There are a million hilarious comedians out there, but few stand the test of time.

Laughter is a gift from God. With the invention of television and film, the 20th century brought us an abundance of comedic actors.

Here are the top 5 people who made us laugh during their life time:

Robin Williams

A ball of energy no one could contain. Though he had a gift for dramatic acting, Williams was always best when he was telling jokes at break neck speed.

From Mork and Mindy to films like Mrs. Doubtfire and Disney’s Aladdin, he always found comedy in unexpected places.


Will Ferrell

Ferrell is kind of a big deal— especially considering his uproarious performances in now-classic comedies such as “Anchorman,” “Elf,” and “Step Brothers.”

Ferrell also gained fame and followers from his 10-year run on “Saturday Night Live,” where he kept fans asking for more cowbell.

Ferrell’s also been a masterful enabler of other A.D.s (producing Eastbound & Down, for instance), while becoming so emblematic of white-guy self-parody that rappers love sampling him (see Kanye and Jay-Z’s “Niggas In Paris”).


Zach Galifianakis

The king of all things uncomfortable, embarrassing, troubling and inappropriate, Galifianakis has become the least likely mega-star of his generation.

The Hangover 3 will be out later this year, and last year’s The Campaign, with Will Ferrell, was a surprisingly trenchant comment on political corruption. But the Galifianakis magic is often best experienced in situations where his languidly absurdist genius is undiluted.

His ability be at once totally unacceptable and utterly lovable is a comedic wonder:

“I want to combine the NAACP with Mothers Against Drunk Driving,” he once joked.


Jim Carrey

Known for his over-the-top facial expressions and rubber-like body movements, Carrey made a name for himself with breakout hits “Dumb & Dumber” and “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.”

Though he’s taken on more serious roles — and even won a Golden Globe for his performance in “The Truman Show” — Carrey can always be counted on for a laugh.


Patton Oswalt

Oswalt helped bring stand-up to indie-rock clubs with the Comedians of Comedy tour, and he’s spent years skewering American excess and stupidity.

After starring on The King of Queens and in films like Young Adult and Ratatouille, he wrote Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, a book of essays about growing up as a geeky outsider.

He’s also willing to suffer for a joke: Upon admitting he¹d never actually eaten KFC’s Famous Bowl, a dish he called a “failure pile in a sadness bowl” in one of his most beloved bits, he agreed to try one and wrote about his near-death meal experience for the AV Club.