Is it Chris Rock or Norm Macdonald? Eddie Murphy or Taylor Tomlinson? Stand-up comedians may come in all shapes and sizes (we’re looking at you, Kevin Hart), but certainly aren’t one-size-fits-all. Senses of humor develop over time based on our distinct personalities and shared cultural experiences, which means they differ wildly from person to person and, in many cases, region to region. That got us thinking, which stand-up comedians are the favorites among residents from each state? And which are the most popular overall? So we found out.
The Most Popular Stand-Up Comedian in Every U.S. State
Rising to fame in the 1980s for his Saturday Night Live appearances and critically acclaimed stand-up specials Delirious and Raw, Eddie Murphy stands alone as the most popular stand-up comedian in the country. While he is commonly considered among the funniest comedians ever, his current popularity may come as a surprise to some since he hasn’t performed live stand-up comedy in about three decades. He has, however, recently talked about a desire to return to the stage.
Kevin Hart comes in as the second-most popular stand-up comedian in the country, being the most searched in five states, which makes sense when you consider he has two of the five highest-grossing stand-up comedy specials ever. A few more big names in comedy popped up several times on our map, with Jim Carrey and the late Norm Macdonald both being most searched in four states, and Robert Klein and Taylor Tomlinson being most searched in three.
Many fans of stand-up comedy will recognize other names on the map, including the late Robin Williams, who is the most popular stand-up comedian in Montana, and Bill Burr, who is the most popular in his home state of Massachusetts.
You may be surprised to find out that Chris Rock only appears on our map once (in Texas) since he was on the receiving end of the slap heard round the world at the Oscars. He isn’t the only comedian in our research who was in the news recently; Dave Chappelle (most searched in Delaware) was also attacked on stage.
The Most Popular Stand-Up Comedian in Every U.S. Region
When we zoom in and take a closer look at regional trends, there are some interesting things to note. For example, Eddie Murphy’s dominance on our map of the most popular stand-up comedians is thanks entirely to the South, as he is most frequently searched in Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia (as well as Maryland). Norm Macdonald, known for his deadpan delivery, is the most popular stand-up comedian in the Midwest, propelled by being the most searched in Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
The locations where a comedian rose through the industry can play a role in their regional popularity, too. Robert Klein, made popular in the 1970s for his political satire, is most popular in the Northeastern states of Connecticut, New Jersey, and his native state of New York. Taylor Tomlinson, who began her career in California before releasing two Netflix stand-up specials in 2020 and 2022, is one of the two stand-up comedians that are most popular out west, being most searched in Colorado and Washington. Jim Carrey is the other Western U.S. favorite, with Idaho and New Mexico searching for him most often.
The Most Popular Stand-Up Comedian Overall
While we’ve covered the popularity of stand-up comedians like Eddie Murphy and Kevin Hart, there are a few others that popped up more than once in our analysis. Elayne Boosler, Phyllis Diller, and Sam Kinison are the most popular comedians in two states each. Boosler, best known for being the first woman to perform an hour-long comedy special that appeared on a cable television network, is the most popular in Indiana and Ohio. Phyllis Diller, a female comedy pioneer, is the most popular in Missouri and West Virginia. And Sam Kinison, who started his career in Houston, Texas, is the most popular in Maine and Oklahoma.
From legends of stand-up comedy like Eddie Murphy to up-and-comers like Taylor Tomlinson to current superstars like Kevin Hart, our analysis of stand-up comedian popularity covers decades of chuckles, giggles, and belly laughs, giving us some insight into how senses of humor can differ regionally.
We created a list of America’s most well-known comedians using websites like Rolling Stone as a starting point. In all, we searched 64 stand-up comedians and used Google Trends search data from the last 12 months to determine which ones are being searched most often and where those searches are taking place.
No matter where you’re from or what your sense of humor may be, a stand-up comedy show can be a great date night idea that reminds you to not take anything too seriously. When you’ve found someone that you want to laugh with forever, make sure to ask the question the right way with a beautiful engagement ring from Shane Co.