"People always ask me, 'Were you funny as a child?' Well, no, I was an accountant. "
Ellen DeGeneres came out of her mother's womb, looked up at the doctor and yelled: "If you spank me one more time, I'm calling security!" Ellen is the funniest human being on daytime television. She's only won about 150 Emmys for herself and The Ellen DeGeneres Show so there is room for improvement. DeGeneres recently celebrated her show's 1,500th episode. Check out some of her best moments.
"I want a woman that's going to arouse my intellect as well as my loins."
When Eddie Murphy was a cast member on SNL, he took some big chances, and they paid off. Who didn't love Mister Robinson's Neighborhood, the SNL send up of Mister Rogers Neighborhood ("This is how you answer a door in my neighborhood. WHO IS IT?")? Take a peek at Eddie's first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1982 and prepare to laugh out loud.
"I truly believe that when you're funny, you're blessed. Your whole life is kind of golden."
When Martin Short walks on stage -- any stage -- I start laughing before he even opens his mouth. He has me trained ... kind of like Pavlov's dog. Watch this Saturday Night Live veteran on the Late Show with David Letterman and see for yourself just how funny he is.
"Obesity is now a problem in the Navy. They've created a new rank: Really Big Rear Admiral."
When David Letterman went into the CBS corporate office 20 years ago for his interview for that late night job, I'm guessing he gave the suits the top ten reasons he should have his own late night show on their network:
10. NBC didn't give me the Tonight Show, but I'm allergic to peacocks anyway.
9. I have dogs funnier than Jay Leno!
8. I can bring in smart, funny, sexy interns.
7. I'm pretty sure I can get Charo to be my sidekick.
6. Nobody is funnier than I am, except for Andy Rooney, and he only wants to do a few minutes a week, not a whole hour five days a week for Pete's sake!
5. Dan Rather is a little headstrong, and I can control his silly tantrums.
4. I'm cleaner than Snow White -- you'll never hear my name mentioned in some petty scandal.
3. Who's funnier than Lesley Stahl? I'll make her my head writer.
2. I sell Amway products from home so that's a pyramid bonanza in the demographics you can't afford to lose!
Drum roll please:
1. Did I mention that weasel Jay Leno will never in a million years beat me in the ratings? Did you know he wears panties?
Now let's see how Dave does with one of his own Top 10 Lists:
"The reason there are two Senators for every state is so that one can be the designated driver."
In this clip from the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno" Jay riffs a news segment reporting that people prefer a specific side of their face when being photographed. So, which is Jay's better side?
"I can't be funny if my feet don't feel right."
The truth is, Billy Crystal could be funny if his feet were caught in a bear trap. If you've ever seen him perform live, watched his hosting gigs (including SNL and hosting the Academy Awards nine times), or caught him in any of his movies, then you've probably been guilty of wetting your pants. I can't tell you how many times he's caused me to hyperventilate from laughing too hard. Check out this skit in which Crystal sells comedian Jimmy Kimmel an Oscar for the 2012 Academy Awards.
"I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks."
Steve Martin was king of stand-up comedy back in the day when he was performing live in front of thousands of fans wearing tube tops and leisure suits. Who wasn't turned on by this "wild and crazy guy" on SNL? And those movies: The Jerk, Pennies From Heaven, Three Amigos, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Father of the Bride, just to name a few, proved Martin's not just a pretty face. Let's take a look at a very funny vintage Steve Martin video -- proving the best comedians can make anything funny... even balloons.
"Where there's a will, there's a relative!"
People who know British comedian Ricky Gervais as the bumbling but lovable boss David Brent on the original The Office may have been surprised to hear his caustic brand of comedy, especially when it was on display for Hollywood royalty at the Golden Globe Awards in 2011. Not quite sure the room appreciated the host's sense of humor, but I giggled. In case you skipped the awards that night in favor of Pawn Stars reruns, here you go -- take a peek at the first five minutes.
George: Why've you had a grudge against your brother for 15 years?
Benny: We Lopezes are a proud people...
George: You have a birthday lunch at Denny's every month. We're not that proud!
In this clip from "Lopez Tonight" George Lopez finally lets bygones be bygones with Erik Estrada...or so he thinks.
"I see myself as Rhoda, not Mary Tyler Moore."
Don't let the modesty fool you: Rosie is no sidekick. The sometimes controversial comic is very funny when she's doing what made her so appealing as a stand-up comic in the early days. She got her first big break on Star Search -- here's a vintage clip from her early days.
"Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine."
Whoopi Goldberg is the voice of reason with a humorous touch on The View five days a week. Whether you agree with her opinions or not, you can't help but listen. When she's doing stand-up comedy, she's in her element -- and that's what we'd like to see more of from her. She still performs in some clubs, but hundreds of thousands of people can't go cross-country to see her in person so how about more "Whoopi" specials on television? In the meantime, enjoy this hilarious clip of Whoopi doing improv on "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
"Dogs are the leaders of the planet. If you see two life forms, one of them's making a poop, the other one's carrying it for him, who would you assume is in charge?"
What comic genius could pull off a show about nothing and name it after himself? What's more, what genius would be selfless enough to let everyone else on his show to carry the comedy torch as well. Jerry Seinfeld knew what worked, and his show will always be on somebody's Top Five Sitcoms Of All Time list. Plus, Jerry is one of the funniest stand-up comics on the planet. See for yourself in this video.
"When you become senile, you won't know it."
Bill Cosby is, simply put, a living national treasure. He began his career as a stand-up comic in the early 1960s and even though he has since transitioned into an author and television icon, he continues to perform in concert all over the country. The Cosby Show, which ran from 1984 through 1992, was one of the best family television sitcoms, period. He's still hilarious, as evidenced by his recent appearance on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
"If my father had hugged me even once, I'd be an accountant right now."
Ray Romano obviously has his finger on the pulse of the American family and how they really co-exist in the real world. His fictional TV family on Everybody Loves Raymond didn't always love him, but that's what made that show so funny. Watching fictional Raymond's family quarrel made my life feel, well, normal. Here's Ray doing his stand up routine a few years ago on Letterman -- real life family humor at its best!
"A couple of weeks after I graduated college I called my mother up and said 'Can I borrow $200?' And she said, 'Why don't you act like you've got $200.'"
It looks like Arsenio is back in the hall - with that killer smile -- finally. His late night show from 1989 to 1994 was a breath of fresh air, and when he left, there was a hole in the OH-zone the size of a large crater. Winning Celebrity Apprentice seems to have perked up his creative juices and it was just announced that he will be hosting a syndicated late-night show in 2013. I need him to bring back his "things that make you go Hmmm" because it clears out the filters in my head. In the meantime, take a peek at this video clip to refresh your memory of how funny this man really is.
"In my day, we didn't have video games! We just sat around and watched a 'potata' bake!"
How cute is that Dana Carvey? (It is OK to call a grown man cute?) During his time on SNL, he turned that cute face over to comedy -- jumping in and out of characters like Ross Perot, Tom Brokal and Grumpy Old Man. Take deep, heavy breaths and enjoy this video of Dana explaining the disadvantage of aging.
"Come here puppet boy ... make your daddy talk!"
Jeff Dunham is no dummy, but his partners are. If you think ventriloquists are a waste of your time, then you've never seen Dunham's act. His dummies aren't lacking when it comes to personality: Walter, the cranky old man with irritable bowl syndrome; Achmed the Dead Terriost; Peanut, the purple woozle; Jose Jalapeno on a Stick; Bubba J, the beer drinking redneck; and Melvin the Superhero Guy, who has no super powers but wears a blue superhero costume anyway. A few of Dunham's hilarious dummies are actually real people -- or at least you'll feel that way while you're watching them talk back to the guy with his arm up their ... you get the picture. Here's Jeff in action with Walter.
"Ah, yes, divorce. From the Latin word meaning to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet."
Is it possible to be too funny? No. Is it possible to be too hyperactive on stage? No. Does he make house calls? Don't think so. Let's watch his hilarious riff on the sport of golf from his 2002 "Live on Broadway" album. WARNING: CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE (Robin Williams, duh).
"I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I'd look like without plastic surgery."
The last time Joan Rivers had sex, she was... When Joan Rivers looks in the mirror she sees... If Joan Rivers ever got a tattoo, it would be ... OK, I'm not Joan Rivers, but she could finish those jokes faster than you could dial 411. If you need a Joan fix, just turn on your television any time of the day or night. Check your local listings -- or the 2010 documentary on her life and career, """Joan Rivers : A Piece of Work".
"If your wife's hairdo has ever been ruined by a ceiling fan, you might be a redneck."
Jeff Foxworthy is, of course, famous for his redneck humor and the man behind the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. I grew up in the South and understand the world he comes from: "You might be a redneck if your dog's name is Miller Light." See him at his best in this video clip where he shares some "redneck fashion tips."
"My high school marching band was so small, they formed a period. The next year, they formed a comma. We're kicking some ass."
Ron White may play the fool, but he's not stupid, which works out real well because, as he says, "You can't fix stupid." Here are two short clips of comedian number three on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, and here's your warning: keep the children out of the room.