The Best Comics of 2010 You Probably Don’t Know

This is a bit late, but I had to do my annual list of the best comics of the year you probably don’t know.  The list I did last year was quite the comedy forecast.   Comedians on that list had a great 2010, with Moshe Kasher getting a book deal and selling a pilot, TJ Miller making it in the movies, and Reggie Watts blowing it up on Conan.  April Richardson filled her year with festivals and Ryan Singer has been touring the country.

DISCLAIMER: This list is completely according to me and what I saw this year.  Because I didn’t do as much traveling, or perform at as many festivals as I did in 2009, I was a bit limited in who I saw.  Also there are some relatively big names on this list, but they’re still not household names, so that’s why they make it on… The Best Comics of 2010 You Probably Don’t Know:

1. Marc Maron

If you don’t know what a podcast is, you’re missing out.  WTF the Marc Maron podcast was THE hottest comedy podcast of the year.  Well, according to me.  But I’m not the only one who thinks it’s great.  I’m pretty much addicted to it and I listen to it whenever I go out for a run.  Marc is a great stand-up and is such a compelling character.  It’s hard not to love him:

2. Rick Shapiro

A constant favorite of mine since I saw him perform at The Tomorrow Show years ago, this guy is an absolute phenom.  Watching him perform at The Dark Room this past Feb was one of my comedy highlights of the year.  He did a killer bit about people shopping at the Used Thought Lot and Same Thought Depot.  Watch him sing Frosty the Snowman:

3. Jen Kirkman

Another highlight of the year was seeing Jen Kirkman perform a headlining set at the Elbo Room.  An absolute treat since she rarely makes it up from her TV writing schedule at Chelsea Lately, Kirkman delighted the packed room with hilarious bits like the one where she describes an alternate Golden Girls where married women lived together.  Agh!  I wish you could’ve seen it!  But you can watch this clip:

4. Doug Stanhope

I got to see this guy for the first time live this year.  A lot of people give props to Louis CK for being prolific, but this guy is gifted in that department as well.  When I saw him he had new great bits including one about all the recent events where animals killed or maimed people.  Not a funny subject, but hilarious when it came out of his mouth.

Stanhope on the BP oil spill:

5. Jon Dore

A favorite ever since I saw him perform at Bridgetown in 2009, this guy had a great year with his own show debuting on IFC.  His set on Conan cemented his place on this year’s list:

6. Rory Scovel

Another favorite from seeing him perform at Bridgetown in 2009, Rory Scovel has been keeping up the buzz with a great set on Fallon this year:

7. DJ Real

This guy needs to be famous.  His songs are infectious and he’s an all-around classic entertainer and funnyman.  Watch him work magic with the Flitter Fairy:

8. Mitch Fatel

I saw this guy perform for the first time this year.  He had stand out bits including the one about watching someone go down on you with opera glasses.  He has a special place in my heart because he’s got that innocent/dirty thing going on, which reminds me of someone who I also like (uh, me!).  ; )

9. Marga Gomez

An absolute stand-out on any show, this woman brings it every time.  Her jokes are funny and hit deep and true.  Please see her live whenever you can.

10. Kevin Camia

This guy came out with his debut comedy album this year Kindness.  He’s one of my favorites of the Bay, and he’ll surely become yours too.  Here he is with one of my favorite bits of his:

10. Lynn Ruth Miller

I had to have Lynn Ruth Miller on my list.  She’s not only hilarious but a total inspiration.  She’s doing everything I want to be doing and she’s ANCIENT!  Ha ha, no she’s not, but she is pretty old, as in much older than me.  I saw her perform her storytelling show at the Actor’s Theater in San Francisco, and it was one of the most touching, sweet and funny shows I’ve seen all year.  Fall in love with her, please.




  1. Allison Page

    This is a great list, Mary!

  2. Jan

    Lynn Ruth Miller is excellent!

  3. Lynn Ruth Miller

    I am so honored to be on such a prestigious and talented list. Thank you so much, Mary, for really HEARING what I try to say.

  4. jen kirkman

    thanks mary! i quit my writing job on chelsea back in may 2010 tho

  5. Mary Van Note

    @Lynn Ruth Miller Thank you, Lynn Ruth! I love you! I hope your NYE show was spectacular.

    @Jen Kirkman Thank you, Jen! You’re the best! Oops, I knew that too about you leaving Chelsea Lately, totally forgot. I’m so glad you performed up here : )

  6. Mary Van Notes » Archive » The Best Comics of 2011 You Probably Don’t Know

    […] Jon Dore and Rory Scovel Both of these guys were in my Best of 2010 list.  They both get a spot on this year’s list with their amazing dual set they did on Conan.   […]

  7. Mary Van Notes » Archive » The Best Comics of 2012 You Probably Don’t Know

    […] Rory Scovel have a solid piece of my comedy-loving heart.   They have been on my best of list in 2010 and 2011.   I think it’s about time someone gave them a TV show TOGETHER (yes, they have/had […]