Some of Hollywood's most hilarious comedy came to be in the '90s. From laugh-out-stand-up specials to hysterical movies and TV shows, the '90s had it all. In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the movie "The Mask" on July 29, 2019, Wonderwall.com is taking a look back at the very best comedians of '90s, starting with the film's star, Jim Carrey. His career skyrocketed during the 1990s beginning with his casting on "In Living Color." Jim left the sketch-comedy show in '94 after four years and went on to star in several massively popular comedy films including "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," "The Mask," "Dumb and Dumber," "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls," "The Cable Guy," "Liar Liar," "The Truman Show" and "Man on the Moon." All together, Jim's '90s films grossed a whopping $1.5 billion! Keep reading for more…
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Martin Lawrence was one of the It guys of the '90s. The funnyman started off the decade with small roles in comedy films like "House Party," "Talkin' Dirty After Dark" and "Boomerang." He went on to host "Def Comedy Jam" on HBO from 1992 to 1997 and star on his own hit series, "Martin," during the same time. Martin closed out the decade with several blockbuster films including "Bad Boys," "Nothing to Lose," "Life," "Blue Streak" and "Big Momma's House," which grossed $174 million and spawned three sequels.
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She might be known as a talk show host now, but back in the '90s, Ellen DeGeneres was one of Hollywood's most celebrated stand-up comedians. She performed across the country before landing supporting roles in comedy films like 1993's "Coneheads." Her big break came in '94 when she began starring on her own sitcom, "Ellen." The ABC series was a massive success and made Ellen a true star. Sadly, the show was canceled shortly after Ellen publicly came out as a lesbian, but she went on to have even bigger success in the 2000s with the release of her talk show and "Finding Nemo," in which she voiced a blue tang named Dory.
Chris Rock was arguably the biggest comedian of the '90s (don't @ us). The comic starred on "Saturday Night Live" and "In Living Color" before blowing up with the release of his stand-up special "Bring the Pain." The 1996 special earned Chris two Emmy Awards and made him a massive international star. Next up, he appeared in his second, equally successful HBO stand-up special, "Bigger & Blacker," and his own talk show, "The Chris Rock Show." Chris also achieved acting success in the '90s with the release of "Dogma," "Beverly Hills Ninja" and "Lethal Weapon 4."
Chris Rock might have been the biggest comedian of the '90s, but Adam Sandler had the comedic actor crown on lock. Adam appeared on "Saturday Night Live" in the early '90s before landing small roles in films like "Coneheads" and "Airheads." He hit it big in 1995 when he starred in "Billy Madison," which opened at No. 1. He went on to headline some of the biggest blockbuster hits of the '90s including "Happy Gilmore," "The Waterboy," "The Wedding Singer" and "Big Daddy."
What would the '90s be without Sinbad? The comedian was fixture during the decade with popular movies, shows and comedy specials. Sinbad started things off with two HBO comedy specials, 1990's "Sinbad: Brain Damaged" and 1993's "Sinbad – Afros and Bellbottoms." He went on to star on his own short-lived sitcom, "The Sinbad Show," before appearing in several successful comedy films such as "Necessary Roughness," "Houseguest," "First Kid," "Jingle All the Way" and "Good Burger." Sinbad also continued to appear in HBO stand-up specials throughout the '90s including "Sinbad – Son of a Preacher Man" and "Sinbad – Nothin' but the Funk."
Mo'Nique was one of the major stand-up comedy queens of the '90s. She was regular performer on "Showtime at the Apollo," which she later hosted, and "Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam." In 1998, she began starring on the hit UPN sitcom "Moesha" and soon landed her own spin-off series, "The Parkers," which debuted in 1999. The show ran for 110 episodes over five seasons.
Jon Stewart built the foundation for his amazing career in the '90s. He began the decade by performing stand-up and hosting a short-lived sketch comedy series, "You Wrote It, You Watch It," on MTV. In 1993, he began hosting "The Jon Stewart Show" on MTV and became an overnight sensation. The talk show was an instant hit and the second-highest rated MTV show behind "Beavis and Butt-head." That propelled Jon into his next gig — "The Daily Show." He began hosting the news satire program in 1999 and turned it into the critically acclaimed, award-winning show it is today.
Mike Myers was comedy royalty in the '90s. The Canadian star got his start on "Saturday Night Live," making us laugh from 1989 to 1995. He expanded his resume with 1992's "Wayne's World" and its 1993 sequel, which earned a combined $231 million. Mike's biggest success of the decade, however, came in 1997 when he wrote, produced and starred in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." The comedy film was a huge hit and its 1999 sequel, "Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me," was an even bigger success, taking in an outstanding $312 million at the box office. Groovy, baby!
Dana Carvey is one of the all-time greats. He became well-known for his George H.W. Bush impersonations, Hans and Franz sketches and the character Garth (alongside Mike Meyers' Wayne) on "Saturday Night Live" and starred in the '90s blockbusters "Wayne's World" and "Wayne's World 2" also alongside Mike. In 1994, he filmed his first HBO stand-up special, "Critic's Choice," and later starred in his own variety series, "The Dana Carvey Show."
Kathy Griffin wouldn't be the star she is today without the work she put in in the '90s. The comedy queen performed stand-up in clubs across Los Angeles and appeared in guest roles on shows like "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" and "Ellen." In 1996, she became a household name when she was cast on the hit NBC sitcom "Suddenly Susan." Two years later, she starred in her first one-hour special, HBO's "Kathy Griffin: A Hot Cup of Talk."
Jerry Seinfeld's comedy was a boon for pop culture in the '90s. After performing stand-up throughout the '80s, Jerry debuted his own TV show, "Seinfeld," in 1989. It went on to become the most popular and successful sitcom on TV in the '90s, with 76 million people tuning for the finale in 1998. "Seinfeld" also won 10 Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes, solidifying Jerry as one of the best comedians of all time.
Bernie Mac brought the laughs in the 1990s. The Chicago native, who passed away in 2008, opened for artists like Dionne Warwick, Redd Foxx and Natalie Cole in the early '90s and performed stand-up on shows like "Def Comedy Jam." He then started bringing his special brand of funny to films, appearing in "House Party 3," "Players Club" and "Friday." Bernie's legacy was cemented toward the end of the decade when he began developing his insanely popular sitcom, "The Bernie Mac Show."
Ray Romano became an overnight sensation in the '90s. The New Yorker performed stand-up on Comedy Central, "Star Search" and "Late Show with David Letterman" before hitting it big with the release of his own sitcom, "Everybody Loves Raymond," in 1996. Ray earned six Emmy nominations (and one win) and two Golden Globe nominations for his work on the series, which ran for nine seasons. He also dabbled in political comedy in 1998 when he delivered the roast monologue at the White House Correspondents' Association dinner.
Drew Carey's career flourished in the '90s. The former U.S. Marine performed stand-up and appeared in two HBO and Showtime comedy specials before landing his breakout gig — "The Drew Carey Show." The ABC sitcom premiered in 1995 to rave reviews. By the time it ended in 2004, Drew was earning $750,000 per episode. He also began hosting the hit improv comedy show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" in '90s. That ABC show ran for 220 episodes.
Cedric The Entertainer entertained us throughout the '90s. The Missouri native first came to fame hosting BET's "ComicView" from 1993 to 1994 and "Def Comedy Jam" in 1995. One of the "Original Kings of Comedy," Cedric went to star in "The Steve Harvey Show" and several blockbuster comedy films such as "Big Momma's House."
Steve Harvey had audiences doubling over with laughter in the 1990s. The 62-year-old talk show host performed standup across the county before landing a long-time hosting gig on "It's Showtime at the Apollo" in 1993. He went on to star in his own WB show, "The Steve Harvey Show," with fellow comic Cedric the Entertainer, and perform on the best-selling Kings of Comedy tour in the late '90s.
Norm Macdonald was one of the most talented "Saturday Night Live" cast members of the '90s. He joined the cast in 1993 and became famous for his impressions of Larry King, Burt Reynolds, David Letterman, Quentin Tarantino and more, as well as his "Weekend Update" segment. After leaving "SNL," Norm starred in the cult classic "Dirty Work" and the hit movie "Dr. Dolittle" in 1998.