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Best Comedy Albums Of 2011 (PICTURES)

The Huffington Post     First Posted: 12/27/11 04:37 PM ET   Updated: 12/28/11 03:26 AM ET

2011 may prove to be a remarkable year for the health of the stand-up comedy album.

It's the year that comedy podcasts really took off in popularity, possibly spelling the end of the proper stand-up album, or maybe a renaissance of the form. It's the year that Louis C.K. self-released a concert special to massive success, which could revolutionize how comics choose to distribute their own comedy. And it's the year that users began streaming music online for little or no money, which makes stand-up comedy easier than ever to access -- if less profitable for the artists themselves.

And another truth becomes clear as 2011 comes to a close: this year's crop of comedy albums is roundly excellent. Even if some of the best and smartest comedians working today hadn't released albums this year, 2011 still saw some of the most creative and entertaining comedy released all around.

The editors of HuffPost Comedy had the tough task of narrowing down the 11 best comedy albums of 2011. While we had to leave out a few albums we love, we're confident that this list represents the best that 2011 had to offer. For more albums, check out a comedy album guide we had previously done this year. And please vote for your favorites of the year!

For more on the best of 2011, visit AOL's Best of 2011.

Louis C.K., "Hilarious"
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Let's put it this way: If Louis C.K. had put out his most recent special, "Live at the Beacon Theatre," as a proper comedy album, he likely would have two entries on this list. This album was recorded as a concert film, which was the first stand-up film to play at Sundance. The title, "Hilarious," comes from one of Louie's bits where he blasts overuse of the word to the point of meaninglessness. But in a world that counts Louis C.K. as one of its citizens, who can blame us for finding hilarity everywhere?

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