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HBO's Upcoming Talking Funny Special is No Joke

This is a given: If you put comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Louis C.K., and Ricky Gervais in a room together, tears of laughter will at some point stream from everyone's eyes. HBO did just that for its upcoming comedy special—which is appropriately titled Talking Funny—and the quartet sat down together to discuss the art of the joke, their individual paths to greatness, and dirty words. But what you might not expect from this Mount Rushmore of comedy (with apologies to Dave Chappelle, who would otherwise belong in the mix but took himself out of the running by choosing happiness over fame) is the incredibly insightful and academic discussion that makes Talking Funny one of the most hilarious learning experiences you'll ever take part in.

Obviously these Greats of Guffaw are intelligent dudes; they wouldn't be where they are without some seriously large brains. But to listen to them talk about the craft and the art of the joke is like being a fly on the wall during a Secret Society of Magicians meeting. The hour-long special is worth it just to listen to them break down a gay parody of Otis Redding's "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" that Louis C.K. heard in a smoky comedy club years ago.

There are also moments of eye-opening candidness. Seinfeld discusses his early self-doubt in the comedy scene; Chris Rock talks about the N-word (with Louis C.K. egging him on at every turn); and Louis C.K. recalls the moment when he realized he was using the F-word too much. Whatever machismo or look-at-me stage presence these guys are required to put on during their official performances is completely dismantled.

The hardest part about watching Talking Funny will be deciding which of these comedy masterminds you think is the funniest. For the record, I think it's a tie between Louis C.K. and Ricky Gervais.

Who do YOU think is the funniest of the four?


Talking Funny airs this Friday, April 22 at 9pm on HBO.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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They've all done funny stuff, but nobody makes me consistently laugh out loud like Ricky Gervais. Whether it's a radio show, pod-cast, interview, hosting gig, TV show, or standup. He's just flat out funny. His style, his creativity, his originality, his presentation, his content! All of it. I loved hearing ALL of them talk tho. Loved the different opinions. Thot CK was very strong in this interview and Ricky deferred too much to the other's standup "reputations." His stuff is as funny if not more creative...already! He may not have played clubs as long but he broke on to the scene already "ready" and "seasoned." Seinfield was right when he said "it was in Ricky's genes."
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All 4 of these guys are great but from a standup comic standpoint Gervais is the weakest.
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Probably Ricky. I don't like Chris Rock cause all he does in his stand-up is list the differences between black and white people and adds a punchline. My 10 year old nephew can do that. Louis and Seinfeld are pretty good.
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Also starring, Ricky Gervais' Laughter.
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Wow! My four favorite comedians at once!!
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Sorry, if you don't like Louis that' fine, but flavour of the month? Give me a break. The man has been popular for years and has only gotten better as he gets older. Jeff Foxworthy and Dane Cook are guys who lucked into their audiences (rednecks and 14-year old girls respectively) and have never, ever grown as performers. Louis pushes himself, he does things different from others (and again, whether you like the show or not, watch the first season of Louie and tell me it's like anything else on television) and he creates a brand new hour of comedy, whole cloth, every year, completely throwing away his old act.

Like I said, whether you enjoy him or not is fine, but don't make yourself look stupid by calling him a flavour of the month.
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ricky, obiously
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gervais is funny
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I actually don't like Louis CK that much myself, but I find it odd to call him "flavor of the month". I'm not necessarily taking the "month" part of it literally, but he's been popular for a few years now (for some, since 2005) -- maybe not as long as Seinfeld, Rock, or Gervais, but it's still a legitimate length of popularity. But other than that, my list is basically the same as safibwana's. Rock, Gervais, Seinfeld, then CK. Considering Seinfeld's show (Seinfeld) is probably my favorite show of all time, it's a little weird to say I don't find him that funny, but as much as I loved his show, I was never a fan of his stand-up.
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If my analogy was too far removed, he's Jeff Foxworthy circa 2003 or Dane Cook 2006, and if you all pipe in with how you never liked them and they were never as cool, you'll just be making my point.
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Oh, no, I'm familiar with Louis C.K. I've seen his standup, which is tolerable, and the first few episodes of his series, which is not. He's just not remarkable, that's all. Some of you will fanatically defend him, but in a few months you'll wonder why, and in a few years you'll deny you ever did. He's the Backstreet Boys of comedy of this year. Okay, I'll admit it, them I'm not actually all that familiar with, but the analogy still holds. All the more so, in fact, just a footnote in pop culture history.
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Gervais and Louis are awesome
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Ricky for me... And Louis C.K. close second. Though we are talking about four seriously funny people here.
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@safibwana Just admit that your not familiar with Louis CK and that's fine but to call him the flavor of the month......???? Just shows you don't know him well.

They are great at what they do but all have a different style so it's an interesting group.
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Gervais definitely. Second Chris Rock. Never really found Seinfeld or CK funny before.
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I'm gonna go with Chris Rock then Ricky Gervais. I'm not gonna say I've never laughed at Seinfeld or Louis C.K., but I can think of at least 15 people who are funnier and deserve to be there more. I mean, honestly, Seinfeld is the guy who is actually famous for having one joke setup. Take the things a 4 year old says during a day, and replace "Daddy, why..." with "Did you ever notice..." and that's Seinfeld's act. C.K. is just the flavor of the month. Two years from now he'll have disappeared into obscurity.
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Gervais. But i also love Louis CK.
I dont care much for Seinfed or Chris Rock.
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Gervais
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Wow. I had a completely different reaction to this special. On an acadmeic level, I found the conversation interesting. However, I don't think I laughed once. Watching people talk about comedy -- even when four of the world's best comics are doing the talking -- is just not that funny.
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I think Seinfeld used to be the funniest, but lately Gervais has been on a tear.
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Wow, this is going to be awesome.
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Cannot wait to watch this.
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