Rolling Stone published an article earlier this year ranking what they say are the 50 greatest comedians of all time (a few of whom got their start at Stand Up NY). Sure, lists like this can be subjective, but it includes legends that most people who follow comedy would agree belong in the conversation of a comedic best of all-time list. For example, the top 5 on the Rolling Stone list are Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Louis CK and Chris Rock. After looking up the state each person on this list of 50 truly great comedians is from (the Americans ones anyway), we determined a quasi-scientific list of which part of America produces the funniest people. So here it is, the top 5 funniest states:
5. Washington DC: Dave Chappelle, Wanda Sykes
4. California: Albert Brooks, Phyllis Diller, Margaret Cho
3. Massachusetts: Louis CK, Bill Burr, Patrice O’Neal, Steven Wright
2. Illinois: Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Gary Shandling, Redd Foxx, Bob Newheart, Bernie Mac
1. New York: George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Chris Rock, Joan Rivers, Jerry Seinfeld, Andy Kaufman, Don Rickles, Eddie Murphy, Rodney Dangerfield, Woody Allen, Amy Schumer, Freddie Prinze, Elayne Boosler
In some ways, there are no surprises here. Those top 5 states produce legends and have the most famous venues for comedians and entertainers. Also, great comedians from elsewhere travel to the biggest cities in those states to try and make it in comedy. That begs the question, are these states really producing the funniest people or are people in these states just more likely to pursue comedy and be discovered due to the giant cities in those states seemingly being the centers of American comedy? There could be several overlooked funny people in the so-called “flyover states,” but without the great comedy infrastructure in cities like New York. So Iowans, tell your funny friend to buy a plane ticket and come to Stand Up NY to show us what they’ve got because we love humor from all over, even when it’s corn-related.