It’s the end of our third year covering all the greatest comedy happening in the United States and around the world, and we’re thrilled because despite what a rough year 2016 was in many ways, it was truly a stand out year for comedy. Now that it’s time to wrap up the year and put a bow on it, we picked our favorites of everything in comedy, starting with the stand up comedian of the year.
In 2014, you picked Bill Burr as the Stand Up Comedian of the Year. Last year, Nate Bargatze was your runaway favorite and we can’t wait to see who you will choose this year. To get you started, we chose our top ten best stand up comedians this year. To choose, we looked at so many factors including who put out stand out specials, who pulled in gigantic audiences, who focused on stand-up, but also had other accomplishments, as well as those who were true purists to the craft, focusing only on stand up comedy. We also looked for comics who either had a growth year, or those already at the top of the craft who have remained so consistently outstanding, that their place on our list was undeniable. Popularity and celebrity were not part of our criteria.
Vote for your favorite, and come back on January 2, to see who took the prize in 2016.
Scroll below the graphic to read our list in pure text format.
A year ago, a lot of the country had no idea who ALI WONG was, but now everyone who loves stand up has seen her hour Netflix hour special on Baby Cobra. You know the one, where she is 7 months pregnant yet running around the stage making you laugh hysterically. Wong didn’t just put out a special, she has had a busy TV year as well. Wong wrote for the critically acclaimed ABC sitcom Fresh Off The Boat and is now a supporting member on another ABC sitcom, American Housewife, and she’s out touring again. This undoubtably is the year of the Cobra.
We said it last year, we’ll say it again now. COLIN QUINN is a living legend. His one man shows continue top each other and everything else in comedy. First, it was Long Story Short, then it was Unconstitutional and now his new hour special THE NEW YORK STORY may be his best hour yet. Last year, we were raving about it in book form (The Coloring Book) and now you can watch the show on Netflix, and he’s already working out the next one! He also created the best web series on the internet, COP SHOW and continues to provide the greatest Tweets. You will soon see him back on the big screen in SNATCHED with Amy Schumer.
MICHAEL CHE makes our list for a second year in a row and he has really stepped up his game. He continues to co-host SNL’s Weekend Update, he toured the country with a killer show this year, he’s continued to be an original voice, but speaks from a laid back confident place that is all his own. The year cultimated with an incredible debut special on Netflix, MICHAEL CHE MATTERS that is great from start to end and really shows how great of a joke-writer Che is and why he is where he is. This is only the beginning for Che.
TOM SEGURA has become one of the most beloved and recognized comedians right now. When you first saw Tom Segura’s face plastered on your Netflix account a few years ago, you had no idea what to expect. This year when you heard his special MOSTLY STORIES was coming out, you counted down the days until it premiered. Segura also has some of the most loyal fans from his podcast YOUR MOM’S HOUSE which he hosts with wife Christina. His character DJ Dad Mouth, created out of pure boredom of doing local news shows while doing clubs across the country is just another element of why we love Tom.
Not everything a comedian puts on Netflix has to be an hour special, MARIA BAMFORD’s show LADY DYNAMITE is a hilarious look at the comedian’s real life issues with mental health. Bamford put out the show with Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz and if your a fan of Arrested Development, you definitely won’t be disappointed by Lady Dynamite. A hit Netflix show is an incredible feat, but Bamford was also able to pull off releasing a new album titled 20% and she won Breakout Comedy Star of the Year at the 2016 Just For Laughs festival in Montreal. She’s also been touring theaters and hit up most of the major festivals. Everyone needs a little Bamfoo in their life.
Has anyone had a bigger jump in their career in 2016 than BIG JAY OAKERSON? Not only did he put out his long-awaited hour special with Comedy Central, BIG JAY OAKERSON LIVE AT WEBSTER HALL, he also had another great year Hosting SiriusXM’s THE BONFIRE, and his crowd work show, WHAT’S YOUR FUCKING DEAL? was a huge hit on SEESO earning him a huge second season. He’s become a festival favorite, and his two podcasts, LEGION OF SKANKS and the SDR SHOW are stronger than ever. And he’s been killing everywhere with the GODDAMN COMEDY JAM appearances. He’s unstoppable.
If there was a Mt Rushmore for comics performing today, JIM JEFFERIES would have to be considered. It’s hard to believe that he just released his 8th hour special in just 7 years, and his latest, FREEDUMB is just brilliant. Jefferies also saw success with his The Unusual Punishment Tour and is developing a late night style talk show with Comedy Central. He is one of the smartest, sharpest and funniest comics working today and because he isn’t a gigantic self promoter you might not be aware just how gigantic he is, but show up at any of his theater shows and you’ll see what a force he is and continues to be.
IT’S ABOUT TIME is the name of GARY GULMAN’s hour Netflix special and if you haven’t seen this one you are missing out on some of the most impressive writing and joke construction you will ever see or hear. Gary is a master of words and he’s unbelievably funny. He is beloved everywhere he performs by fans, other comics, club owners and bookers and after 22 years in the business, he deserves every accolade he gets. Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto picked his performance at JFL42 as their favorite moment of the year with good reason. An artist, a craftsman, and an entertainer; Gary Gulman is gold.
SEBASTIAN MANISCALCO had another monster year in 2016 earning him a spot in our top stand up comedians for the second year in a row. How else would you describe yet another solid tour, a new Showtime special named WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT? (his third), and being named the Stand-Up Comedian of the Year at the Just For Laughs Awards in Montreal. Sebastian also hosts THE PETE AND SEBASTIAN Show on Riotcast and was on this season of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. Decider called him the most consistent comedian today and his already ferocious audience grows by the day.
If you talk to any stand up comedian about BERT KREISCHER, they are probably going to say some incredibly nice things about one of the nicest guys in comedy, unless you’re talking to another nominee, Tom Segura, who will probably just say “Bert is fat”. Bert put out his first hour special, titled THE MACHINE, named after his infamous story. Bert also put out the third season of his Travel Channel show BERT THE CONQUEROR and hosts the successful podcast THE BERTCAST. He’s a monster on Twitter and has had a sensational year. You can’t say the word comedy without someone bringing up Bert. He’s a force, and an easy pick for one of the best stand up comics of 2016,