In honor of Betty White’s SNL appearance, we bring you the best comedians over eighty.
8. Elaine Stritch, 84
7. Ernest Borgnine, 93
For a guy who was born during the first World War, Borgnine is impressively active – he’s been in at least four films already this year. In recent memory, he was the Mermaid Man on Spongebob Squarepants and acted in From Here to Eternity, The Dirty Dozen, McHale’s Navy, and BASEketball. If you somehow missed all of those, he was also in “Boy Scoutz ‘n the Hood,” perhaps the funniest Simpsons episode of all time. For that alone, we’d probably give him a spot on the list.
6. Carl Reiner, 88
Carl Reiner made your parents laugh in the ‘60s as a writer and actor for The Dick Van Dyke Show. About forty years later, you got a kick out of him as Saul in the Ocean’s trilogy. Even more recently, he was Marty Pepper on Two and a Half Men. Still not impressed? He also has the distinction of being the only man to appear on all five incarnations of The Tonight Show.
5. Adam West, 81
To many, he’s simply Mayor Adam West from Family Guy, but dig further back and you’ll realize he’s been funny since the mid-’60s, when he appeared in Robinson Crusoe on Mars and The Outlaws Is Coming, the Three Stooges’ final film. And, of course, in 1966, he played Batman, perhaps as well as he’s ever been played, and brought the world some epic Bat-gadgets. (Shark repellant, anyone?)
4. Ellen Albertini Dow, 91
Ellen is the comedy matriarch of wedding movies; she was the loving, meatball-making, rapping granny in The Wedding Singer and then the senile and homophobic granny in the Wedding Crashers. Up next for our favorite grandma? Not Another Not Another Movie. Oh, and did we mention she’s ninety-one?
3. Don Rickles, 83
Insult comics typically shine brightly for a few years, and then are replaced by a more shocking, younger group. Don Rickles has made fun of people for fifty years, only stopping to play Mr. Potato Head in the Toy Story films. To him, we’re all hockey pucks.
2. Betty White, 88
Although in one sense, she never went away, Betty White has recently seen a huge resrugence in popularity in recent months. A facebook group with more than half a million members, those hilarious Super Bowl commercials, and a string of talk show appearances all reminded us all why we love an old woman with a dirty mouth. This Saturday, it all comes to a head as she takes the stage to host SNL. Basically, our love for Betty White is the whole reason for this list. Oh, and she was a Golden Girl. Need we say more?
1. Mel Brooks, 83
Blazing Saddles. The Producers. Young Frankenstein. Even if Brooks had stopped making movies after those three, he’d still be one of the greatest comedy writers of all time. But he didn’t – he kept going with Spaceballs, High Anxiety, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights. More recently, he showed up on Curb Your Enthusiasm – and on Hollywood Boulevard. Just last week, Mel Brooks was finally given a well deserved star on the street, forever cementing him among the ranks of Hollywood royalty.