What's the one characteristic that every comedian must have?
For those of you who answered that question with "humor," you might believe wholeheartedly that you've responded with the most common and easiest answer.
But some comedians of the stand up variety have actually proven your hypothesis completely wrong and actually have managed to cultivate a successful career without actually having a funny bone in their entire body.
As much as you think that might be exaggeration at its finest or hyperbole at its highest point, you might want to consider checking the comedian history books for a second glance at more than a few who are laughably bad at what they do for a living.
One of the bigger shortcomings of a comedian is being labeled as the guy or girl that has no original material and instead steals jokes and bits from other colleagues within the field. That shouldn't be confused with being influenced by a comedian but rather outright stealing it and putting your name on it, like a test or homework in high school.
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Two names come to mind right off the bat, both of who fit that mold perfectly. Say hello to the hacks: Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia. The latter was given his own show on Comedy Central once Dave Chappelle disappeared after his wildly successful and aptly titled "Chappelle Show." Mencia had a strong start but his comedy is borderline offensive and got old and stale quickly when fans of Chappelle realized he wasn't nearly as funny as his predecessor.
As for Cook, he's been accused of picking off plenty of material from comedians, most notably the incredibly talented Louis CK. Cook, much like Mencia, had a nice run and did well for himself about 6 or 7 years ago, but his latest return to comedy was met with a resonating dud. He appeared recently on "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon and watching his act was painfully atrocious and even the normally easy to make laugh Fallon was squirming at this performance.
Guess that is what unfunny looks and feels like, Mr. Cook.
Another sure fire way to find yourself on the list of unfunny comedians is to either have a puppet as part of your act or incorporate other props into your act. Prop comics like Carrot Top or Gallagher would create odd, unfunny gadgets that melded two uncommon things together in the attempt to garner laughs or smash fruit, respectively, but neither man moved the proverbial needle much in the way of being another George Carlin or Jerry Seinfeld. Carrot Top and Gallagher sadly experienced way too much success than they should have given just how lame and campy their performances consistently were.
Kudos to anyone who can hone some semblance of a craft to get the courage to perform live in front of a large group, but even that kind of speaking acumen doesn't excuse you from being unoriginal or, worse yet, unfunny.
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