actor, television presenter and personality.-Early life:...

 started as relatively straight musical acts whose between-song banter developed into complete comedy routines. The 1960s had also seen the satire boom, including the creation of the club, The Establishment
The Establishment (club)
The Establishment was a London nightclub which opened in October 1961, at 18 Greek Street, Soho and was famous in retrospect for satire although actually more notable at the time for jazz and other events. It was founded by Peter Cook and Nicholas Luard, both of whom were also important in the...

, which, amongst other things, gave British audiences their first taste of extreme American stand-up comedy from Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce
Leonard Alfred Schneider , better known by the stage name Lenny Bruce, was a Jewish-American comedian, social critic and satirist...

. Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood
Victoria Wood CBE is a British comedienne, actress, singer-songwriter, screenwriter and director. Wood has written and starred in sketches, plays, films and sitcoms, and her live stand-up comedy act is interspersed with her own compositions, which she accompanies on piano...

 launched her stand-up career in the early 1980s, which saw observational conversation mixed with comedy songs. Wood was to become one of the country's most successful comedians, in 2001 selling out the Royal Albert Hall
Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall situated on the northern edge of the South Kensington area, in the City of Westminster, London, England, best known for holding the annual summer Proms concerts since 1941....

 for 15 nights in a row.

In 1979, the first American-style stand-up comedy club, the Comedy Store, London was opened in London by Peter Rosengard, where many alternative comedy stars of the 1980s, such as Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer Saunders
Jennifer Jane Saunders is an English comedienne, screenwriter, singer and actress. She has won two BAFTAs, an International Emmy Award, a British Comedy Award, a Rose d'Or Light Entertainment Festival Award, two Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards, and a Peoples Choice Award.She first came into...

, Alexei Sayle
Alexei Sayle
Alexei David Sayle is a British stand-up comedian, actor and author. He was a central part of the alternative comedy circuit in the early 1980s. He was voted the 18th greatest stand-up comic on Channel 4's 100 Greatest Stand-ups in 2007...

, Lee Evans
Lee Evans (comedian)
Lee Evans is an English comedian, writer, actor and musician.-Personal life:Lee Evans was born in Avonmouth, Bristol, England to an Irish mother and a Welsh father, Dave Evans, a nightclub performer. He left Bristol at the age of 13 and then went to The Billericay School in Billericay, Essex...

, Rik Mayall
Rik Mayall
Richard Michael "Rik" Mayall is an English comedian, writer, and actor. He is known for his comedy partnership with Ade Edmondson, his over-the-top, energetic portrayal of characters, and as a pioneer of alternative comedy in the early 1980s...

 and Adrian Edmondson
Adrian Edmondson
Adrian Charles "Ade" Edmondson is an English comedian. He is probably best known for his comedic roles in the television series The Young Ones and Bottom , for which he also wrote together with his long-time collaboration partner Rik Mayall.-Early life:Edmondson, the second of four children, was...

 began their careers. The stand-up comedy circuit rapidly expanded from London across the UK. The present British stand-up comedy circuit arose from the 'alternative' comedy revolution of the 1980s, with political and observational humour being the prominent styles to flourish. In 1983 young drama teacher Maria Kempinska created Jongleurs
Jongleurs is a chain of comedy clubs in the United Kingdom. Maria Kempinska MBE established and opened the first Jongleurs club in 1983 in Battersea, London. In 1985 Maria then met her business partner John Davy, and together they built the Jongleurs brand. The company evolved into a corporate...

 Comedy Clubs, now the largest Stand Up Comedy chain in Europe.

United States history

North American stand-up comedy has its roots in various traditions of popular entertainment of the late 19th century including vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

, English Music Hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

, Minstrel
A minstrel was a medieval European bard who performed songs whose lyrics told stories of distant places or of existing or imaginary historical events. Although minstrels created their own tales, often they would memorize and embellish the works of others. Frequently they were retained by royalty...

 shows, humorist monologues by personalities such as Mark Twain
Mark Twain
Samuel Langhorne Clemens , better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American author and humorist...

 and Norman Wilkerson, and circus clown
Circus clown
Clowns have always been an integral part of the circus, offering a source of amusement for patrons and providing relief from the array of animal acts and performances by acrobats and novelty artistes....

 antics. Comedians of this era often donned an ethnic persona - African, Scottish, German, Jewish, etc. and built a routine based on popular stereotypes. Jokes were generally broad and material was widely shared, or in some cases, stolen.

The fathers of modern American stand-up comedy, Jack Benny
Jack Benny
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film...

, Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...

, George Burns
George Burns
George Burns , born Nathan Birnbaum, was an American comedian, actor, and writer.He was one of the few entertainers whose career successfully spanned vaudeville, film, radio, television and movies, with and without his wife, Gracie Allen. His arched eyebrow and cigar smoke punctuation became...

, Fred Allen
Fred Allen
Fred Allen was an American comedian whose absurdist, topically pointed radio show made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the so-called classic era of American radio.His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny, but it...

, Milton Berle
Milton Berle
Milton Berlinger , better known as Milton Berle, was an American comedian and actor. As the manic host of NBC's Texaco Star Theater , in 1948 he was the first major star of U.S. television and as such became known as Uncle Miltie and Mr...

 and Frank Fay
Frank Fay (American actor)
Frank Fay was an American film and stage actor, emcee, comedian, best known as an actor for having played "Elwood P. Dowd" in the play Harvey by the American playwright Mary Coyle Chase on Broadway...

 all came from vaudeville. They spoke directly to the audience as themselves, in front of the curtain, known as performing "in one". Frank Fay
Frank Fay (American actor)
Frank Fay was an American film and stage actor, emcee, comedian, best known as an actor for having played "Elwood P. Dowd" in the play Harvey by the American playwright Mary Coyle Chase on Broadway...

 gained acclaim as a "master of ceremonies
Master of Ceremonies
A Master of Ceremonies , or compere, is the host of a staged event or similar performance.An MC usually presents performers, speaks to the audience, and generally keeps the event moving....

" at New York's Palace Theater and is credited with creating the style of 20th century stand-up.

Nightclubs and resorts became the new breeding ground for stand-ups. Acts like Alan King
Alan King (comedian)
Alan King was an American actor and comedian known for his biting wit and often angry humorous rants. King became well known as a Jewish comedian and satirist. He was also a serious actor who appeared in a number of movies and television shows. King wrote several books, produced films, and...

, Danny Thomas
Danny Thomas
Danny Thomas was an American nightclub comedian and television and film actor, best known for starring in the television sitcom Make Room for Daddy . He was also the founder of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital...

, Don Rickles
Don Rickles
Donald Jay "Don" Rickles is an American stand-up comedian and actor. A frequent guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Rickles has acted in comedic and dramatic roles, but is best known as an insult comic....

 and Jack E. Leonard
Jack E. Leonard
Jack E. Leonard was an American comedian who made frequent appearances on television variety and game shows.-Biography:...

 flourished in these new arenas.

In the 1950s and into the 1960s, stand-ups like Mort Sahl
Mort Sahl
Morton Lyon "Mort" Sahl is a Canadian-born American comedian and actor. He occasionally wrote jokes for speeches delivered by President John F. Kennedy. He was the first comedian to record a live album and the first to perform on college campuses...

 began developing their acts in small folk clubs like San Francisco's hungry i
Hungry i
The hungry i was originally a nightclub in North Beach, San Francisco. It was launched by Eric "Big Daddy" Nord, who sold it to Enrico Banducci in 1950.-The name:How the club's name came about is something of a mystery...

 or New York's Bitter End
The Bitter End
The Bitter End is a nightclub in New York City's Greenwich Village. It opened its doors in 1961 at 147 Bleecker Street under the auspices of owner Fred Weintraub. The club changed its name to The Other End during the 1970s...

. These comedians added an element of social satire and expanded both the language and boundaries of stand-up venturing into politics, race relations, and sexual humor
Off-color humor
The term off-color humor is an Americanism used to describe jokes, prose, poems, black comedy, blue comedy, insult comedy, cringe comedy and skits that deal with topics that are considered to be in poor taste or overly vulgar by the prevailing morality of a culture...

. Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce
Leonard Alfred Schneider , better known by the stage name Lenny Bruce, was a Jewish-American comedian, social critic and satirist...

 became known as 'the' obscene comic when he used language that usually led to his arrest. After Lenny Bruce, arrests for obscene language on stage nearly disappeared until George Carlin
George Carlin
George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums....

 was arrested on 21 July 1972 at Milwaukee's Summerfest
Summerfest is a yearly music festival held at the Henry Maier Festival Park along the lakefront in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. The festival lasts for 11 days, is made up of 11 stages with performances from over 700 bands, and since the mid-1970s has run from late June through early July, usually...

 after performing the routine "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television
Seven dirty words
The seven dirty words are seven English language words that American comedian George Carlin first listed in 1972 in his monologue "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television". The words include: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits...

" (the case against Carlin was eventually dismissed).

Other notable comics from this era include Woody Allen
Woody Allen
Woody Allen is an American screenwriter, director, actor, comedian, jazz musician, author, and playwright. Allen's films draw heavily on literature, sexuality, philosophy, psychology, Jewish identity, and the history of cinema...

, Shelley Berman
Shelley Berman
Sheldon "Shelley" Berman is an American comedian, actor, writer, teacher, lecturer, and poet.- Early life :Berman was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Irene and Nathan Berman.- Career :...

 and Bob Newhart
Bob Newhart
George Robert Newhart , known professionally as Bob Newhart, is an American stand-up comedian and actor. Noted for his deadpan and slightly stammering delivery, Newhart came to prominence in the 1960s when his album of comedic monologues The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart was a worldwide...

. Some African-American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

 comedians such as Redd Foxx
Redd Foxx
John Elroy Sanford , better known by his stage name Redd Foxx, was an American comedian and actor, best known for his starring role on the sitcom Sanford and Son.-Early life:...

, George Kirby
George Kirby
George Kirby was an American comedian, singer, and actor from Chicago, Illinois.Kirby broke into show business in the 1940s at the Club DeLisa, a South Side establishment that employed a variety-show format and preferred to hire local singers, dancers, and comedians...

, Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a starring role in the 1960s action show, I Spy. He later starred in his own series, the...

 and Dick Gregory
Dick Gregory
Richard Claxton "Dick" Gregory is an American comedian, social activist, social critic, writer, and entrepreneur....

 began to cross over to white audiences during this time.

Stand-up in the 1970s saw several entertainers becoming major stars based on stand-up comedy performances. Richard Pryor
Richard Pryor
Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was an American stand-up comedian, actor, social critic, writer and MC. Pryor was known for uncompromising examinations of racism and topical contemporary issues, which employed colorful vulgarities, and profanity, as well as racial epithets...

 and George Carlin
George Carlin
George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums....

 followed Lenny Bruce's acerbic style to become icons. Stand-up expanded from clubs, resorts, and coffee houses into major concerts in sports arenas and amphitheaters. Steve Martin
Steve Martin
Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician and composer....

 and Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby
William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr. is an American comedian, actor, author, television producer, educator, musician and activist. A veteran stand-up performer, he got his start at various clubs, then landed a starring role in the 1960s action show, I Spy. He later starred in his own series, the...

 had levels of success with gentler comic routines. The older style of stand-up comedy (no social satire) was kept alive by Rodney Dangerfield
Rodney Dangerfield
Rodney Dangerfield , was an American comedian, and actor, known for the catchphrases "I don't get no respect!," "No respect, no respect at all... that's the story of my life" or "I get no respect, I tell ya" and his monologues on that theme...

 and Buddy Hackett
Buddy Hackett
Buddy Hackett was an American comedian and actor.-Early life:Hackett was born in Brooklyn, New York, New York, the son of a Jewish upholsterer. He grew up on 54th and 14th Ave in Borough Park, Brooklyn, across from Public School 103...

, who enjoyed revived careers late in life. Television programs such as Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

and The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show is an American late-night talk show that has aired on NBC since 1954. It is the longest currently running regularly scheduled entertainment program in the United States, and the third longest-running show on NBC, after Meet the Press and Today.The Tonight Show has been hosted by...

launched the careers of other stand-up comedians.

From the 1970s to the 90s, more nonsensical styles of comedy began to emerge, led by the madcap stylings of Robin Williams
Robin Williams
Robin McLaurin Williams is an American actor and comedian. Rising to fame with his role as the alien Mork in the TV series Mork and Mindy, and later stand-up comedy work, Williams has performed in many feature films since 1980. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance...

, the odd observations of Jerry Seinfeld
Jerry Seinfeld
Jerome Allen "Jerry" Seinfeld is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, and television and film producer, known for playing a semi-fictional version of himself in the situation comedy Seinfeld , which he co-created and co-wrote with Larry David, and, in the show's final two seasons,...

 and the ironic musings of Steven Wright
Steven Wright
Steven Alexander Wright is an American comedian, actor and writer. He is known for his distinctly lethargic voice and slow, deadpan delivery of ironic, philosophical and sometimes nonsensical jokes and one-liners with contrived situations.-Early life and career:Wright was born in Mount Auburn...

. These comedians would serve to influence the next generation of comedians, including Sam Kinison
Sam Kinison
Samuel Burl "Sam" Kinison was an American stand-up comedian and actor. Kinison was known for his intense, harsh and politically incorrect genre humor...

, David Cross
David Cross
David Cross is an American actor, writer and stand-up comedian perhaps best known for his work on HBO's sketch comedy series Mr...

, Louis C.K.
Louis C.K.
Louis Szekely , known professionally as Louis C.K., is a stand-up comedian, television and film writer, actor, producer, and director...

, Bill Hicks
Bill Hicks
William Melvin "Bill" Hicks was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, satirist, and musician. His material largely consisted of general discussions about society, religion, politics, philosophy, and personal issues. Hicks' material was often controversial and steeped in dark comedy...

, Mitch Hedberg
Mitch Hedberg
Mitchell Lee "Mitch" Hedberg was an American stand-up comedian known for his surreal humor and unconventional comedic delivery. His comedy typically featured short, sometimes one-line jokes, mixed with absurd elements and non sequiturs...

, Mick Foley
Mick Foley
Michael Francis "Mick" Foley, Sr. is an American semi-retired professional wrestler, author, comedian, actor, voice actor and former color commentator. He has worked for many wrestling promotions, including WWE, WCW, ECW and TNA. He is often referred to as "The Hardcore Legend", a nickname he...

, and Demetri Martin
Demetri Martin
Demetri Martin is an American comedian, actor, artist, musician, writer and humorist. Martin is best known for his work as a stand-up comedian, contributor on The Daily Show and for his Comedy Central show Important Things with Demetri Martin.- Early life :Demetri Martin was born to a Greek...

. In 2005, Emerson College
Emerson College
Emerson College is a private coeducational university located in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1880 by Charles Wesley Emerson as a "school of oratory," Emerson is "the only comprehensive college or university in America dedicated exclusively to communication and the arts in a liberal arts...

 in Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

, Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

, established an archive of comedy to help preserve the history of 20th-century stand-up comedy.


In Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, the greatest icon is arguably Enrique Pinti
Enrique Pinti
Enrique Pinti is a famous Argentine political humorist and actor.As a humorist, he performs stand-up shows with long monologues on Argentine politics and history, speaking at an extremely fast pace and resorting to a mix of common swearwords and elaborate insults to qualify notorious examples of...

, followed by Carlos Perciavalle (who was actually born in Uruguay) There is possibly a bigger icon: Tato Bores.
New artists such as Sebastián Wainraich, Peto Menahem and Malena Pichot are also popular. Vh1 Latin America
VH1 Latin America
VH1 Latin America is a music channel from Viacom-owned MTV Networks Latin America. The network was launched in April 2004 exclusively on Cablevisión D.F. in Mexico, and in the rest of the region some months later. The channel targets audience from 19 to 44 years old and plays local and...

 with Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

 usually present stand-up specials by local artists every year.


Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, and particularly Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

, has a rich heritage of stand-up comedians. Several annual contests are held, with the Canvas Comedy Casino Cup as the most important challenge. Winners of this cup are Xander De Rycke and David Galle. Typical to Flemish stand up is that there is a large influence of British comedy, partly due to a number of emigrated British stand-up comedians who perform now in Dutch. Famous stand-up comics include : Gunter Lamoot, Gili, Filip Geubels, Alex Agnew
Alex Agnew
Alex Agnew is a Belgian stand up comedian. In February 2003 Alex was the first Belgian to win the prestigious Leids Cabaret Festival.After this initial success he has been performing in comedy shows like De Bovenste Plank and Comedy Casino on the Belgian television channel Canvas.Alex is the son of...

, Kamagurka
Kamagurka, aka Luc Zeebroek, is a Belgian cartoonist, playwright and television producer, known for the absurd nature of his work. He has a big variety of comic figures, but "Bert en Bobje" are the most well-known...

, Freddy De Vadder, Nigel Williams
Nigel Williams
Nigel Williams may refer to:*Nigel Williams , British novelist, screenwriter and playwright.*Nigel Williams , American ice hockey defenceman.*Nigel Williams , English former professional footballer....

, David Galle, Wim Helsen, Xander de Rycke, Henk Rijckaert, ...


Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 has an extremely rich comedy history with many exports making waves on the big screen. Many famous successful comedians like Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey
James Eugene "Jim" Carrey is a Canadian-American actor and comedian. He has received two Golden Globe Awards and has also been nominated on four occasions. Carrey began comedy in 1979, performing at Yuk Yuk's in Toronto, Ontario...

, Russell Peters
Russell Peters
Russell Dominic Peters is an Indo-Canadian comedian, actor and disc jockey. He began performing in Toronto in 1989 and has been nominated for four Gemini Awards.-Early life :...

, Howie Mandell, Rich Little
Rich Little
Richard Caruthers "Rich" Little is a Canadian-American impressionist and voice actor. He has long been known throughout the world as a top impersonator of famous people, resulting in his nickname, "The Man of a Thousand Voices"....

, Norm Macdonald
Norm MacDonald
Norman Gene "Norm" Macdonald is a Canadian stand-up comedian, writer and actor. He is best known for his five seasons as a cast member on Saturday Night Live, which included anchoring Weekend Update for three years...

, Harland Williams
Harland Williams
Harland Williams is a Canadian actor, comedian, author, artist, musician and radio personality.-Personal life:Harland Reesor Williams was born on November 14, 1962, in Toronto, Ontario, to Lorraine , a social worker, and John Reesor Williams, who worked as a member of the Ontario Provincial...

, Shaun Majumder
Shaun Majumder
-Life and career:Majumder was born in Burlington, Newfoundland and Labrador to a European descended mother from Newfoundland and an Indian father. He started his entertainment career as an announcer for the YTV game show CLIPS, and soon was hosting the network's popular morning kids show Brain...

, Tom Green
Tom Green
Michael Thomas "Tom" Green is a Canadian actor, rapper, writer, comedian, talk show host and media personality. Best known for his shock humour brand of comedy, Green found mainstream prominence via his MTV television show The Tom Green Show...

, Jeremy Hotz
Jeremy Hotz
Jeremy Hotz is a Canadian actor and stand-up comedian. He has appeared on Comedy Central Presents, the Just For Laughs comedy festival, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno...

, Angelo Tsarouchas
Angelo Tsarouchas
Angelo Tsarouchas is a Canadian comedian/actor, whose parents are originally from Greece. A large element of his stand-up comedy revolves around the parody of his Greek origins.- Life and career :...

, Dave Foley
Dave Foley
David Scott "Dave" Foley is a Canadian comedian, writer, director, and producer best known for his work in The Kids in the Hall, NewsRadio, A Bug's Life, and Celebrity Poker Showdown...

, Jon Dore
Jon Dore
Jonathan David Dore is a Canadian comedian and actor.-Career:Dore spent three years co-hosting Rogers Television's Daytime. For his work, creativity and quick improv skills, he received the Impression Award for best on-air personality in 2001...

, and Brent Butt
Brent Butt
Brent Butt is a Canadian stand-up comedian actor and writer. He is best known for his role as Brent Leroy on the CTV sitcom Corner Gas, which he also created. The series was an instant hit when it made its debut in 2004....

 all began doing stand-up at comedy clubs in Canada.


There is a stand up comedy T.V show called "Los Comediantes de la Noche" and in it, are different stand up comedians who perform routines. There are also different stand up comedians such as: Andres Lopez, Gonzalo Valderrama, Diego Camargo, Ivan Marin, Julio Escallon and more. People in Colombia are now getting used to going to bars and theatres to watch live comedy.


The nascent stand-up comedy scene in Estonia was established through the Tartu Comedy Festival in April 2010. Since that time, stand-up comedy performances have become regular in the Estonian cities of Tartu and the capital, Tallinn. Shows are now performed both in English and Estonian.


Comedy Nights, a series of open-mic shows, used to be hosted at Comedy Club in Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, with certain shows being aired in Star Channel
Star Channel
Star Channel is a Greek television network that broadcasts a mix of foreign and Greek programming. It launched in December 1993 and is owned by Nea Tileorasi A.E.. The main news bulletin is called Star Eidiseis, which is currently hosted by Aimilios Liatsos...

. Comedy Club closed in April, 2011.

ComedyLab is a website that hosts stand-up comedians, sketches and other comic series of videos.

On the 14th of November, in 2011, the 1st Stand-Up Comedy Festival was held in Athens, supported by ComedyLab.

The 1st Comedy Festival of Xanthi will be held in Xanthi
Xanthi ; is a city in Thrace, northeastern Greece. It is the capital of the Xanthi peripheral unit of the periphery of East Macedonia and Thrace.-History:...

, from November 18th-27th in 2011.

Tzimis Panousis
Tzimis Panousis
Tzimis Panousis is a Greek musician and stand-up comedian born in Athens on February 12, 1954, where he has spent most of his life. His fans often refer to him as “Tzimakos”...

 often encompasses stand-up comedy performances between his songs during live concerts. His use of profane language and his satirical comments have made him a controversial figure, most notably with the singer George Dalaras
George Dalaras
George Dalaras , also possibly spelled as Yorgos or Giorgos Dalaras, is a Greek singer. He is of international fame and has recently been selected as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency. He was born in Nea Kokinia, Piraeus. His father was Loukas Daralas, a singer of rebetiko.-Early...


Hong Kong

Stand-up comedy
Chinese comedy
Chinese comedy has a long history that dates back to the Zhou Dynasty when the aristocracy kept jesters in their homes....

 in China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 is an emerging art form. Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 is the only city in China to offer a fulltime comedy club, The TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong
The TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong
The TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong is a venue for stand-up comedy and improvisational comedy located at 34 Elgin Street, basement, Central, Hong Kong. Founded in February 2007 by Jami Gong, a leading Chinese American stand-up comedian, TakeOut Comedy is the first fulltime comedy club in Asia...

, which features both local comics as well as leading international comedians such as Tom Cotter
Tom Cotter
Tom Cotter is an American comedian. He has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Late Show and Last Comic Standing. In 2003, Cotter filmed his own half-hour special for Comedy Central. Cotter has won several comedy competitions. In 1994, he won Seattle's International Stand-Up...

. The Punchline Comedy Club also hosts international comedians once per month.
A famous stand-up comedian in Hong Kong is Dayo Wong
Dayo Wong
Dayo Wong Chi-wah , born 5 September 1960, is a Hong Kong actor, comedian, singer and screenwriter.Wong gained a degree in philosophy from the University of Alberta in Canada. He began his entertainment career in Hong Kong in 1984, but only became known since 1990 for his stand-up comedy...

 Tze-Wah, who first started stand-up comedy in Hong Kong in early 1990s.

South Korea

Seoul's first English speaking comedy room is " STAND UP SEOUL. " ( est. March 2009 ) Stand Up Seoul has hosted several professional stand up shows with comics such as Brian Aylward, Tom Cotter and Ted Alexandro. Stand Up Seoul is held at Rocky Mountain Tavern ( RMT ) in the central Seoul neighborhood, Itaewon. Seoul has established itself as arguably the best local stand up scene in Asia. Expat entertainment is alive and well in the Land Of The Morning Calm. ( Notable acts: Janet Kim, Michael Emms, Rudy Tyburczy, Jeff Sinclair, Ross Gardiner, Fahad Al-Mutlaq, Erin Weber, Jessica Coyle, Albert Escobedo and the hip hop improv group, Space Rhyme Continuum. )

There are also weekly stand up shows at venues Aussie Bar and Bistro ( aka. Tony's ) and Roofers Rooftop Bar. Both rooms are in Itaewon, Seoul.

South Korea's second city, Busan, has a monthly comedy room " The HA HA Hole." Hosted by Chris Tharp at Soul Trane ( PNU )


Ireland has produced many successful and influential stand-up comedians, including Dave Allen
Dave Allen (comedian)
David Tynan O'Mahoney , better known as Dave Allen, was an Irish comedian, very popular in Great Britain, Australia, and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s. He also became known in the United States through repeats of his shows on public television. His career had a major resurgence during the late...

, Spike Milligan
Spike Milligan
Terence Alan Patrick Seán "Spike" Milligan Hon. KBE was a comedian, writer, musician, poet, playwright, soldier and actor. His early life was spent in India, where he was born, but the majority of his working life was spent in the United Kingdom. He became an Irish citizen in 1962 after the...

, Dylan Moran
Dylan Moran
Dylan Moran is an Irish stand-up comedian, writer, actor and filmmaker. He is best known for his sardonic observational comedy, the UK television sitcom Black Books , and his work with Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead and Run Fatboy Run...

, Dara Ó Briain
Dara Ó Briain
Dara Ó Briain is an Irish stand-up comedian and television presenter, noted for hosting topical panel shows such as The Panel and Mock the Week....

, Tommy Tiernan
Tommy Tiernan
Tommy Tiernan is an Irish comedian, actor and writer. He and Hector Ó hEochagáin present The Tommy and Hector Show on i102-104FM. Tiernan also featured in Father Ted.-Early life:...

, Ardal O'Hanlon
Ardal O'Hanlon
Ardal O'Hanlon is an Irish comedian and actor, best known for his roles in television sitcoms as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted and George Sunday in My Hero.-Early life:...

, Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne is a Perrier Award-nominated, Irish stand-up comedian, voice over artist and actor. He has presented television shows Uncut! Best Unseen Ads and Just for Laughs, and is a regular guest on various television panel games...

 and Sean Hughes
Sean Hughes (comedian)
Sean Hughes is a British-Irish stand-up comedian, writer and actor.-Career:Hughes was born in London, but spent most of his youth in Firhouse, Dublin...



Stand-up comedians were very popular in ancient and medieval India. They were known as Vidushak and were known for their witty, intelligent and jestful acts (sometimes as clowns) in the courts of Indian kings. In modern era many artists have come up and become popular as stand-up comedians, often starting from stage/films and proceeding to TV shows. johnny Lever
Johnny Lever
John Prakasa Rao Janumala famously known as Johnny Lever is an Indian film actor and comedian. He was born to Prakash Rao Janumala and Karunamma Janumala and brought up in Mumbai. He started his career in 1984 and has acted in over 350 Bollywood films...

 was one the early popular stand -up comedians who became very famous for his acts and routines.Javed Jaffrey, Raju Srivastava
Raju Srivastava
Raju Srivastav often credited as Raju Shrivastav or Raju Srivastava, is an Indian comedian, and more popularly, an observational comedian. He is known most for his acute scrutiny and comical timing about various aspects of Indian life....

, Sunil Pal
Sunil Pal
Sunil Pal was born in Chandrapur. He is a popular Indian comedian and actor, and the 2005 winner of The Great Indian Laughter Challenge on STAR One...

, Papa CJ
Papa CJ
Papa CJ is a stand-up comedian from India. With over 1000 shows under his belt, he is widely recognised as the global face of cutting-edge Indian stand-up comedy and one of Asia’s leading comedians. He has toured sell-out shows across four continents and in Oct 2011 he taped a Showtime USA Stand-up...

, Ahsaan Qureshi
Ahsaan Qureshi
Ahsaan Qureshi is an Indian stand-up comedian. He is the 2005 runner-up of the The Great Indian Laughter Challenge on Star One. Qureshi has been a stage performer for the last 20 years. Most of his jokes focus on political satire and social issues...

, Naveen Prabhakar etc. TV shows like The Great Indian Laughter Challenge
The Great Indian Laughter Challenge
The Great Indian Laughter Challenge is one of the very successful reality shows on Indian television. It is a competition of stand up comedians that is presented on STAR One...

 proved to be a highly popular platform for various Indian stand-up comedians.


Stand Up comedy in Indonesia began to rise in mid-2011, popularized by a reality show styled TV program, held by one private television station in Indonesia, following open auditions in several major cities in Indonesia. Since then, more TV stations in the country have already started or planned their own versions of stand up comedy shows.

Stand up in Indonesia, made great through social media, mainly Twitter and YouTube, after two of the country's most popular celebrities, Raditya Dika and Pandji Pragiwaksono started promoting and doing stand up, and uploading their acts for the public. Currently, stand up comedy is one of the most popular entertainment in the country. Several major cities have already started their own movements, like Jakarta, Bandung, Bogor, and Surabaya. Several cafes in those cities currently hold weekly open mikes, and monthly shows.

Some names have already gained a reputation as the country's new rising comics. Names such as Isman H.S., Ernest Prakasa, Ryan Adriandhy, Dedy Dahlan, Miund, Luqman, and others, started to decorate the Stand Up stages in the country, and from the looks of it, there will be even much more names to come.


In the 1960s and 1970s, there were only a few stand-up comedy shows in Israel. The moat prominent stand up performer at that time was Uri Zohar
Uri Zohar
Uri Zohar is a former Israeli film director, actor, and comedian who left the entertainment world to become a rabbi.-Biography:Zohar was born in Tel Aviv in 1934. In 1952, he graduated high school and did his military service in an army entertainment troupe. His first marriage ended in divorce.By...

. The Israeli comedian and actor Shaike Ophir also appeared in several stand-up shows. However, almost all of the entertainment shows during that period were written in advance, like those of the Pale Tracker trio
HaGashash HaHiver
HaGashash HaHiver |Tracker]]) were an Israeli comedy group. Often called HaGashashim , they are considered a classic of Israeli entertainment and the most influential comedy act in the history of Israel.The three members of the Gashash were:...

 or Hanoch Levin
Hanoch Levin
Hanoch Levin , was a prominent Israeli dramatist. He was also a theater director, an author and a poet, but he is best known for his plays.- Early life :...

's cabarets. Another prominent stand-up performance in the 1970s was Yehonatan Geffen
Yehonatan Geffen
Yehonatan Geffen also known as Yonatan Gefen, is an Israeli author, poet, songwriter, journalist, and playwright.- Biography :...

's stand-up performance which was satirical about the Israeli society and was mainly inspired by the American comedian Lenny Bruce
Lenny Bruce
Leonard Alfred Schneider , better known by the stage name Lenny Bruce, was a Jewish-American comedian, social critic and satirist...


Since the mid 1980s, and up until the present, stand-up performances caught momentum and many Israeli stand-up performers gained success in Israel. The actor Shmuel Vilozni is widely considered to be a prominent contributor to the rise of Stand-Up in Israel during that period. Vilozni whom was originally fascinated by stand-up performances he watched in London decided to established a stand-up club in Tel Aviv. During that period another stand-up venue opened at "The American Zionists" hall. These shows gave relatively anonymous people the opportunity to attempt to entertain the audience for a few minutes and the audience determined whether they will go on or whether they would get off the stage.

During the 1990s, many comedy clubs were established across Israel. The most prominent of which was the "Camel Comedy Club", in which many Israeli talents, whom later became successful Israeli entertainers, were initially discovered. One of the most prominent stand-up performances at the "Camel Comedy Club" was the "Comedy Store
Ha-Comedy Store
Ha-Comedy Store was an Israeli entertainment program which was broadcast on the Israeli Channel 2 between the years 1994-1996...

" which began as a stage performance and soon thereafter became a successful comedy TV show on the Israeli Channel 2
Channel 2 (Israel)
Channel 2 is an Israeli commercial television channel.- History :In 1990, after 13 years of deliberations, the Knesset passed a law that paved the way for the establishment of commercial television in Israel. The goal was to enhance pluralism and create competition. Channel 2 began broadcasting on...

. Stand-Up performers also appeared in other TV programs such as "Zehu Ze!
Zehu Ze!
Zehu Ze! was a long running Israeli entertainment television program produced by Israeli Educational Television and broadcast on the Israeli Channel 1 and Channel 2 on which the IETV has special broadcasting hours. The program ran regularly between the years 1978–1998.The program was first...

" (which had guest appearances by Shmuel Vilozni and Debby & Nolly), Dudu Topaz
Dudu Topaz
Dudu Topaz was an Israeli TV personality, comedian, actor, screenwriter, playwright, author and radio and television host. In August 2009 he committed suicide during his arrest, after being criminally charged with conspiring violence against prominent media figures in Israel.In 2005, he was voted...

's entertainment show (In which Naor Zion
Naor Zion
Naor Zion is an Israeli comedian, actor, writer and director. Zion was the creator, head writer and an actor for the Israeli sitcom television series "Naor's Friends".- Biography :...

 was discovered) as well as Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid is an Israeli journalist, author, TV presenter, and news anchor.-Biography:He is the son of politician Yosef Lapid and author...

's talk show (which had guest appearances by Adi Ashkenazi
Adi Ashkenazi
Adi Ashkenazi is an Israeli actress, Comedian and television host.-Biography:Ashkenazi grew up in Herzliya. She started acting as her direction and learned in Beit Tzvi-School of the performing arts. After she graduated, She played in a few shows and performances in the theatre, and in a children...

, Adir Miller
Adir Miller
Adir Miller is an Israeli actor and comedian.Miller is married and has two daughters.- Standup career and TV career :Miller's professional career started in 1999, when he appeared in a stand-up comedy series called Domino, alongside Asi Cohen and Guri Alfi, among others...

 and other Israeli stand-up comedians).


Malaysia in 2009 revitalized the local comedy scene with the introduction of 2 regular monthly shows. Timeout Comedy Thursday hosts monthly shows, which features young and professional comedians in open mike events. The Comedy Club KL, the counterpart of The Comedy Club Asia, offers monthly shows and has featured some of the best stand-up comedians from around the world with the likes of Greg Fleet
Greg Fleet
-Early life:Greg was born in Michigan, United States. His father moved the family to Australia when Greg was four. He grew up in Geelong and as a teenager boarded at Geelong Grammar School...

, Akmal Saleh
Akmal Saleh
Akmal Saleh is an Australian comedian and actor. He was born in Egypt and arrived in Sydney, Australia with his family in 1975 at the age of 11. He has been performing stand-up comedy since the early 1990s and his live shows have toured comedy festivals both within Australia and internationally...

, Gina Yashere
Gina Yashere
Gina Obedapo Yashere is a British comedian of Nigerian descent.-Early life:Yashere was born in Bethnal Green, London, England. Her mother was an immigrant from Nigeria...

 and Jeff Green
Jeff Green (comedian)
Jeff Green is an English comedian and writer. He lives in Victoria, Australia with his wife and two children.- Stand-up :...

 in sold-out performances. Local stand-up comedians including Harith Iskander, Douglas Lim, Andrew Netto, Papi Zak, Phoon Chi Ho, Kuah Jenhan and Kavin Jay are regular performers in The Comedy Club KL. In October 2010, The Comedy Club Asia brought stand-up comedy to a new level in Kuala Lumpur by producing a show called 'Kings and Queen of Comedy Asia' featuring 5 of the best comics in Asia in a sold-out 3000 seater Plenary Hall at KLCC.


Mexican stand-up and much of the country's other comedy formats come down from the carpas (tents), which were traveling variety shows similar to vaudeville but with their own roots and traditions; added to this were the traditions of the pícaro (rogue) and Spanish theatre comedy. Until recently, Stand-up in Mexico consisted mainly on telling a standard repertoire of many jokes which have remained basically the same over the decades. Rather than the freshness of the material what is important is the style and manner in which the comedian delivers these old jokes. Among the most famous old school stand-up comedians are Polo Polo
Polo Polo
Polo Polo is a mexican comedian. His real name is Leopoldo García Benítez Peláez, known internationally for his practical jokes for adults, and its use as part of the gamble of his jokes, adorned with a light humorous misogyny in his repertoire...

 and Jorge Falcón.

A mix of Character based Cabaret and Stand-up Comedy has been successful with performers like Paola Izquierdo (her monologue has been translated to English and performed in Chicago and New York), Lalo España and a Pastege Collective (Juan Carlos Vives, Yuriria del Valle, Ana Francis Mor, Cecilia Sotres among others).

Recently, a new wave of stand-up comedians with original material and a more american style (keeping the "picaro" Mexican style in most cases), has emerged, thanks to the effort of cabaret managers Felipe Najera and Jaime Morales who created a Stand Up Comedy Fest. Actors Hector Suarez Gomis, Jorge Zarate and Gus Proal also form stand up comedians by giving workshops and shows nationwide.

Nowadays, important stand-up groups such as Risas Inc.(Created by Hector Suarez Gomis), Cayendo Mal, Push Up Comedy and Ex Rollins Collective are creating audiences increasingly, with names that are becoming famous like Gloria Rodriguez, Adriana Chavez, Juan Carlos Escalante, Eduardo Talavera, Gonzalo Curiel, Ese Wey (Alex Marin), Ines Saavedra, Martin Leon, Roberto Flores, Hector Garcia and Tomas Strassberg among others, who have all performed for VH1 in the Latinamerican edition of Comedy Central.


Singapore , officially the Republic of Singapore, is a Southeast Asian city-state off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, north of the equator. An island country made up of 63 islands, it is separated from Malaysia by the Straits of Johor to its north and from Indonesia's Riau Islands by the...

 has a growing stand-up comedy scene with several active venues although there are still no full time comedy clubs. The Comedy Club Asia offers monthly shows primarily featuring leading international comics such as Paul Ogata
Paul Ogata
-Personal life:Ogata was born and raised in Pearl City, Hawaii, and moved to Los Angeles in 2006 to devote more time to performing stand-up comedy.Ogata graduated from the University of Hawaii. In college, he briefly studied Electrical Engineering, a field for which he showed some aptitude as a teen...

, Gina Yashere, Jeff Green
Jeff Green (comedian)
Jeff Green is an English comedian and writer. He lives in Victoria, Australia with his wife and two children.- Stand-up :...

 and many others. In 2010, The Comedy Club Asia held the 'Kings and Queen of Comedy Asia" featuring the best comedy talent in the region. Kumar
Kumar (drag queen)
Kumar is Singapore's best known cross-dressing performer. Kumar used to perform at the now defunct Boom Boom Room and Gold Dust. He now performs on Friday and Saturday nights at 3 Monkeys Cafe and on Monday nights at Hard Rock Cafe. He will be headlining "Kumar:Stripped Bare and Standing Up" at the...

, a drag queen
Drag queen
A drag queen is a man who dresses, and usually acts, like a caricature woman often for the purpose of entertaining. There are many kinds of drag artists and they vary greatly, from professionals who have starred in films to people who just try it once. Drag queens also vary by class and culture and...

 who has performed in Singapore for more than 17 years, is Singapore's leading stand-up comedian. In addition, The Comedy Pimp Singapore brings in award-winning headline acts every month.

In 2010, Umar Rana launched Comedy Masala, which features an open mic every Tuesday night.


The Polish
Polish may refer to:* Anything from or related to Poland, a country in Europe* Polish language* Poles, people from Poland* Polish * Polish cuisinePolish may refer to:...

 stand-up scene is mainly composed of 20-something college grads with backgrounds in media, philosophy, poetry, writing, and film. Currently the scene is limited to a small group of stand-up comedians performing on a regular basis. Almost all stand-up comedy shows are performed in Warsaw. In October 2010 the first season of the Polish "Comedy Central Presents" had its premiere. In 2011 rights for "Comedy Central Presents Season One" was bought by national TV station TVP2. On commercial TV station Polsat in October 2010 the first season of "Stand up. Zabij mnie smiechem" ("Kill me with laughter") had its premiere.
In Poland there is a group Stand-up Polska uniting stand-up performers.


Some famous Pakistani
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 stand-up comedians are Umar Sharif, Shakeel Siddiqui
Shakeel Siddiqui
Shakeel Siddiqui is a Pakistani stage comedian better known as 'Teeli' in Pakistan. He rose to prominence in India after appearing as a contestant in first season of Comedy Circus. Although he didn't win, he became so popular that he was hired as a co-host in the second season of the show...

, Kashif Khan
Kashif Khan
Kashif Khan is a Pakistani stage and television actor. He was the winner of reality show Comedy Circus paired with Ali Asghar....

 and Sami Shah
Sami Shah
Sami Shah is a Pakistani stand-up comedian, writer and improvisational actor. Sami performed the first ever solo English-language comedy show in Pakistan. He has had several tours across Pakistan, performing in theatre venues and colleges...



Comedy Club (Russia)
Comedy Club (Russia)
Comedy Club is a Russian stand-up comedy TV show broadcasted by the Russian TNT channel since April 23, 2005.Long-time residents of the club are Garik Martirosyan, Timur Batrutdinov, Pavel Volya, Alexandr Revva, Alexander Nezlobin and others...

 is the only stand-up comedy show in Russia since 2007. The show was started by Garik Martirosyan
Garik Martirosyan
Garik Martirosyan is a neurologist, entertainer, TV host, actor, comedian and singer. He's the co-producer and host of the Comedy Club Russia which airs on Russian TV channel ТНТ.- Biography :...

 and other former members of KVN
KVN is a Russian humour TV show and competition where teams compete by giving funny answers to questions and showing prepared sketches. The programme was first aired by the First Soviet Channel on November 8, 1961...



In May 2006 Guy Stevens independently created Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

's first Comedy Club called in Zurich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

 called the Funny Laundry (a tortured pun
The pun, also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use and abuse of homophonic,...

) which since 2007 he has toured around the country for four days every two weeks for 9 months of the year with other regular shows in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...

, Lausanne
Lausanne is a city in Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland, and is the capital of the canton of Vaud. The seat of the district of Lausanne, the city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva . It faces the French town of Évian-les-Bains, with the Jura mountains to its north-west...

 and Basel
Basel or Basle In the national languages of Switzerland the city is also known as Bâle , Basilea and Basilea is Switzerland's third most populous city with about 166,000 inhabitants. Located where the Swiss, French and German borders meet, Basel also has suburbs in France and Germany...

. The very first shows in 2006 brought to Switzerland, some of the top UK comedians
Comedians are a type of entertainer who tell jokes.Comedians can also refer to:* Comedians , a 1954 film* Comedians , a 1975 play by Trevor Griffiths* The Comedians, a 1940 concert suite by Dmitry Kabalevsky...

 Brendon Burns, Jim Jeffries, Russell Howard
Russell Howard
Russell Joseph Howard is an English comedian best known for his TV show Russell Howard's Good News and his appearances on the topical panel TV show Mock The Week...

, Arthur Smith
Arthur Smith
Arthur Smith may refer to:*Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith , American guitar player and composer*Arthur Donaldson Smith, American explorer of Africa*Arthur Henderson Smith , American missionary in China, author of books on Chinese culture...

, Nina Conti
Nina Conti
Nina Conti is a British actress, comedian and ventriloquist. Her on-stage puppet sidekick is a depressed monkey named Monk.- Early life :...

 and Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne
Ed Byrne is a Perrier Award-nominated, Irish stand-up comedian, voice over artist and actor. He has presented television shows Uncut! Best Unseen Ads and Just for Laughs, and is a regular guest on various television panel games...

. Growing demand and success amongst the international expat
Expat may refer to:* A shortened version of the term expatriate* Expat : A stream-oriented XML parser* Expat License: Free software license used for XML parser Expat, sometimes known as MIT License...

 and multi-lingual Swiss audiences has since seen the presentation of theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

 sized shows with comics
Comics denotes a hybrid medium having verbal side of its vocabulary tightly tied to its visual side in order to convey narrative or information only, the latter in case of non-fiction comics, seeking synergy by using both visual and verbal side in...

 such as Frankie Boyle
Frankie Boyle
Francis Martin Patrick "Frankie" Boyle is a British comedian and writer, well known for his pessimistic, often controversial sense of humour...

, Ardal O'Hanlon
Ardal O'Hanlon
Ardal O'Hanlon is an Irish comedian and actor, best known for his roles in television sitcoms as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted and George Sunday in My Hero.-Early life:...

, Rich Hall
Rich Hall
Richard "Rich" Hall is an American comedian, writer and musician.-Early life and career:Hall was born in Alexandria, Virginia and grew up in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. He is part Cherokee Indian...

, Sean Hughes
Sean Hughes
Sean Hughes may refer to:* Sean Hughes * Sean Hughes , alleged IRA member* Sean Hughes , British Labour Party Member of Parliament 1983–1990* Sean Hughes of Green Day...

 and Paul Merton's Impro Chums
Paul Merton's Impro Chums
Paul Merton's Impro Chums is an improvisational comedy stage show, consisting of comedian Paul Merton heading a cast of Richard Vranch, Suki Webster, Mike McShane and Lee Simpson, as well as a special guest performer....



Comedy in Taiwan is mostly sketched based with a lot of physical humor. In 2007, Live Comedy Club Taipei opened (Taipei's first comedy club). Most of the acts performing there are sketch comedy and improv comedy. A group of expats also performs there regularly, including Torch Pratt (singer), Tom Levene, and ventriloquist Matt "The Puppet Guy" Bronsil. Lots of acts perform stand-up or duo comedy in Chinese, such as The Stand-up Bums, Rifat and Yubon Group.


Stand up comedy in Thailand is developing, the most famous comic being Udom Taepanich.

Comedy festivals

Stand-up comedy is the focus of four major international festivals: the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, the second largest city in Scotland, and the eighth most populous in the United Kingdom. The City of Edinburgh Council governs one of Scotland's 32 local government council areas. The council area includes urban Edinburgh and a rural area...

, Scotland; Just for Laughs
Just for Laughs
Just for Laughs is a comedy festival held each July in Montreal, Quebec, founded in 1983. It is the largest international comedy festival in the world.- Information :...

 in Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Canada; HBO's U.S. Comedy Arts Festival
U.S. Comedy Arts Festival
The Comedy Festival, formerly known as the US Comedy Arts Festival, is a comedy festival held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada. From its 1985 inception to 2007, it was held annually at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen, Colorado...

 in Aspen, CO, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is the third-largest international comedy festival in the world and the largest cultural event in Australia. Established in 1987, it takes place annually in Melbourne over four weeks in April typically opening on or around April Fool's Day...

 in Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

, Australia. A number of other festivals operate around the world, most prominently The Comedy Festival in Las Vegas
Las Vegas metropolitan area
The Las Vegas Valley is the heart of the Las Vegas-Paradise, NV MSA also known as the Las Vegas–Paradise–Henderson MSA which includes all of Clark County, Nevada, and is a metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The Valley is defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a ...

, the Vancouver Comedy Festival, the New York Comedy Festival, the Boston Comedy and Film Festival, the New York Underground Film Festival
New York Underground Film Festival
Founded in 1994 by filmmakers Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland, the New York Underground Film Festival was an annual event that occurred each March at Anthology Film Archives in New York City from 1994 through 2008...

, the Sydney Comedy Festival, and the Cat Laughs
Cat Laughs
The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival is a comedy festival held over the first weekend in June each year in Kilkenny, Ireland. It was founded in 1994 in response to the burgeoning wealth of Irish comic talent with no clear national outlet for expression...

 Comedy Festival in Kilkenny
Kilkenny is a city and is the county town of the eponymous County Kilkenny in Ireland. It is situated on both banks of the River Nore in the province of Leinster, in the south-east of Ireland...

, Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. Radio hosts Opie and Anthony
Opie and Anthony
Opie and Anthony are the hosts of The Opie & Anthony Show, a talk radio program airing in the United States and Canada on XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. Since the merger of the two satellite companies, this is now called Sirius/XM...

 also produce a comedy tour called Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour
Opie and Anthony's Traveling Virus Comedy Tour
The Opie and Anthony Traveling Virus is the comedy event of 2006, a concert tour starring comedians featured on the Opie and Anthony show on XM Satellite Radio and CBS Radio...

, featuring their own co-host, Jim Norton
Jim Norton (comedian)
James Joseph "Jim" Norton, Jr. is an American stand-up comedian, radio personality, author, and actor. He is an on-air personality, often dubbed the 'third mic' on The Opie and Anthony Show, which airs on Sirius XM Radio...

 as well as several other stand-up comedians regularly featured on their radio show. There is also a festival in Hong Kong called the HK International Comedy Festival
HK International Comedy Festival
The HK International Comedy Festival is an annual comedy festival in Hong Kong.Founded by The TakeOut Comedy Club Hong Kong in 2007 for English and Chinese-speaking comedians resident in Hong Kong, the festival has expanded to include comedians from all over the world. There are separate English...


The festival format has proven quite successful at attracting attention to the art of stand-up, and is often used as a scouting and proving ground by industry professionals seeking new comedic talent.

Other media

Many of the earliest vaudeville-era stand-ups gained their greater recognition on radio. They often opened their programs with topical monologues, characterized by ad-libs and discussions about anything from the latest films to a missed birthday. Each program tended to be divided into the opening monologue, musical number, followed by a skit
Sketch comedy
A sketch comedy consists of a series of short comedy scenes or vignettes, called "sketches," commonly between one and ten minutes long. Such sketches are performed by a group of comic actors or comedians, either on stage or through an audio and/or visual medium such as broadcasting...

 or story routine. A "feud" between Fred Allen
Fred Allen
Fred Allen was an American comedian whose absurdist, topically pointed radio show made him one of the most popular and forward-looking humorists in the so-called classic era of American radio.His best-remembered gag was his long-running mock feud with friend and fellow comedian Jack Benny, but it...

 and Jack Benny
Jack Benny
Jack Benny was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film...

, was used as comic material for nearly a decade.

Home Box Office
HBO, short for Home Box Office, is an American premium cable television network, owned by Time Warner. , HBO's programming reaches 28.2 million subscribers in the United States, making it the second largest premium network in America . In addition to its U.S...

  presented comedians uncensored for the first time, beginning with Robert Klein
Robert Klein
Robert Klein is an American stand-up comedian, singer and actor.-Early life:Klein was born in the Bronx, the son of Frieda and Benjamin Klein, and was raised in a "prototypical 1950s Bronx Jewish" environment. After graduating from DeWitt Clinton High School, Klein planned to study medicine...

 in 1975, and was instrumental in reaching larger audiences. George Carlin
George Carlin
George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, social critic, actor and author, who won five Grammy Awards for his comedy albums....

 was a perennial favorite appeared in fourteen HBO comedy specials.

Continuing that tradition, most modern stand-up comedians use television or motion pictures to reach a level of success and recognition unattainable in the comedy club circuit alone.

Since the mid-2000s, online video-sharing sites such as YouTube
YouTube is a video-sharing website, created by three former PayPal employees in February 2005, on which users can upload, view and share videos....

 have also provided a venue for stand-up comedy, and many comedians' performances can be viewed online.

See also

  • Comedy festivals
  • Improvisational theatre
    Improvisational theatre
    Improvisational theatre takes many forms. It is best known as improv or impro, which is often comedic, and sometimes poignant or dramatic. In this popular, often topical art form improvisational actors/improvisers use improvisational acting techniques to perform spontaneously...

  • List of musical comedians
  • List of stand-up comedians
  • Manzai
    is a traditional style of stand-up comedy in Japanese culture, which usually involves two performers —a straight man and a funny man —trading jokes at great speed...

     – style of stand-up comedy in Japan
  • Open mike
    Open mike
    An open mike or open mic is a live show where audience members may perform at the microphone. Usually, the performers sign up in advance for a time slot with the host or master of ceremonies. These events can be focused on poetry and the spoken word, music, comedy, and the open format of open...

     – live show where audience members may perform at the microphone
  • Rakugo
    is a Japanese verbal entertainment. The lone sits on the stage, called the . Using only a paper fan and a small cloth as props, and without standing up from the seiza sitting position, the rakugo artist depicts a long and complicated comical story...

     – Japanese verbal entertainment
  • Situation comedy
    Situation comedy
    A situation comedy, often shortened to sitcom, is a genre of comedy that features characters sharing the same common environment, such as a home or workplace, accompanied with jokes as part of the dialogue...

  • Xiangsheng
    Xiangsheng , sometimes translated as crosstalk, is a traditional Chinese comedic performance in the form of a dialogue between two performers, or, much less often, a solo monologue or, even less frequently, a multi-player talk show. The language, rich in puns and allusions, is delivered in a rapid,...

    – Chinese traditional stand-up comedy
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