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  • Tristan J. Miller

Top Ten Comedians that are purely positive!

It’s often hard to find comedians that don’t rely on stereotypes, regressive ideas, or simply being mean for humor. Here are my top ten comedians that are more positive than not.

10. The McElroy Brothers

The McElroys have a literal family of products from which one might choose. They have podcasts, online videos, a television series, and most recently best selling books. These three brothers from West Virginia first made a name for themselves with the podcast My Brother, My Brother and me. They have since gone on to make The Adventure Zone, Sawbones and, my personal favorite, Wonderful! Their attitude towards improving their comedy by listening to their audience when they say something offends them is an inspiration for those who wish to continue to be funny and kind in an ever-changing climate. They have an excellent dynamic with all of those with whom they podcast, incredible timing, and a silliness that makes you smile even on the worst of days.

9. John Mulaney

If you are looking for the least problematic of white-male comedians, look no further than John Mulaney. He got his start in New York working for SNL and working the usual stand-up circuits. He has most recently and notably has had shows on Broadway as well as radio city music hall, not at all bad for a boy from Illinois. John Mulaney has leaned into his whiteness to such a way that it is palatable and hilarious to almost everyone.

8. Joseph Scrimshaw

Joseph Scrimshaw is a podcaster, comedian, and writer from Minnesota. His kind midwestern attitude permeates everything he covers in his comedy, whether it’s Star Wars or cooking some eggs. Joseph has two podcasts, Obsessed and Force Center. On Force Center Joseph hosts a segment called Star Wars Counseling where he is tasked by himself and listeners to put a positive spin on a grievance found in the Star Wars universe. Obsessed is an interview podcasts that takes a joyful look at something the guest is obsessed with. The thesis of the program is to spread the joy that someone feels when the love something completely unfettered.

7. Hattie Hayes

Hattie Hayes is a comedian from Phoenix, AZ and now lives in New York City. She hosts a show called Lady Killer, at Carmine Comics, which boasts an all female line-up. Hattie is hilarious and harmless in her comedy, no matter what she’s talking about. From horse camp to gift cards she has excellent delivery, startling creativity, and an upbeat demeanor that makes her a joy to watch. She hosts a podcast with her life and creative partner Matt Storrs called PEP (Phoenix Educational Programming) on which of them will explain to the other a piece of media in 20 or so minutes.

6. Demi Adejuyigbe

Demi is a comedian, podcaster, writer, and musician. He has worked on the Good Place, Craig of the Creek, as well as several articles published everywhere from The New Yorker to his own medium blog. He hosts an excellent podcast called Pump up the Jam, where he and Miel Bredouw try to improve upon a song. It is vulgar, hilarious, silly, stupid, and wonderfully smart all at the same time. Demi also spoke very candidly about being a creative person at the XOXO Festival, which is something that is definitely worth watching if you have interest in being a comedian or are just interested in comedians and their internal lives.

5. Sarah Kennedy

Hailing from Albuquerque, Sarah Kennedy is comedian living in Brooklyn, NY. She hosts too many shows to count and is constantly on stage perfecting her own personal brand of comedy magic. She has a relaxed and warm demeanor that will win over even the toughest of crowds. She is silly, light-hearted, and utterly kind when approaching her comedy. She has started working on Taylor: A one Woman Show Obsessed with One Woman, in which she recounts the career and sorted love life of Taylor Swift. Complete with slide-show, this show will have you not only on Sarah’s side about Taylor, but will also have you laughing while you nod your head in agreement.

4. Rhea Butcher

Rhea Butcher is an LA-based comedian who has appeared on Conan, Buzzfeed, and their own television series Take my Wife. Rhea has a calm, solid energy. Rhea’s sets or bursting over with puns and good-will. Rhea hosts a show at UCB Franklin in LA called Put your Hands Together which comes out weekly as a podcast. Rhea also hosts a podcast called, Three Swings on which they will summarize the current state of Major League Baseball. Always funny, often poignant, Rhea Butcher is not to be missed.

3. Paul F. Tompkins

Paul F. Tompkins is an American comedian based in Los Angeles. He has appeared on various late-night talk show, Bojack Horseman, where he plays the overly positive Mr. Peanutbutter and has quickly become a staple of American alt-comedy. Always dressed to the nines, Paul F. Tompkins has a critical, yet kind approach to humor. With a razor-sharp wit he can improvise for hours with the best of them. He hosts two podcasts, Spontaneanaton and Threedom. On Spontaneanaton he and guests will improvise scenes and conversation all while accompanied by a piano. In Threedom, three of the funniest people on the planet, Lauren Lapkus, Scott Aukerman, and Paul F. Thompkins, improvise and converse in order to get to know each other a little better.

2. Myq Kaplan

Myq (pronounced Mike) Kaplan is a New York-based comedian and podcaster. His rapid-fire wit is superseded only by his desire to do good by those who know and enjoy his work. His comedy is consistently and constantly kind and growth-oriented, not to mention hilarious. You’ve more than likely seen him on Conan and The Late, Late Show. You also might have seen him doing a bar show in Brooklyn somewhere, because the man is constantly working on his craft. Myq hosts a new podcast called Broccoli and Ice Cream on which he and a guest discuss the ins and outs of the creative process. The show is guided by Myq’s insatiable curiosity and desire for wisdom. Myq has a quality rarely seen in performers, he is faster than most people and filled with a joy that is infectious to be around.

1. Maria Bamford

Maria Bamford is a Minnesota born comedian based out of Los Angeles California. She is the most original voice in comedy today. Her material, while having an undertone of existential dread, is always positive, silly, bizarre, and full of hope. She has appeared on Conan, many comedy specials, and her own television series Lady Dynamite. Maria creates an elaborate tapestry of characters, scenarios, and emotions from which jokes will get stuck in your mind like so many songs from your childhood. Maria is constantly aware of her own growth and encourages it in others, as well.

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