I don't remember from which Twitter-hole I pulled this, but get ready for my first-ever link to ESPN: In the middle of a very long mailbag column by Bill Simmons, he lists The Funniest People in the World from 1975 to 2009. It's a surprisingly good list:
1980: Rodney Dangerfield
His breakout year with "Caddyshack," killer stand-up, killer Carson appearances, a Grammy-winning comedy album, even a Rolling Stone cover. Our oldest winner.
1981: Bill Murray
Carried "Stripes" one year after "Caddyshack." Tough year for comedy with cocaine was ruining nearly everybody at this point.
1982-84: Eddie Murphy
The best three-year run anyone has had. Like Bird's three straight MVPs. And by the way, "Beverly Hills Cop" is still the No. 1 comedy of all time if you use adjusted gross numbers.
(Random note: Sam Kinison's 1984 spot on Dangerfield's "Young Comedians" special has to be commemorated in some way. At the time, it was the funniest six minutes that had ever happened, and it could have single-handedly won him the title in almost any other year. It's also the hardest I have ever laughed without drugs being involved. Sadly, I can't link to it because of the language and because it crosses about 35 lines of decency. But it's easily found, if you catch my drift.)
Although Wonder Showzen should have been the 2006 entry instead of Steve Carell. I enjoy Steve Carell quite a bit, but nothing was funnier than Wonder Showzen.