Top Old School Brooklyn Comedians
The cream of the crop of the best comedians in the last century have hailed from my native Brooklyn. It’s practically a hotbed of talent for those in the know. Let’s take a quick look at some old school comics that hailed from the fifth borough and made it big:
Stiller and Meara
Both members of the comedy duo, a happily married couple, were born and raised in Brooklyn. Jerry Stiller (later known for "Seinfeld" and "King of Queens") and Anne Meara ("Archie Bunker’s Place") met at an agent’s office and made a coffee date. The Brooklyn comedians, also known as Ben Stiller’s ("There's Something about Mary") parents, then remained together for decades and the rest is history.
Rock star comic Eddie Murphy was born in Brooklyn and raised in Bushwick until he was 8-years-old. Though he spent most of his childhood on Long Island, he returned to the city to star on "Saturday Night Live" throughout the early 80s, often seen as the only bright spot during a drab period for the show.
Soon after, the Brooklyn comedian would headline tours, produce glitzy cable specials, and star in a string of hit movies.
This Brooklyn comedian and parodist, known for directing "Young Frankenstein," "Blazing Saddles," and "Spaceballs," grew up on South 3rd Street in the now-gentrified Williamsburg. The nearly centenarian comedy genius still waxes poetic about three cent egg creams and fizzy chocolate-flavored sodas from the local fountain.
It’s hard not to blatantly see that the iconic television star is a native New Yorker, but did you know that while he grew up in Long Island, he was born in Brooklyn to his devout Jewish parents?
It’s true. And, he so loved the city that attended college in Queens, perfected his standup in Manhattan, and, when NBC produced his eponymous sitcom, he based it in the area as an homage to his upbringing.
Now, true to form, his Netflix production, "Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee," features local New York coffee shops.
The larger-than-life Brooklyn comedian and television pioneer was reared on Chauncey Street in Bushwick and attended Bushwick High.
Gleason famously decided to set his sitcom, "The Honeymooners," in Brooklyn, and used the address of his boyhood tenement home, though the show referred to it as being in Bensonhurst.
Raised in Crown Heights, Prospect Park, and Brooklyn Heights, the fashionable diva comic happily shared that she grew up in a “leafy” and “green” area right off Eastern Parkway that housed multiple doctors and their families.
Rivers gained fame by making multiple appearances with Johnny Carson on his late night fest, "The Tonight Show." She eventually headlined her own daytime talk show in the 80s, and, most notoriously, appeared as a witty commentator on E! Network’s "Fashion Police" prior to her 2014 death.
The Three Stooges
Bensonhurst is the origin of all three members of possibly one of the greatest comedy acts of all time. Larry, Moe, and Curly, and later, Shemp, became famous on the vaudeville scene in the 1920s, and the Brooklyn comedians maintained their fame for over fifty years via comic shorts and films.
Moe attended Erasmus High School in Brooklyn for all of two months before quitting to run errands for Vitagraph Studio workers in 1909. The Brooklyn studio saw his potential, and he never did have to go back for that pesky high school diploma!