The list of legendary comedians is a long one. George Carlin, Sam Kinnison, Lenny Bruce, Louis C.K., Dave Chappelle, Sarah Silverman, even Bob Saget, they are all fantastically funny people, but they all have another thing in common: they are not clean comedians , they love dirty humor. Foul language and blatantly sexual material abound in their work, and while it might leave the audience rolling in the aisles, sometimes it is nice to know there’s clean comedy out there that isn’t quite so raunchy.
Rather than relying on shock and awe or finding new ways to surprise people with their inappropriateness, these clean comedians rely on clever wordplay, common problems everyone faces now and then, and maybe just very lightly treading on a sacred cow now and then. They might not all get their specials on late night cable with these acts, but these men and women are still out there, striving to make people laugh without making them feel totally filthy day after.
Clean Comedy Isn’t So Hard to Find These Days
No one has mastered the art of snark quite like Jim Gaffigan. Rather than going too blue, his humor is observational, picking up the silly little foibles that people deal with from day to day and dryly mocking them. Down to earth and self-aware, he frequently ridicules his jokes during his performances, making his audience laugh all the more.
Overly exaggerated movements and funny voices mark the style of Comedian Ron Pearson. He excels at taking the everyday moments from his life and making them sound completely ridiculous. Without missing a beat, shifting from one topic to another, he pokes fun at school, family, science, and everything else under the sun, especially himself.
He is heavy, and he knows it, he loves self-deprecation, and while he might toe the line some, he never seems to cross it. He is Louie Anderson, a legendary comedian he had his cartoon that he used to make fun of his childhood. Since 1987, Louie has been making audiences roar with his sincerely-delivered punchlines and sarcastic wit.
Bob Stromberg may look like the quintessential dad, but he knows a lot more than just dad jokes. A master at telling a funny story, his pantomiming and exasperated expressions make his clean comedy just as much a visual treat as it is mental. Bob turns awkward situations that might get a chuckle from anyone else into side-splitting hilarity.
Squeaky-clean but still capable of making audiences smile, Michael Jr’s style of clean comedy is unique. Rather than relying on crudeness or making light of ridiculous situations, he brings a warm smile and happy laughter to audiences through inspirational, faith-based stories told sincerely while neither putting himself on a pedestal nor kicking the chair out from under him.
Humble, personable, and able to make anyone laugh with a funny look, Steve Harvey is not just that funny host from Family Feud. He tells his jokes loud and proud, emoting the whole time and always staying relatable. Steve Harvey does not hold back with his clean comedy, but he still manages to keep from getting into the dirty business, if only by a hair.
Jeff Allen has been around a long time, and he is spent that time learning how to perfect his craft. Influenced by the clean comedy of Jerry Seinfeld, he lets his stories go completely off the rails and exaggerates every aspect of his life to make people laugh, turning the grouchy curmudgeon routine into a total riot for everyone watching.
When it comes down to it, a comedian’s job is to make people laugh by any means necessary, but it is refreshing to see some that choose not to go for the lowest common denominator. Clean comedians rely on delivery and charisma, choosing to twist words into knots and letting the silly parts of life bring on the humor rather than grabbing people by the wrist and nosediving into the mud.