Editors’ Choice: Contemporary Comedians
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 12:04
If laughter truly is the best medicine, The Oracle knows of a couple miracle healers. Some operate with sophistication and wit, while others deal mostly in flatulence and debauchery.
From the hyper critical to the utterly crude, The Oracle editors pick their favorite contemporary comedians.
Whether he’s mocking the singing employees of Cold Stone, tormenting his cousin on Facebook or imitating Kanye West, Aziz Ansari knows how to make our generation buckle over in laughter.
Now a co-star on the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” Ansari also gained popularity from his MTV show “Human Giant” and his role as Randy, a Def Jam-inspired comedian, in the film “Funny People.” Even his recent American Express commercials are among the funniest on television.
My favorite role of his was on the short-lived HBO show “Flight of the Conchords,” when he portrayed a racist fruit vendor who couldn’t tell the difference between New Zealanders and Australians.
In the episode “Drive By,” he says New Zealanders, “are the descendents of criminals and retarded monkeys,” to which the New Zealand-born protagonists reply: “No, you’re thinking of Australians.”
— Joe Polito,
Chicago native turned Los Angeles transplant Kyle Kinane is one of the funniest comedians currently working, with a storytelling, self-deprecating style not unlike fellow bearded up-and-comer Mike Lawrence.
His first record, “Death of the Party,” is perhaps best known for an ingenious bit on Trader Joe’s, but also tells great stories ranging from trying to find a toilet beyond the Fireside Bowl and holding down degrading day jobs such as a cake decorations telephone salesman.
The punk-sensible Kinane came to Florida for Gainesville’s Fest 10 in October, offering some equally fantastic new material that’s never afraid to take an inward look at his own flaws.
Yet Kinane has earned a fair amount of commercial success as well, particularly with Comedy Central. He has filmed his first half-hour special, is currently touring with “Tosh.O” star Daniel Tosh and even provides the voice for Comedy Central’s promos.
— Jimmy Geurts,
Nick Swardson is known more as an actor than a comedian because of his famous role as a gay roller-skating prostitute named Terry on the Comedy Central hit “Reno 911!” Nonetheless, he’s got some serious stand-up chops.
Check out his special “Seriously, Who Farted?”, but only if you’re not easily offended.
Most of Swardson’s material is retelling various stories from previous drunken or stoned adventures, including an amazing story about giving hundreds of dollars to a monkey in hopes of getting back something more than a high five.
If your sense of humor is less-than-sophisticated, Swardson is perfect for you.
— Michael Manganello,
Demetri Martin stands out among a sea of often-crass comedians for his sharp wit and hilarious one-liners. His intelligence shines through in his routines, which seldom appeal to the lowest common denominator and tend more toward the nerdy side.
With a knack for wordplay that is perhaps best exemplified by his creation of a 224-word palindrome, Martin has been featured on “The Daily Show” and Comedy Central even gave him his own hit-or-miss sketch comedy show.
His jokes are mostly clean, often silly and get straight to the point with little setup, allowing for succinct, memorable jokes such as, “I like fruit baskets because it gives you the ability to mail someone a piece of fruit without appearing insane.”
— Michael Hardcastle,