A comedian or humorist is an actor or actress who tries to entertain the audience by making them laugh. This could be by means of jokes, funny situations or interpreting, as in the slapstick. A comedian who is alone and deals with an audience directly is called a live comedian. A comedian can be distinguished from a clown in that the clowns most of the time use the slapstick, costumes and makeup, participating in the clown, while the humorists most of the time focus on a more verbal style of humor, with monologues or jokes.A popular saying, quoted several times but generally attributed to Ed Wynn, reads, “A comedian “says” funny things and a comedian “does” funny things”; this makes a distinction between how much comedy can be attributed to verbal content and how much to acting and person.since the late 1920s, a new wave of comedy, called alternative comedy, has grown in popularity with a less conventional and more experimental style. Examples include Andy Kaufman, Franco Escamilla, Alexei Sayle, and Malcolm Hardee. Alternative comedy is now possibly the mainstream.
As for content, comedians like Tommy Tiernan use their background to mock them, while others like Bill Maher and George Carlin have strong political and cultural nuances.
Many comedians get a follow up cult by visiting famous comedy centres such as the Just for Laughs festival in Montreal, the Edinburgh Fringe, and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in Australia. Often a comedian’s career advances considerably when they win a notable comedy award, such as the now defunct Perrier Award. Comedians typically survive by continuous tourism and incursion into other areas of entertainment, such as film and television, when they have become much better known.