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The 50 Funniest People Now

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Here they are: The 50 actors, stand-ups, TV hosts, Twitterers, radio personalities, septuagenarians and sports analysts making us laugh the most right now. In making this list, we took the "now" part seriously, and focused on comedians' recent work. That meant excluding some all-time greats who aren’t very active as funnymen (or aren't doing their best work at the moment) in favor of people who are truly killing it out there these days.

By Nick Catucci, Meredith Clark, Jon Dolan, Andy Greene, Joe Gross, Joel Hoard, Halle Kiefer and Jody Rosen

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4

Jon Stewart

Now entering his fifteenth year behind The Daily Show's anchor desk, Stewart is approaching Carson-Letterman territory as a late-night institution. In the early Bush years, he single-handedly obliterated the cliche that liberals couldn't be funny, skewering politicians and the pundits who cover them while effortlessly merging satire with substantive interviews, like a cross between Tim Russert and Mort Sahl. He's made an art of vaporizing cable news blowhards like Bill O'Reilly and Jim Cramer, but he's never been afraid to take on respected public figures at the height of their popularity and power. He recently called out fellow New Jerseyan Chris Christie for attacking Barack Obama's leadership skills on the campaign trail, then praising them when his state needed help after Hurricane Sandy: "I see," Stewart said. "So he wasn't a leader until you needed leadership." He remains the most trusted name in news for people who don't trust the news.

tina fey

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3

Tina Fey

"Remember the beginning of the story where I was the underdog? No? Me neither," Fey wrote in her bestselling memoir Bossypants. That line pretty much nails Tina Fey¹s mystique: The writer-producer-actor-author has become a do-it-all icon and a trailblazer for similarly versatile female comedians like Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling. As 30 Rock winds up its final season this year, she can move on to the next phase of her victory-lap filled career safe in the knowledge that she¹s infused prime time TV with new levels of absurdist wit and cultural sophistication. Word has it the season finale will feature an appearances by Ice-T and former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ("I would do almost anything Tina Fey asks me to do," Pelosi said), proving that Fey can make pretty much anyone funny.

Paul Morigi/WireImage

2

Stephen Colbert

Colbert is so well known for his political humor that his chops as a pure comedian are often overlooked. But he's one of comedy's quickest wits, not to mention an old fashioned physical comedian – a world-class mugger and slapstick artist, donning ridiculous outfits and wolfing down dubious foodstuffs on Colbert Report sketches. As for politics: He sets himself apart not just as a satirist, but as an activist, breaking the fourth wall with ingenious conceptual art stunts – testifying before congress about his brief tenure as a migrant worker, founding his own Super PAC to expose post-Citizens United money-swamped political campaigns, and in his most celebrated coup de theatre, spit-roasting President Bush, and the complacent press corps, in his appearance at the White House Correspondents Dinner in 2006.

louis ck

FX

1

Louis C.K.

In 2013, Louis C.K. is the Great American Comedian: our chubby, schlubby, ginger-haired conscience, id, and jester-in-chief. He's a poet of existential malaise, but his signature standup bit, "Everything is Amazing and Nobody's Happy," extols the beauty of life and the magic of modern technology. He's a devoted single father who quips, hilariously, about child-rape. He's relentlessly politically incorrect, and one of the most politically trenchant comedians going, whose jokes stake out a savagely smart left-of-center perspective on class, race, and American history. He's a crusty old-school stand-up's-stand up and a groundbreaking internet entrepreneur. His TV show is a new kind of high-low pop-art, a little bit Jackie Gleason, a little bit Jean-Luc Godard. He can make you laugh, and cry, just by eating ice cream, a whole pint of it, straight out of the carton, while lying in bed. A funny man who contains multitudes.

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