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Top 10 Classic Comedy Duos

VO: Rebecca Brayton
These are the yin and yangs of comedy, partners that made audiences laugh, no matter what type of stage they ended up performing on. From television to film and stand-up, these were the masters. In order to keep this list focused on the pioneers, it only includes partners that regularly worked together, and performed before the 1980s. Join as we count down the Top 10 Classic Comedy Duos.

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Top 10 Classic Comedy Duos

These collaborations remain the stuff of legend. Welcome to and today we’ll be counting down the Top 10 Classic Comedy Duos.

In order to keep this list focused on the pioneers, it only includes partners that regularly worked together, and performed before the 1980s.

#10- Werner Groebli and Hansruedi Mauch, A.K.A. Frick and Frack

Kicking off our list are these two Swiss comedy ice skaters who came to the United States in the 1930s and regularly performed together for nearly 50 years! They starred in film and countless shows, including a program called “Ice Follies”. Their trademarks include the wearing of Alpine Lederhosen and performing eccentric tricks. These guys were so popular; their adopted stage names become English slang that’s still used today!

#9- Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, A.K.A. Amos and Andy

Arguably the most controversial duo on this list, these Caucasian comedians performed in blackface makeup, back when this sort of impersonation was considered a widely acceptable form of comedy. Despite the obvious concerns, most of their antics involved situational comedy filled with silliness rather than laughs drawn directly from racial stereotype. In fact, their alter egos were regularly portrayed as smarter than their white counterparts.

#8- Tim Conway and Harvey Corman

These two comedy giants thrilled countless TV viewers and most famously performing the comedy sketches for “The Carol Burnett Show” throughout the 1970s. These guys were able to put their audiences in stiches with little more than a look. Their countless wild antics including their Dentist, Fireman and Cannonball sketches. Their trademark was Harvey letting lose on Tim’s bumbling idiot at the end of every segment!

#7- Thomas and Richard Smothers, A.K.A. The Smothers Brothers

A musical pairing of brothers, older brother Thomas acted like a fool while his brother Richard played the straight man. Throughout the 1960s, they appeared on television variety shows, gave countless stage performances and released comedic albums together. Their program “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” Hour was extremely controversial, going from a hip comedy-variety show to an edgy satire that was ahead of its time.

#6- George Burns and Gracie Allen

This duo successfully transitioned from stage to film and television over the course of three decades. At their peak they starred on the 1950s comedy series “The Burns and Allen Show”, playing a couple that broke the fourth to speak with the audience. Their acts consisted of Gracie Allen providing laughs through infectious giddiness and strange views of the world, which played off of Burns’ straight up persona.

#5- Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong

They didn’t just talk about pot, they were pot! This wildly successful and era defining pairing emerged in the 1970s, and became well-known for their stand-up routines, comedy albums and low-budget films based on the decade’s hippie and drug culture. Together, they used satire and lots of smoke to mesmerize and entertain their fans. Best buds with palpable chemistry, you simply can’t have Cheech without Chong, or vice versa.

#4- Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis

One of the most popular comedy teams of the 1950s, this comedic run lasted a decade, and what a decade it was! During their time together Martin played the charming crooner while Lewis provided the high pitched and nasal ripping antics that left audiences in tears. Two sides of the same coin, these guys put their own spin on the long established duo routine like none before them.

#3- Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

This duo was married on and off the screen. First working on stage and in radio, they took their signature elements and used them to dominate Television in their hit 1950s sitcom “I Love Lucy.” Together, they pioneered sitcom standards, including the use of a live audience. While their antics knew few limits, including Lucy’s wailing sound, they welcomed good taste by avoiding such trappings as ethnic and handicap-based jokes.

#2- Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy

This double act is one of the greatest of the early classical Hollywood era. This pairing featured an Englishman named Laurel as the clumsy man-child opposite Hardy, his pompous American counterpart. A silent film act, they effortlessly adapted to the advent of sound, and made over a hundred films together over their 24 year run, becoming one of the most imitated comedy team of all time.

#1- Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

Who’s on first? Simple! It’s the duo that worked the stage, radio, film and television to become the most popular and highest paid comedy acts of the 1940s and 50s. Best known for their “Who’s on First” baseball routine, it is considered one of the greatest skits ever and defined their signature use of rapid word play and confusion. These guys are more than just a tough act to follow!

Agree with our picks? Which classic comedy duo is your favorite? For more great Top 10 lists, be sure to subscribe to

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