List of formerly funny people

There are several categories of post-funny people. Some of them were funny, then became cocaine addicts, and then got off cocaine and lost their funny. They should have either avoided cocaine in the first place or never quit. These are marked with a “C”.

Some other post-funny people were funny and then became political and serious and have lost their funny, but do not know this. These are marked with a “P”. These people do things that have the structure of skit or standup comedy but are just pissed off political rants, and not even satire. They’re sad.

Finally there is a third category of idiopathic funny-loss; people who were funny but are not now amusing, and the reason is not known.

  • Dennis Miller (P,C)
  • Janeane Garofalo (P)
  • Dick Gregory (P)
  • Robin Williams (C)
  • Dana Carvey
  • Bill Cosby (P)
  • Eddie Murphy (C)
  • David Letterman

Ms. Garofalo quit alcohol which may give her some equivalent to a “C”, although cocaine seems to have a magical humor-removing effect.

12 thoughts on “List of formerly funny people

    1. I just watched his show the other night for the first time in years and I thought “this is enjoyable. He is still fun to watch. They do some funny things.” Maybe it’s because the rest of TV is such a wasteland but I watched the whole show and then turned off the TV and felt oddly satisfied.
      When his was great it was really, really great. He’s gotten older. So have I.


      1. I’ve gotten older as well, aging right along with him, but we share the same sense of humor, laugh at the same things. I’ve been watching Dave since his morning show back in ’81, I think.


  1. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d put Bill Maher and Al Franken on the list. And Rob Schneider’s right on the line. I’d excuse Cosby though — I think he knows that comedy is behind him.


  2. i heard Janeane shrewing it up on her Air America radio show and all i could think was, “shut up shut up shut UP” and “what have you done with the real Janeane?” she was obnoxious and unbearable.


  3. Before I saw the end, I was thinking that you should have an A category, for people, like Dick Van Dyke, who did countless tv shows in his funny day, completely schnooked out of his gourd. Thing is, you can’t be shitty, shitty, bang, bang forever.


  4. Hey!
    Letterman??? You ARE sleepy. Dave is still king. Still imminently watchable and with Jon Stewart the absolute BEST late night combo. As an added bonus, since Letterman starts at 11:35, there’s that last five minutes of the news to catch before he starts where the stoopid filler news is caught – the stuff that actually IS dopey and interesting.
    WHAT ABOUT JAY LENO??? I take it Leno isn’t on your list because he was NEVER funny? That’s not true. Back in the 80’s Jay was very funny. I haven’t seen his stand-up, but I admire his work ethic. If only he wasn’t so unwatchable.
    Janeane Garofalo was never funny. Not even close. Most people I know are far, far, funnier than she is. She was (hell, still is) awfully cute and somehow that made people think she was funny. Same way Whoopi Goldberg was odd looking, but somehow seemed funny for a while.
    and then there’s Sam Kinison. When was the last time HE said something that made you laugh?


  5. Totally agree with you on Dennis Miller. I was watching an old (1991) SNL and he was at the news desk. Cute. Funny. Then on came Al Franken, who these days, would probably be Miller’s arch enemy of liberalism. THEN David Spade came on to to a quick bit, the “what’s in, what’s out” and mentioned it was only his second time on the show.
    It was like watching a time capsule. Some kind of twisted, evil time capsule.
    Oh, and yes, I agree with the others about David Letterman. Letterman is KING of late night.
    I’ve always been a fan of Janeane. Love her even more now that she’s doing what she can to fight the power. And Robin – did you see his amazing performance recently on Actor’s Studio? He’s still got the stuff.


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