There are some comedy routines that you hear once and they're funny, but they just don't hold up well upon repeated hearings. And then there are those that leave you in tears laughing again and again no matter how many times you hear them. You might even know the routine by heart, be able to recite it word for word, and you still double over in hysterics when you hear it. That's what this list is about. These are my favorite five. Let's do this countdown style, shall we?
#5 - Rowan Atkinson's Amazing Jesus
British humor seems to either strike me as utterly unfunny or utterly hysterical. Seldom do I find any middle ground - must be a cultural thing. Nonetheless, Atkinson is one Brit who never fails to leave me laughing, whether he's doing his slapstick Mr. Bean shtick or doing something a bit more cerebral, like this.
#4 - Andy Kaufman's Old MacDonald
Ah, the Genius himself. Kaufman is one of my favorite comedians of all time, and the very fact that most people didn't "get" what he was doing is sad. He was (and probably still is) way ahead of most other comedians, essentially doing meta-comedy (the comedy itself is often the butt of the joke). I almost went with the classic Mighty Mouse routine, but this one actually builds on that premise by involving audience participation...even if they had no idea what they were participating in until it happened!
#3 - Larry Miller's Five Stages of Drinking
The best comedy is always rooted firmly in truth, and (to be cliched) in holding a mirror up to ourselves when we are at our worst. Hence Miller's classic routine - we've all either been there or seen many a person who has.
#2 - Groucho and Chico Marx's Contract Scene from A Night at the Opera
Hard to top the Marx Brothers when it comes to funny. This particular bit is a classic piece of silliness and punnery. Pay attention to the apparent throw-away lines: Groucho saying "You must've been out on a tear last night" when he does is so perfectly timed.
#1 - Bob and Ray's Slow Talker
Absolutely the funnniest bit I have ever heard. The characters here are so perfectly portrayed, and even though you'll know what's coming from the halfway mark on, it's brilliantly funny. You know the frustration of dealing with someone so oblivious to the obvious, and therein lies the hilarity.
All right, gang, those my faves. What are yours?