It’s easy to make someone laugh once. Just fart. Or say something derogatory about your friends’ jeans. “Where’s the flood?” you’ll say, and your friends will laugh at your other stupid friend’s poor choice in denim. Easy peasy.

But making people mass-laugh is a much tougher endeavor. Just ask anyone that’s done an open mic, bombed, then drank so many beers that they passed out in the alley: it’s not so easy.[ref]I personally came up with a dynamite bit about how fajitas are the most self-centered entree you can order. How many plates did you get with your choice? Just One? Okay. But it’s sizzling, right? No? What are you doing with your life, MY DISH REQUIRED THREE PEOPLE TO BRING TO THE TABLE! … but I don’t have the balls to get up on stage and be judged for it. Hell, I don’t even have the balls to put it in the body of this essay.[/ref] The life of a burgeoning stand-up comedian is a constant tussle with rejection. Their best stuff gets stone-faced sometimes three or four times per night. They hold for laughs. No laughs come. And then they have to finish their bit about how Bob Ross painting with a knife makes him a psychopath to an audience consisting of a handful of other comedians and another handful of people who are only at the bar for the $2 Coors Lights.

A lucky few have slogged through the muck to make a healthy living as a professionals, eschewing the comfy sitcom life and touring the country, constantly bringing laughs to Ha-Ha’s in Boise, or The Funny Bone in Omaha. The hardest working of the best have reached a threshold that transcends stand-up comedy, selling out theaters/arenas/the most beautiful venue in the country, topping the list of 50 Funniest Peoplepublishing books, or making extremely poor decisions on projects to pursue. All these fantastic comedians are at the apex of their power.These are not the comedians we’re going to discuss today.We’re going to discuss some comedians that you may not be familiar with, but you absolutely should. The guys you can still catch at The Punchline on a Tuesday for $15 . . . and you absolutely should.In today’s world, there are dozens of ways to find your funny: podcasts to download, YouTubes to watch, and Twitters to follow. If you’ve heard of all these hilarious people–I’m sure there will be some of you–I applaud your good judgement and encourage you to drop me a note about who else is making you laugh. I’m always ready to judge someone on a single YouTube clip and write them off forever.

And now, ten people you need to find on the internet and laugh at:

 

TJ MILLER,@nottjmiller

My favorite Youtube comment:
“T.J. Buttfiller” (Thanks IWasBorn Stupid!)

Of all the comics on this list, TJ Miller may be the most recognizable. With small parts in movies that are hilarious for the wrong reasons,[ref]”Yogi Bear,” “Gulliver’s Travels,” “Extract”[/ref] stolen scenes in indie comedies,[ref]”Our Idiot Brother,” “Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World”[/ref] or his seminal work as “the comic relief behind the camera” in a movie that I really like but everyone else hates and makes me feel stupid for owning on blu-ray, Miller earned enough money to self-release a hilarious CD and enough recognizability to justify this painstakingly complicated website. He’s not on tour right now (too busy cashing all those “Yogi Bear” checks), but when he comes to your town, go see him. When he does a set on a late night show, watch him and enjoy him–just don’t tell anyone how much you love that guy from “Gulliver’s Travels.”

HANNIBAL BURRESS,@hannibalburess

Best Youtube Comment:
“Where does hannibal buy these formal-style pyjamas” (Thanks officialfunning!)

I’ll be honest, I heard that Hannibal Burress was a fantastic stand-up comedian, looked him up and said to myself, “Hey, that’s Gus, the homeless guy from 30 Rock who Jack Donaghy used in a complicated ruse to keep his returning wife Avery Jessup from finding out  he had feelings for her attractive mother.” Yes, these are the kind of long sentences I say out loud to myself when I surf the interwebs. Perhaps the purest stand-up on this list, since leaving his writing gig at SNL, he’s been killing it on the regular. If you don’t like the pickle juice bit, you’re doing sense of humor wrong.  It’s in both videos, and it’s spectacular.

 

JOHN MULANEY @mulaney


Best YouTube comment:
“He sounds like Lumpy Space Princess…”  (Thanks nowthendanny!)

Do you enjoy Stefon on SNL?  Well, say hello to the writer/creator. Get on the John Mulaney bandwagon, and you can say you knew about him before he was famous, as he just got a Lorne-Michaels-produced sitcom picked up for NBC’s new season. If they let him  use his voice in the script, rest assured he’ll be getting an SVU spinoff real soon.

 

JASON MANTZOUKAS


Best YouTube Comment:
“scott’s eyes are freaking me tha fuck out!” (Thanks alsamude!)

If you are dying to see Jason Mantzoukas live, you’re going to be in trouble, as he is not a stand-up comedian. But you definitely recognize him, because people in Hollyweird (see what I did there?) have discovered that the man with the beard is hilarious. You’ve seen him as the best character on “The League,” a creepy suitor for the teenage Hailey on “Modern Family”[ref]Spoiler alert: he mostly plays spectacularly creepy characters[/ref]  or as Sacha Baron Cohen’s bestie in “The Dictator.” Even if you have seen him before, you’ve been missing out on his other fun work; seek him out on the Earwolf Podcast Network, where he hosts the side-splitting “How Did This Get Made?’ or is one of the best three guests on “Comedy Bang! Bang!” There will be a lot of overlapping on the next four entertainers’ clips, as they are at their absolute funniest in the improv heaven that is “Comedy Bang! Bang!” You should be absorbing anything they are in.

 

SCOTT AUKERMAN @ScottAukerman

Best YouTube Comment:
“lmao” (Thanks ShutUpEdward!)[ref]Apparently stupid YouTube commenters don’t like Comedy Bang! Bang![/ref]
Speaking of CBB, here’s its host and founder. Hot Saucerman brought his weird brand of comedy to IFC in TV form, but don’t judge him based on the show. While I was looking forward to the show–and thought it had some great moments–the beauty of Aukerman’s (as well as our next two comics) world is that it’s completely made up on the spot. The former Mr. Show writer and “Between Two Ferns” producer has a ton of funny friends, and he corrals them all into a hilarious hour of comedy every week. If you’re not downloading and listening to “Comedy Bang! Bang!” weekly, you are missing out on the most consistent comedy in the game.

 

JON DALY, JAMES ADOMIAN, & ANDY DALY
@jondaly, @JAdomian, @TVsAndyDaly



Best YouTube Comment:
“The black face hut, oh Jeebus! This is such a gem. Who made this? You’re a good person for taking the time. All I know is that the poetic effect on me is that I entered some sort of amoral some untethered flying feeling … GET USED TO IT!” (Thanks MrHombrelobo!)I’ve combined these guys into one category, because they are both fantastic impressionists and character creators who populate the “Comedy! Bang! Bang!” universe.  Be it Dom DeMilo, Tom Leykis, Bill Cosby-Bukowski, Dr. Frasier Boss, or Alan Rickman, these guys are masters of improv, never saying “Yes” without adding “And.” The Dalys and Adomian have recieved some roles on the small and big screens, but seek them out in their live environment for maximum laughage.

RORY SCOVEL @roryscovel

Best YouTube Comment:
“That dude is known for doing really strange bits for his act. Think of a playground of the mind! WOO!” (Thanks Artisn!)

Rory Scovel is a terrific comedian who has been known to do sets completely in a character with a southern accent. His unblinking take on what’s funny is what makes him unique, and he won’t change for anyone; he was at my local comedy club for $12 two weeks ago. GO SEE HIM.

PAUL F TOMPKINS @PFTompkins

This is my favorite PFT stand-up clip, but you can thank Comedy Central for not making it embeddable.  Enjoy!

 

Best YouTube Comment:
“Paul F. Tompkins is the absolute best comedian in the world.” (Thanks JoshKleinFromBroJackson!)

Oh, PFT. I’ve saved you for last because you’re my absolute favorite, and in my opinion, our greatest working comedian. I’ve included four clips, but there is no way they are enough to show talented you are. I have spent the past six months absolutely devouring anything you’ve participated in. Your web series? Seen them all. “Comedy Bang! Bang!” episodes where you’ve created lush, hilarious characters like Cake Boss, Mr. Marshall[ref] Please call him Garry [/ref], and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber? Listen to them as soon as I wake up on Monday. The Pod. F Tompkast?  They’re all marked complete on my iPod. I’ve watched this video a hundred times. There is nothing that you can do, Paul F. Tompkins, that I will not find funny. In truth, I wrote this whole article on the off chance that you read it and want to be my best friend.

There is a moral to this story. Comedians now have dozens of ways they can reach their audience, and they will do anything for a laugh. It used to be the case that if you had a funny idea for a sketch, you waited until you were a writer on SNL, and then hoped it made it to air. Now, if you have a funny idea for a sketch, you put it online, and SNL comes to you.  So if you check out all of these comedians and find one you like, support them–at least take the effort to Like and Follow with social media. Watch their interview clips. Spread the word. Support comedy, and comedy will support you.