Stand up comedians have a tough job. They have to go onto the stage and make the audience laugh. Sure, the big names in the arenas have it easier because people are there to laugh but all someone has to do is look at the smaller comedy clubs to see what happens when one of them falls on their face. Hecklers and quiet rooms can destroy the career of these funny men. Here are some comedians who withstood the tests and remain some of the best.

Richard Pryor   Richard Pryor is the man who made it possible for Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappell to have careers as a stand up comedians. The man went on to make some pretty lame movies but, when he was on stage, there was no one better. He is R-rated and raunchy but always funny and incredible entertaining. Pryor was also an example of a man being funny on stage while his entire life imploded around him off the stage. By the time of his death, no one doubted that Richard Pryor was one of the best stand up comedians who ever lived.

George Carlin   Some stand up comedians are controversial because of their language or risqué jokes. George Carlin was controversial because he talked about what he believed, even if it went in the face of his audience. His anti-religion jokes made him a risky proposition in the Midwest but he never shied away from hotbed topics. On the flip side, he also remains known for the words you can’t say on TV, which remains funny years later when some of those words have made their way onto network TV. Interesting trivia is that Carlin was the first ever guest on “Saturday Night Live.”

Eddie Murphy   Eddie Murphy is known mostly for his kid-centric movies with talking animals and men in fat suits. However, before he tamed his career to make it more family friendly, he was one of the rawest comedians since Richard Pryor. His two comedy specials you can find on DVD, “Delirious” and “Raw,” features one of the funniest stand up comedians you will see. Ignore “Norbit” and “The Haunted Mansion” and look for the former funny man’s early offerings.

Demetri Martin  In order to not just throw out the names of legends in the world of stand up comedians, here is a comedian who is a young and up-and-coming talent on the stand up scene. Demetri Martin attracted a lot of attention with his Comedy Central act, “Demetri Martin. Person.” He slightly stumbled slightly with his lackluster movie “Taking Woodstock,” but his television series “Important Things with Demetri Martin” proved he is a comic to take seriously.

Daniel Tosh   The star of the Comedy Central sketch show “Tosh.0” is also one of the funniest stand up comedians working today. His recent stand up DVD, “Happy Thoughts,” also proves that he is one of the smartest young stand up acts working today. Tosh takes normal everyday people, normally seen through the eyes of YouTube, and creates his humor from these real situations. He is not just what you see on the show though, as he reminisces about everything with no topic off limits.