The Best Comics of 2011 You Probably Don’t Know

This list is completely according to me and what I saw this year.  Louis CK had probably the best year ever, and deservedly so.  He is comedy royalty right now.  If you don’t know him, get with the program.  But he doesn’t make it on this list because he’s pretty much a household name.  These are The Best Comics of 2011 You Probably Don’t Know:

1. Ron Lynch
By far my favorite show in Los Angeles is the The Tomorrow Show.  When I first witnessed the Saturday-at-midnight institution I was in awe every minute of it and completely inspired.  I went back to SF and started my own knock-off version with Comedy, Darling.  Ron Lynch, one of the original hosts of the show and the current host, is a comedy genius.   He’s my all-time super duper fave.  Here’s him at the 2011 Bridgetown Comedy Festival:

(and speaking of Louis CK earlier, check out Louis’ short film Hello There starring Ron Lynch)

2. Ron Funches
Truly an original voice, super like-able and had one of the best late-show debuts this year on Conan.  I’m looking forward to seeing more and more from this guy on the small screen (and maybe the big screen!):

3.  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.   I was lucky to see them do this very set for the first time ever at the Bridgetown festival in 2009 (I believe…).  I also saw Rory Scovel headline at Sacramento State University this year, and it was a real treat.  Check out both of these guys if ever they make it to your town.

4. Drennon Davis
Old Mary Van Note buddy Drennon Davis is on the real up and up.   He’s on to great big things with his animated show getting on MTV next year, and his show in LA The Imaginary Radio Program has been getting lots of attention.  He is a comedy tour-de-force with his polished funny songs and silly jokes.  You will be seeing more of him very, very soon:

5. Marcella Arguello
I got to spend some quality time with Marcella this year when we both did California’s Funniest Female contest.  My official opinion?  Marcella is fucking funny.

6. Sean Patton
He was on my list in 2009 and he makes it back on this year’s list for his late night debut on Conan.  This guy always makes me laugh:

7. Susan Burke
A Los Angeles stand-up, I saw Susan at the Tomorrow Show this year playing the expert Psychologist for the Dating Game.  She is a seriously funny performer and she co-wrote the screenplay Smashed that made it into Sundance 2012.  Keep up-to-date on her awesomeness on twitter.

8. Brendan Lynch
Even though there isn’t a video of him online, I wanted to put him on this year’s list.  He’s a local Bay Area comic who I’m always excited to see as he always has new material he’s trying out.  His passion and attitude towards comedy is an inspiration and he is continuously getting better and better every time I see him.  If you’re in the Bay Area, check him out before he blows up big-time.  He tweets too!

9. Steve Mazan
I got to open for this guy this year and he was a joy to see.  His documentary Dying To Do Letterman came out this year to some high acclaim and I can’t wait to see it myself.

10. Carla Clayy
One of my local favorites, Carla Clayy is a truly unique performer.  I know this doesn’t happen that much anymore, but someone please give her a sitcom!   If you’re in the Bay Area, be sure to check her out.

11. Robert Buscemi
Saw this guy in LA for the first time this year.  I really enjoyed his jokes and I look forward to seeing more from him. Check out his comedy album.

12. Nathan Fielder
This guy gets on this list because I learned of him for the first time this year (he’s on the show Jon Benjamin Has A Van) and this video Thin Watermelon became my absolute favorite video find from 2011.



  1. A.K.

    Wow, loved Drennon’s piece there…very talented!!! This is a great list, Mary.

  2. A.K.

    Gotta give props to Ron F. too! Loved it!!!

  3. Nick Flan

    Nice list Mary!

  4. Robert Buscemi

    Thanks a billion, MVN. Serious company here. Makes my day — see you soon-soon I hope. – BUSCEMI

  5. Marcella

    Thanks, Mary!! You’re the sweetest!! Happy New Year, See you soon!!!

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

    […] 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 TV […]

  7. Mary Van Notes » Archive » The Best Comics of 2013 You Probably Don’t Know

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