Jeff Allen Live, Happy Wife, Happy Life Revisited: Relationship and parenting comedy at its best. Very clean but not necessarily for the very young. His other comedy CD Lock the Door is just as good.
Woody Allen, Standup Comic: An anthology of Woody Allen's comedy recorded and released on vinyl in the sixties. Classic stuff. The moose bit is a classic on an all classic CD.
Bill Cosby, Cosby and the Kids: The very very best of Bill Cosby's stand-up material about growing up. It includes the best comedy routine ever, To Russell, My Brother, Whom I Slept With and stories about Fat Albert, Old Weird Harold, and the also classic Tonsils. You simply cannot go wrong with this one.
George Carlin, Class Clown: Any of Carlin's early seventies CD is great but Class Clown is the tightest one.
Costaki Economopoulos, C'Mon It's Jokes: The title says it all. A caustic take on the world.
Richard Jeni, Greatest Bits: Check the title.
Ron James, The Road Between My Ears: Okay, I am cheating. This is a stand-up comedy DVD but you simply have to have Canadian comic Ron James in your collection, especially if you like storytellers.
Darryl Makk Herding the Sheeple
Ron Shock, You're Gonna Die Anyway: A story-teller. Ideally this stand-up CD would include the Oral Roberts 900 Foot Jesus bit but it is a good representation of this comedian's style and best stuff. This is a smart comic.
Not on the list is Bob Newhart, Something Like This, a 2 CD anthology. It did not make the list only because it does not include The Invention of Baseball.
Monty Python, The Final Rip-off: A best of the best of Monty Python comedy on CD that has all the good stuff except the kangaroo last supper bit.
The long story: I am often asked for a top 10 comedy CD list and I am never able to put one together. A list of the ten best comedy CDs depends on so many yardsticks that no yard is big enough to hold them all. Do you prefer comics who specialize in absurd one liners like Steven Wright or stand-up comedians who can tell a story like Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, personal favorite Ron Shock, or Canadian comic Ron James. If blue language bothers you you will prefer clean comedians like Jeff Allen. If a few swear words are okay you can bet on the late Richard Jeni. If very blue comedy does not intimidate you there is Don Tjernagel and, yes, Gilbert Gottfried. This is the conundrum of such a comedy CD list. Then, you have to figure out if your ten best list can include more than one CD by a particular comic and do best of or anthology CDs count because they are an artificial creation and not a genuine recording of a stand-up performance and so on.
So, what do you do when you have more than 500 stand-up comedy CDs, some of which were culled off the radio or the internet because, as is the case for Jonathan Winters, the labels have not released the really really good stuff. What do you do when your taste in comedy is eclectic so it includes just about everybody who can tell a good joke or a good story. Then you get the politically corrects and are stuck trying to figure out if you should have a certain number of women, Canadians, Blacks, Christians, tall comics, short comics, hairy comics, balding comedians, and so on and so on.