Long Island Gave Rise To Generations Of Laughter: 21 Iconic Comics From Long Island

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Long Island has given birth to tons of famous politicians and musicians, but it also gave rise to dozens of comics that have made audiences laugh across the globe.

Here are just some of the Long Island-raised comics that have shaped the track of comedy.

Comics From Long Island

Jerry Seinfeld

Most acclaimed for portraying a semi-fictional character inspired by himself in the popular sitcom Seinfeld, Jerry Seinfeld grew up in Brooklyn, graduating from Queens College in 1976 with a communications and theatre degree. Seinfeld is one of the most-watched sitcoms and its reruns are commonly seen on TV, located in the Hamptons. After the end of the show, he pushed forward with stand-up comedy, releasing two Netflix specials and working on written media.

Alec Baldwin

Saturday Night Live! (SNL) featured Baldwin as Donald Trump, making audiences laugh in political sketches as the former President. Unfortunately, he’s not from Baldwin so that part is just a coincidence, but he was raised in Massapequa and currently resides in Amagansett. It’s no surprise that he has many screen credits with three Emmy awards and nineteen nominations. Audiences can count on Baldwin for a good laugh, especially when watching his role in 30 Rock.

Andy Kaufman

Self-described “song and dance man” and even called an “anti-comedian” at times, Kaufman was featured on the first season of SNL and frequented late-night shows. He even staged a professional wrestling encounter that convinced audiences for almost a decade. Kaufman had many tricks up his sleeve until his death in 1984.

Amy Schumer

Schumer was born in New York City’s Upper East Side but also lived in Rockville Centre. She slowly worked her way from smaller shows to co-hosting the Academy Awards. While her film debut was in 2015, she had her own Comedy Central sketch comedy series titled Inside Amy Schumer starting in 2013. Schumer self-shot a Food Network series during the COVID-19 pandemic and has other documentaries and podcasts for sharing her life.

Lenny Bruce

A Mineola native from the early 20th century, Bruce’s satirical style of comedy got him essentially blacklisted from television due to the “sickness” of his material, and commonly had to go scripted when he had appearances in order to show up.

Billy Crystal

Crystal is from Long Beach and is a lovable face in movies like When Harry Met Sally and Analyze This. He is a Tony and Emmy nominee and has been featured on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but his growth does not erase his roots — he has worked with Senator Chuck Schumer to continue giving back to his hometown. It’s pretty “mahvelous” of him, a line that became notorious to him through SNL.

Rosie O’Donnell

Serious talk show moderator on The View by day and movie star by night, O’Donnell has done it all — she had her own daytime talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show. Most importantly, it all began in her hometown of Commack. She had many recurring roles on popular television like The Fosters and SMILF. She has also been an advocate for many social issues that are close to her heart, spreading love and kindness through her entertainment.

Kevin James

The Emmy-Award winner for The King of Queens, James grew up in Stony Brook and has joined Drescher in the Hotel Transylvania saga. He has done voice work and also starred in Paul Blart: Mall Cop which made audiences laugh from start to finish. James probably always has a job at Roosevelt Field Mall if he ever wants it. James started his career performing on Long Island before his rise which put him on numerous talk shows.

Kate McKinnon

A ten-year cast member of SNL, McKinnon has done character work and celebrity impressions. She has received ten Emmy nominations and won two. The star from Sea Cliff had numerous sketches as Hillary Clinton with Baldwin but also portrayed other political figures like Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Kellyanne Conway. McKinnon also had a sketch as Long Island’s own medium, Theresa Caputo.

Howard Stern

Jackson Heights is to thank for Stern’s upbringing. His own radio show, The Howard Stern Show, started in 1986 and continued up until 2005. He grew up in Roosevelt prior to his fame but now lives in the Hamptons. Afterward, he broadcast on Sirius XM Radio and two of his books were on the The New York Times Best Seller list.

Jim Breuer

Born in Valley Stream, the stand-up comedian starred in Half Baked and was an SNL! cast member. He has made appearances all across, even in Pizza Hut commercials, and hosted The Jim Breuer Show after departing from SNL!

Judd Apatow

His upbringing in Flushing allowed him to distinct brand of humor characterized by its witty dialogue and relatable characters. With hit films such as Knocked Up and Trainwreck, Apatow has established himself as a leading figure in modern comedy, consistently delivering stories that resonate with audiences worldwide.

Dave Atell

Atell was born in Queens but graduated from South Shore High School in Rockville Centre. He is famous for being the host of Comedy Central’s Insomniac with Dave Attell and is admired by many other comedians. Fans can watch some of his released specials along with his film features.

Fred Travalena

A mix between Long Island and the Bronx, he was a highly esteemed figure for his exceptional talent for celebrity impressions and engaging sketches. Known as the “master of impersonations,” Travalena captivated audiences with his uncanny ability to embody famous personalities.

Gary Valentine

Mineola was where Valentine grew up, but he has blossomed to headline comedy clubs and theaters. He had roles in The King of Queens, Kevin Can Wait, and numerous Happy Madison Productions. More commonly, he is a frequent guest for E! Network late-night talk shows.

Oh, and yes, he and Kevin James are actually brothers — so they didn’t have to act that much in Here Comes the Boom.

Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield was born in Deer Park in 1921, eventually moving to Kew Gardens in Queens with his mother and sister. His small town upbringing was the butt of some jokes, including when he said “I was born in Babylon, Long Island. Very small town. Very small place, one day I plugged in my electric razor and the trolley stopped.”

Fran Drescher

Fran Drescher was working in a bridal shop in Flushing, Queens, until her boyfriend kicked her out in one of those crushing scenes — well, that part isn’t true, but Drescher was born in Flushing, and attended Hillcrest High School. She was a classmate of Ray Romano in high school — a detail that was covered in a crossover episode between The Nanny and Everybody Loves Raymond.

Ray Romano

“Everybody Loves Raymond” followed the story of Ray Barone, a sportswriter for Newsday living in Lynbrook. The location is not far off from where Ray Romano was actually from, as he was born in Queens, growing up in Forest Hills. Romano regularly visits his home island. They do say Long Island was formed by glaciers during the ice age — maybe that helped Romano land the role of Manny the Mammoth in the “Ice Age” films.

Stuttering John

John Melendez, better known as “Stuttering John,” is from Massapequa. He attended Plainedge High School, where he was bullied for his stutter — little did the bullies know he’d get his revenge on the comedy stage. Like others, Melendez hasn’t forgotten his roots and comes back to Long Island to do comedy shows from time to time.

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy was born in Brooklyn — so depending on who you ask, he was born on Long Island — but eventually moved out to Roosevelt. Known to one generation as an SNL star and another as Donkey from “Shrek,” Murphy joked that living on Long Island was as wild as Manhattan, except that you “go home to a home with grass.”

Charlie Murphy

Charlie Murphy was born in Brooklyn — so was he from Long Island? We’ll say yes, because you technically can drive from Bensonhurst to Montauk without crossing a bridge, although why not just take the train? Charlie Murphy starred on Chappelle’s Show and other beloved comedy specials before his tragic passing in 2017.

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Actor Alec Baldwin gestures before walking on the red carpet during the commemoration of the Elton John AIDS Foundation 25th year fall gala at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City, in New York, U.S. November 7, 2017. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton