The word ‘comedy’ originated from the Greek root ‘komos’ meaning ‘merry making’ + ‘aoidos’ meaning ‘singer.’ A comedian is a professional entertainer who entertains by telling amusing anecdotes, wordplay, or by acting in an engaging and humorous manner. In literature, a comedy is a story with a happy ending. Sometimes a comedy arises out of just a coincidence or misunderstanding as in the Shakespearean Comedy of Errors. The humor results from wordplay, puns, or the mistaken identity of a set of twins. A comedy is short-lived, a self-consuming act which fades out having once served the purpose of amusing the audience.
1. Charles Spencer Chaplin
Popularly known as Charlie Chaplain, Charles Spencer Chaplin was born in Walworth, London, England on April 16, 1889 and died on Christmas day in 1977. His iconic appearance with mustaches, bowler hat, and walking stick is best envisaged by himself as, ‘I thought I would dress in baggy pants, big shoes, a cane, and a Derby hat. Everything a contradiction: the pants baggy, the coat tight, the hat small, and the shoes large.’ This is perhaps the most identified picture in the world. CharlieChaplin lived an abject Dickensian childhood and was influenced by his music hall actress mother Hannah Hill with a failed career. He made his first Talkie in 1940. In 1957 he made the film A King in New York with Dawn Adams. He made a film A Countess from Hong Kong with the all-time, most famous celebrities Sophia Loren and Marlon Brando. His films include: Gold Rush, Circus, The Great Dictator, Footlights, City Lights, Modern Times, Monsieur Verdoux, King in New York and A Countess from Hong Kong.
2. Jimmy Tarbuck
Jimmy Tarbuck was born on February 6, 1940 in Liverpool, England. The famous British comedian is known for his quick wit and charismatic personality. He is the most favorite after-dinner speaker and present at important social and prize distribution ceremonies. He made his debut on a British TV at the age of 22 and has been associated with the TV for over 40 years. His attractive presentations kept the audience loyal to his TV programs. He has written two books; ‘Tarbuck on Golf’ and ‘Tarbuck on Showbiz.’ Both books were best sellers. He received the Top Variety Club of Great Britain Award. He is known for his contribution to many charitable causes.
3. Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy was born on April 3, 1961 in Brooklyn, NewYork, U.S. His birth name was Edward Regan Murphy. He started doing stand-ups in Long Island comedy clubs when he was only 15. He was a born comedian and was elected as the most popular student at Roosevelt Junior and Senior High. Eddie Murphy debuted in 1980 on Saturday Night Live and acted for the first time on the big screen in Walt Hill’s 1982 action comedy 48 Hrs. He was rated among the top ten ‘Party All the Time’ in 1985 and was Oscar nominated in 2006 for his role in the musical Dreamgirls. His characterization of the celebrity Gumby, Inner city kiddie host Mr. Robinson, prison poet Tyrone Greene, and The Little Rascals Buckwheat made him popular. But Walter Hill’s 1982 comedy/melodrama feature film 48 Hrs. made EddieMurphy an $8 million per picture star.
4. Eddie Izzard
Eddie Izzard was born on February 7, 1962 in Yemen, but he is a British National. He is a comedic actor known for his performances relating to dyslexia, a reading disorder associated with impairment of the ability to interpret or integrate audio-visual information. He is also known for his typical feminine style of dressing. His acting accomplishments include: Definite Article, Dress to Kill, Lenny Bruce in the play Lenny, The Riches, and Roman Nagel in Ocean’s Thirteen.
5. Whoopie Goldberg
Whoopie Goldberg was born in NewYork, U.S. on November 13, 1955. Her birth name is Caryn Elaine Johnson, surname is Goldberg, and stage name is Whoopie. She is an iconic African-American comedian, author, activist, and one of the all-time, most-famous comedians. She has been awarded many Grammies, two Emmys, twice Golden Globes, and one Oscar. She has also one British Academy Film award and had been honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was given a standing ovation for her performance in the candlelight processional at Walt Disney World on December 18, 2009.
6. Adel Imam
Adel Imam was born in El-Mansoura, Egypt on May 17, 1940. He is one of the most-famous Egyptian film and stage actors and is basically a comedian. He employs various forms of humor including farce and slapstick as used by Shakespeare in the Comedy of Errors. He was appointed by the United Nations as its Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in January, 2000 and since then he has remained committed and worked for the cause of refugees.
7. Bill Cosby
Bill Cosby was born on July 12, 1937 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. His birth name is William Henry Cosby, Jr. He is the most-recognized African-American comedian, known best for his situation comedy The Cosby Show. Prior to this sitcom (situation comedy), he was a stand-up comedian performing in various clubs until he starred in the film I Spy in 1965. Electric Company and Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids were popular TV programs for children. Bill Cosby holds a doctorate in education, 3 Emmys, 7 Grammys, 12 honorary degrees, one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and many other awards.
8. Jay Leno
Jay Leno was born in New Rochelle, New York, U.S. on April 28, 1950. His birth name is James Douglas Muir Leno. He is an American television host and stand-up comedian. As a child he lived in Andover, Massachusetts and attended Emerson College in Boston and Bentley College, Waltham, Massachusetts. He became famous after hosting his The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 1992, and it continued till 2009 after which he started the weekly Jay Leno Show. He is also a film actor and acted in many films like A Dinosaur’s Story, Cars, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Christmas is Here Again, and Ice Age: The Meltdown.
9. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S. on January 26, 1958. She is the most-beloved American comedian. She started an enormously successful daytime talk show in 2003. After the overturn of the gay marriage ban in California, she married Portia de Rossi in 2008. She has numerous awards including 13 or more Emmys, 2 Golden Globes, and many other awards. It seems everyone is after awarding EllenDeGeneres on one account or the other just to win her unique ‘pearly smile.’ In July, 2010 she left American Idol saying that it was not the ‘right fit’ for her.
10. George Burns
George Burns was born in New York, U.S. on January 20, 1896, and died on March 9, 1996 in Beverly Hills, California just days after his 100th birthday. He was literally an all-time, famous comedian because he appeared on radio, television, and film continuously for over 70 years. He always appeared wearing big, round glasses, smoking a cigar, and his wife Gracie Allen as a part of his team. He was awarded an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in Al Lewis.
Apparently, far too different from one another, both tragedy and comedy coexist and merge in with one another like a graded wash. The comedian is constrained to make others laugh while weeping at heart. If a tragedy is like the salt of life, a comedy is invigorating sugar be it in any form; a stand-up, sitcom, joke, farce, burlesque, or slapstick, it requires the best of the comedian to produce the desired result.