Comedians are smart. After all, you have to be if you're going to dissect the complex landscapes of social discourse, contemporary culture and politics AND make people laugh while doing so. But most people aren't aware of just how smart many of today's notable comedians are. We're talking high school valedictorian, Ivy League-educated, summa cum laude smart.
Here are just a few comedians who are so smart they could have probably gone into any field they wanted, but chose to pursue comedy because it's what they love to do. You might be surprised how many of your favorite funny people have math or science degrees as well as how many comedians were or could have been lawyers. Tell us which one surprised you the most in the comments.
"Weird Al" Yankovic
The Prince of Parody was not only the valedictorian of his high school class, but also graduated at just 16 years old. He then got a degree in architecture from California Polytechnic State University before pursuing comedy.
The late night host was the valedictorian of his high school class and then went on to graduate magna cum laude from Harvard, where he served as president of the Harvard Lampoon humor magazine. His senior thesis at Harvard examined the theme of progeria in the works of William Faulkner and Flannery O'Connor.
The "Hangover" star graduated from Duke University before attending the University of North Carolina Medical School. After getting his MD in internal medicine, Jeong was a practicing physician and did stand-up at nights before finally getting his break in Judd Apatow's "Knocked Up."
The actress/comedian knows best as the voice as Lana on "Archer" attended Dartmouth College where she earned a degree in environmental policy. "SNL" alum Rachel Dratch and "Office" staple Mindy Kaling also attended the Ivy League school.
The man behind "King of the Hill," "Office Space" and "Beavis And Butthead" graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in physics and worked in engineering before shifting his focus to comedy.
Martin graduated from Yale in 1995 and then went on to attend NYU Law School (one of the best law schools in the nation) on a full scholarship. He dropped out after two years to pursue comedy full-time.
The former star of "Friends" graduated with a degree in biology from Vassar College before pursuing comedy and acting.
The late stand-up graduated from Columbia University and went on to Harvard Law School after scoring in the 99th percentile on the LSAT. He then worked briefly as a lawyer before turning his attention to comedy full-time.
Always maintaining his interest in education, Cosby went back to school after already establishing himself as an actor and comedian. He received a Master's and Ed.D. (doctorate of education) from the University of Massachusetts and wrote a doctoral thesis entitled "An Integration of the Visual Media via Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids into the Elementary School Curriculum as a Teaching Aid and Vehicle to Achieve Increased Learning."
The man behind the American "Office" and "Parks And Recreation" attended Harvard University, where he wrote for the Harvard Lampoon along with Conan O'Brien.
The "SNL" alum was the valedictorian of her class at the prestigious Milton Academy prep school and went on to graduate from Columbia University.
The "Office" star graduated from Harvard University with a degree in literature and wrote a thesis entitled "'To Be Or Not To Be': Hollywood's Answers To Hamlet's Question."
The author, stand-up comedian and "Daily Show" correspondent graduated from Yale University in 1994 with a degree in literature.
David X. Cohen
The longtime "Simpsons" writer and creator of "Futurama" graduated from Harvard University with a degree in physics. He then went on to U.C. Berkeley, where he was enrolled in a Ph.D. program in computer science. He got his Master's degree before leaving the program to write comedy. (Photo Via Gage Skidmore)
The former Executive Producer of "The Colbert Report," former writer on "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" and "The Daily Show" and current Executive Producer of "Portlandia" graduated from Yale, where she was a humanities major.
Stone graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he met South Park co-creator Trey Parker, and was the university's first student to graduate with dual degrees in mathematics and film.
Sacha Baron Cohen
The star of "Da Ali G Show," "Borat," and "Brüno" studied history at the University of Cambridge in England. During his third year, he wrote a thesis on the role of Jews in the American civil rights movement.
Sweeney, the head writer for "Conan" and formerly "The Tonight Show" and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" graduated <em>magna cum laude</em> from Rutgers University and then earned a law degree from Fordham University. He practiced law for several years in New York before turning his attention to stand-up comedy.
The "Bridesmaids" and "Office" star graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English, then went on to study English for a year at the University of Oxford in England.
Keeler, a longtime producer and writer for "The Simpsons" and "Futurama," graduated from Harvard University with a Ph.D. in applied mathematics. He devised and proved a <a href="http://www.mathgoespop.com/2010/08/the-futurama-theorem.html" target="_hplink">theorem for use in the "Futurama" episode "The Prisoner Of Benda."</a> (Via <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/4842250311/" target="_hplink">flickr: Gage Skidmore</a>)
The star of the "Mr. Bean" series earned his Master's degree in electrical engineering from The University of Oxford, where he began performing in sketches for the university's drama society.
The legendary comedian and Monty Python member studied law at the University of Cambridge. Similarly, of the other members of Monty Python, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle studied at Cambridge, and Terry Jones and Michael Palin studied at Oxford.
The stand-up and "Daily Show" correspondent also studied English at the University of Cambridge in England.
The venerable stand-up graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before getting an MFA in playwriting from Yale.
The British actor and comedian attended the University of Cambridge and graduated with a degree in English.
The stand-up comic and <i>New York Times</i> best-selling author and former Director of Digital at <i>The Onion</i> graduated from Harvard University in 1999 with a degree in philosophy. Before that, he attended from the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., where President Obama's daughters attend school.
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