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From Melissa McCarthy To Aziz Ansari, 'Rolling Stone' Lists 50 Funniest People09:38Download

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In this photo provided by NBC, Melissa McCarthy as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, left, and Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump perform during "Spicer Returns" on the television show "Saturday Night Live," Saturday, May 13, 2017, in New York. (Will Heath/NBC via AP)MoreCloseclosemore
In this photo provided by NBC, Melissa McCarthy as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, left, and Alec Baldwin as President Donald Trump perform during "Spicer Returns" on the television show "Saturday Night Live," Saturday, May 13, 2017, in New York. (Will Heath/NBC via AP)

Comedy is booming in the United States, and Rolling Stone is showcasing some of the funniest in the business today with a new list: "The 50 Funniest People Right Now."

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Rob Sheffield (@robsheff), author of the article, about what makes these comedians so great.

Interview Highlights

On how Rolling Stone assembled its list

"We had a lot of arguments, a lot of very fun arguments in the office, a lot of debates, a lot of throwing names around. People are very loyal, and one of the beautiful things about comedy — even more than music — tastes are absolutely personal: you love what you love."

On Dave Chappelle's return to comedy

"One of the most legendary moves any comedian ever made is him just walking away from [Chappelle's Show] and that huge pile of money. He's a different guy, and part of what really works about his new specials — he just dropped two specials on Netflix that were recorded almost a year apart, and they're very different kinds of stuff. He's not recycling his greatest hits, he's an older guy, he's a richer guy, he's a more confused guy. So in some ways he's really confused by the world around him, and he's kinda feeling it out as he goes along, which is part of what's exhilarating, he's on the edge of the moment."

"Comedy is booming right now. It's really amazing. We're at a point where comedy is like the new rock 'n' roll."

Rob Sheffield

On Patton Oswalt

"Patton Oswalt, he's so beloved because he's always been such a soulful voice in comedy. He's always talked about his life, his lonely bachelor days, and he used to do routines where he was meeting his wife, and the early days of his marriage and becoming a dad. And then when he and his daughter went through that horrible tragedy a year ago, when suddenly and unexpectedly his wife died, that Patton Oswalt was able to respond to that by going back to work, and respond to it in such a brave and open and honest way. It really kind of shows a lot about sort of how emotionally complex comedy is in 2017."

On what's next for comedy

"It's funny how what a circumscribed world it used to be, and again, it's really interesting to watch that 'I'm Dying Up Here' show, and see how constricted it was in the '70s when there was such a relatively narrow set of rules, and such a relatively narrow avenue that comedians had to break through to the mainstream audience. Now, the barriers are just falling down and people keep finding ways to use podcasts, to use web series, to use different social media channels, just to find their audience. You just do your stuff, and your people find you. It's a beautiful time for comedy."

Clips From The Segment

This segment aired on June 12, 2017.

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