Thinking back to the 1980s, we've been given plenty of comedians that have graced our minds and our days with laughter. Sure, most comedians can be offensive, but not every comedian is controversial— on purpose. We're going to give you a few who choose to perform outside of the lines and those who don't try to, but they end up out there anyway. What are you going to do?
Chris D'elia isn't the first comedian you think of when you think of the word controversy. But his comedy specials Incorrigible and Man on Fire aren't for the faint of heart. He is known to dive into what he finds wrong with society and what irks him. And most times, flowery language isn't involved in those bits. He tends to make fun of everyone, including himself, so be careful if you're ever in the audience.
The prince of controversial comedy, Daniel Tosh. He created a TV show Tosh.0 with the intent to be as deliberately offensive and crude as possible, without getting kicked off the air. Honestly, maybe that was always the goal— to continue reaching that line. He was also a part of the animated series Brickleberry as Malloy, a really inappropriate bear. The entire show was inappropriate, really, but it tackled some tough topics. So, that evens out.
Amy Schumer's comedy is dark. She talks about things nobody likes to talk about, the gritty parts of life. Early in her career, she performed in Last Comic Standing and placed fourth. In 2010, her first Comedy Central Presents special aired. Since then, she's recorded the comedy specials Cutting, The Leather Special, and Growing. Along the way, she's made some pretty bold statements and a few ugly comments. We're sure she knows, just like we're sure she meant to tell each joke when she did.
Now when I said Tosh was the prince, it was only because Dave Chappelle is the king of comedic controversy. He's been doing it his entire career, starting with the satirical TV sketch series Chappelle's Show. Chappelle is known world-wide as a great comedian and it's been that way for what seems like forever. He must be doing something right with his insult-comedy about sexuality and race because it's gotten him a contract with Netflix that's lead to him releasing 5 comedy specials to-date.
Louis C. K became known for some pretty scandalous acts after admitting to them in 2017. But, before that, he was known for his deadpan sense of humor in comedy acts like Chewed-Up and Hilarious. He talked about everyday topics and made everyday people fairly uncomfortable with themselves in the process.
Though he's made a name for himself in the comedic world, Chris Rock is more known for his appearances in Saturday Night Live and in films like The Longest Yard and Grown Ups than for his stand-up specials. Like any comedian of color, he does that thing where he brings up race and often to a point where people aren't quite sure whether they should laugh because it's funny or cry because it's true. For that reason, Chris Rock will be a controversial comedian so long as race is— which might very well be a long time.
Daniel Sloss' recent 2-hour long comedy special consisting of Dark and Jigsaw dives into life. He gets really deep, really fast, and barely gives the audience a moment to process the complete mind-puzzle they're stuck in. To make matters even more uncomfortable, he talks about his sister who died of a critical condition when they were younger. And when people start feeling sorry for him, he rebukes it in the name of human decency. Say what?
He has his own late-night show, so you know he has things to say that everyone won’t agree with. Stephen Colbert has been delivering his opinions on topical events doused in as much satire as possible. Don’t let his opinions change yours, but at least make his opinions change your self-righteousness.
Christina Pazsitzky, you probably know her as Christina P, is full of comedic surprises. She was a regular writer for the late-night series Chelsea Lately and we all know how unfiltered that show was. In her 2017 Netflix comedy special, Mother Inferior, she hits on topics like social class and the realities of motherhood. And honestly, that’s enough to call the best of us out.
Bobby Lee might have started with an amateur night at the comedy club he worked at in San Diego, but that's definitely not where he stopped. Since then, he's been in films like Pineapple Express and The Dictator, which are already explicit movies about marijuana and politics— respectively. His main thing now is the weekly podcast, Tigerbelly, that he co-hosts. The podcast tends to cover Asian-American related content surrounding adolescence, sexuality, and the entertainment industry. Feeling uneasy yet?
The movie "Van Wilder" was based off his time at Florida University. He has a fratty take on things, but maybe that's just for the sake of his comedy-hours. Known for performing his stand-ups shirtless because, well, nobody knows why. That alone is enough to make a prude crowd uncomfortable.
Kevin Hart is a widely known actor who started out doing stand-up and playing roles in movies like Scary Movie 3 in 2003. Although he has sprinkled in comedy specials throughout the years, his role in movies like Think Like A Man and Get Hard led him to be extremely successful. Recently, he was asked to host the Oscars, but the homophobic comments on his Twitter got him in trouble. I mean, you really only get 280-characters. Maybe he needed 281 to get his unbiased opinion out.
As a comedian and activist, Russell Brand is doing this world a favor by speaking out. He takes the time to understand and respect other viewpoints, which is incredibly rare for any human. Sure, he might've had a drug problem and he might act bonkers in front of the media. But he is insane enough to speak out about wealth inequality, climate change, and addiction. Our world really needs to be confronted by him. So, if you think he's a monster, don't go to see him on tour. Simple.
Tracy Morgan is one of the many comedians whose words get taken out of context. He's said to have made anti-gay remarks during a Nashville comedy show in 2011. Morgan's decision to claim being gay is a 'choice' infuriated fans of his all over. Ever since then, the 30 Rock star's career has been on a steady decline— hosting an award show every now and again. Then again, people are way more sensitive now than they were in 2011. Tracy Morgan's crude comedy just can't stand a chance.
Natasha Leggero was a regular roundtable panelist on Chelsea Lately, so you know she has chops. She talks a lot about gender politics, sexual misconduct, classism and now, motherhood. There are plenty of sensitive topics, involving her life as a single woman, that her specials Live at Bimbo's and Going Broke in LA touch on. A lot of it is observational and it's all delivered in her posh attitude that kind of makes you want to agree with her solely based on the fact that she wore a dress and heels to her comedy set.
Coined as the man who made the joke that led to Bill Cosby's demise during his 2014 Live from Chicago special, Hannibal Buress is known for fearless comedy that sometimes isn't even about anything important. More recently, while performing at Loyola University, his mic was cut off after he made a joke about molestation in the catholic church. Everyone already knows, Loyola.
Michael Che is co-head writer of Saturday Night Live and co-host of SNL's Weekend Update. If you've ever seen his performances on SNL or during one of his stand-ups, he is never afraid to push buttons or offend people. That's good because hot-topics like inequality, homophobia, and gentrification need to be addressed. The season 44 close-out to Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update is also fun… and slightly offensive.
Aside from hosting The Daily Show, where delivering satirical jokes about politics is the norm, he's also written a book about his conception and performed multiple comedy specials like Afraid of the Dark and Son of Patricia. He is one comedian who entangle their jokes with so much satire, it's difficult to see why reality is the way it is. Take Afraid of the Dark for example, where he starts with subtle jokes about the way Americans say and interpret words versus the rest of the world. This harmless joke turns into a 3-minute rant about how strong a woman's vagina is. Thanks, Noah.
It isn't like Tom Segura goes into a situation looking to be offensive, but he can say some seemingly off-putting things if you aren't prepared. From his podcast Your Mom's House to his most recent Netflix comedy special Disgraceful, Segura is on a roll when it comes to this comedy thing. He doesn't show any signs of stopping. So, if unfiltered comedy isn't your thing, then you might not want to buy a ticket to his Take It Down tour.
Yes, Joe Rogan has been in the comedy industry for a couple of decades, but that doesn't take away his importance to this generation. He has been the host of one of the most listened to podcasts of our time, The Joe Rogan Experience. Obviously people enjoy his rash comedy because people continue to fill in guest spots on his podcast and listeners continue to listen. He seems to be invincible, regardless of the taboo topics he chooses to discuss. He has his opinions, sticks firmly to them, and supports them. Just a bit brazen, that's all.
Whitney Cummings is a comedic force to be reckoned with. There is no subject she won't touch… and probably make other people uncomfortable about. Her most recent Netflix comedy special Can I Touch It?, Cummings lightly touches on sexual harassment and relates it to encountering a service dog. We get it. Her honesty is what makes her comedy flinch-worthy, but also makes you nod the entire time in agreement.
If you think of any comedy podcast, Bill Burr has probably been a guest on it. His style of comedy isn't the most relatable and sometimes it can get a bit jarring, but it always resembles the truth. From his first hour-long special Why Do I Do This? to his most recent special Paper Tiger, which was aired on September 10 of this year, his delivery hasn't changed. He hasn't succumb to the pressures of what is known as 'cancel culture.' Not yet, anyway.
Probably the freshest controversy in comedy is the situation with Saturday Night Live and Shane Gillis. Gillis is known for his podcast Matt and Shane’s Secret Podcast where they talk about everything and anything. Well, one joke from a while ago resurfaced. It just so happens, this joke had too many racial slurs for SNL. And they fired him before he could even get started on the newest season of SNL.
A comedian with quite possibly the driest sense of humor and monotone delivery. Anthony Jeselnik's comedy acts are fairly rash and oftentimes abrupt in nature. There are a lot of one-liners that make you cringe, but to be fair, nothing he's saying is new. He's saying a lot of what we already know, but the way he delivers it makes it seem like we're the monsters if we don't get the punch.
Nikki Glaser is known for her expertise at roasting sessions. There is a lot that comes out of Glaser that has to do with sex. While her comedy also involves being a woman and social politics, it often comes back to sex. So, if sex makes you uncomfortable, you might not want to indulge in this roast-master's comedy. Which is a shame because her performance in the Roast of Alec Baldwin is spectacular.
Nothing short of confrontational, Jim Jefferies' comedy tends to be on the raw side. In his 2018 Netflix comedy special This Is Me Now, he talks about the infamous wall… but the one that should be built in Canada on account of Americans getting all of their jobs back and running out of healthcare. Well, that's completely comfortable for the entire audience. On a recent airing of Lights Out with David Spade, Jefferies goes on about how we live in a 'cancel culture' now. According to him, we're all too sensitive now.