Raw Comedy is back on SBS VICELAND. Prepare yourself for the best and brightest budding stand-up comics from around the nation to compete for the crown as funniest human nobody yet knows. Every comic in competition must have looked for lessons from the greats, so it’s likely the following 14 clips became part of the study plan.
Sam Kinison on world hunger
Kinison’s career was cut short by a fatal car crash, but a legacy was already born. While to the public, this politically incorrect former-preacher’s surname isn’t as synonymous with stand-up comedy as Carlin or Pryor, it is to Carlin and Pryor and most legendary comedians since.
Richard Pryor on the N-word
Speaking of, Pryor’s often reduced to the unknowing as the guy from See No Evil, Hear No Evil, but the man’s relevance reaches far beyond the screen, let alone the stage.
George Carlin on the death penalty
The most popular stand-up comedian on earth, Jerry Seinfeld, knowingly avoids anything too heavy, but Carlin went everywhere, even if you weren’t allowed. His routine often included heated rants on hot-button issues - rapid fire bits of truth that in succession were as gob-smacking as they were laugh-inducing.
Bill Hicks on advertising
Tempting as it is to include Bill Hicks’ uplifting ‘It’s just a ride’ bit (which you should watch if you want to see how Hicks transitioned from the laugh-out-loud to the purely philosophical), this bit on the evils of advertising wins out.
Dylan Moran on men
Don’t let the sitcom Black Books fool you into thinking the flop-haired Irishman needs a laugh track. When left to his own devices, Moran is a monster. The above is a great example of his ironic, revealing shtick.
Dave Chappelle on men and women
The renegade comic’s cynical dissection of heterosexual gender roles...
Roseanne Barr on housewife living
Roseanne Barr is a badass. She doesn’t put up with anyone’s nonsense, especially if you’re one of the entitled men that attempted to control her career. Here, we get pre-Roseanne Rosanne, in a bit that’s not only hilarious, but basically sets up the comedienne as the warts-and-all domestic goddess that appeared in the sitcom— a lower middle class woman with the gall to deliver an honest assessment of her value in society.
Eddie Izzard on Wikipedia and iTunes
If you haven’t caught any of Izzard’s stand-up, you might have heard of its existence, thanks to his ambivalence towards gender standards, sometimes performing dressed as the opposite sex. His whole oeuvre is worth a look, but this recent bit as uncross-dressed Eddie Izzard gives recent technology a good tongue lashing.
Sarah Silverman on the Holocaust
Silverman's bit on Nazis is delivered so well you almost forget she’s talking about genocide...
Carl Barron on thongs
Let’s take a break and hit a patriotic note. Some find Barron’s style grating; some label it as a knowing ramping up of ‘Australian-ness’, and some call the man a comic legend. Whichever way, Barron boasts an international following and this bit on Aussie vs. US culture is evidence of why.
Steven Wright on anything
Much of pre-70s stand up was made up of quick jokes delivered in succession: the “take my wife” model of set-up sentence followed by the punch line sentence. That structure went out of fashion long ago, but one man has managed to keep it alive with an absurd treatment and deadpan delivery.
Full of non-sequiturs and paraprosdokians, this is one of Wright’s most memorable strings of zingers.
Steve Martin on sex jokes
People forget that, alongside Pryor, Steve Martin was a giant on the stand-up scene. Even when Martin’s jokes are a little lame, his vocal quirks and odd physicality never failed to entertain. Here’s a bit where he swears off the telling of sex jokes.
Andy Kaufman on... ??
While a bunch of other routines from as many great comics could easily make this list, we couldn’t go without flagging this legendary bit of head-fudgery from Brechtian troublemaker Andy Kaufman. Jim Carrey would go on to recreate the bit for the biopic Man on the Moon.
Louis CK on bad thoughts
Not even five years old and this bit is already a classic (to me). Hands down the best stand-up comedian alive (to me) today, here’s the masterfully constructed “of course… but maybe” routine.
Watch Raw Comedy on Sunday 20 August at 8:30pm on SBS VICELAND.