Comedians I’ve Seen Live

To remind my future self I was once (kinda) cool.


On Saturday night, I’ll see comedian/podcaster Marc Maron perform live. This will be my second time seeing him onstage. I’ve seen Jim Gaffigan more though: three times, if I’m remembering correctly.

This got me thinking about how many stand-up comics I’ve seen in person over the past 20+ years — and how much money I’ve spent in the process (don’t ask).

But my tallying also made me reflect on how I’ve used these live appearances — as well as my familiarity with the comics and their work — in my professional life. For instance, I’ve published book chapters, encyclopedia entries, and journal articles* based on these performances, some of which have (presumably) helped me to acquire jobs.

I’ve also created entire college classes based on some of these comedians and their work: Stand-Up Comedy on TV and American TV Comedy: Sitcom, Satire, Sketch. In the near future, I plan to offer a course called Stand-Up Comedy Documented, which explores how the art of stand-up is represented in documentary films like Joan Rivers’ A Piece of Work, PBS’s Make Em Laugh series, and The Aristocrats.

Syllabi for my courses on stand-up comedy.

So before I forget whom I’ve had the pleasure of seeing perform live and whose performances I suffered through (ahem, Mr. Watts), I made this list. And funds willing, I’ll add more names in the future.

*Some of my published pieces are linked below.

George Wallace

D.L. Hughley

Jerry Seinfeld

Tommy Davidson

Ray Romano

Brad Garrett

Jon Stewart

David Letterman

Tommy Johnagin

Jim Gaffigan

Wayne Brady

Sarah Silverman

Natasha Leggero

Reggie Watts

Flight of the Conchords

Louis CK

Demetri Martin

Wanda Sykes

Hannibal Buress

Marc Maron

No one told me we were supposed to act funny. Oklahoma City, OK (2011).