What makes a great comedian? Well for starters stage presence is a big one that sometimes people dismiss or doesnt even consider. Take Richard Pryor for instance,he was a great comedian because you never even had to hear the joke to get it. His presence on stage was magic as he told jokes not just with his words but with his whole body. One of the greatest "bits" ever was his take on catching himself on fire smoking crack. Anyone can watch that with bit without hearing the story and know its good!
What makes a great comedian? Intelligence. A comedian that can begin a joke and then at the punch line,take it in a totally different direction then you were expecting.One comedian that I think is great at this is Louie C.K. He can begin a story and at the end your in a totlly different place and its never the obvious place you were expecting. Thats why great stand up comedians are difficult to find. Anyone can get on stage and do "obvious" boring jokes that you know the punch line before its ever delivered. A true master of this becomesa lenged in the likes of George Carlin and Andy Kaufman.
What makes a great comedian? Style of humor. Lets face it not everyone finds the same things funny. I may find a joke about retardation hilarius when others are offended by it. Thats why stand up is so great,you can go watch Jim Norton and either love him or be terrified of him just as I could go see Jeff Dunham and his puppets and fall asleep its so boring to me. There is a stand up with the kind of humor that no matter what you find funny they are out there doing it night after night.
What makes a great comedian? I guess after doing this post I realized that the fans is what makes a great comedian. Whatever your humor, its out there being performed by someone because they love it even more than you. Comedians out there night after night doing their shows putting the time and work to make their craft their own is something to be admired. I love stand up and always will,but I realize that I dont have the talent or the amazing strength to endure all the shit they have to go thru so they "might" make it some day. So whats the point of all this? Fuck if I know.