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Top 5 Comedic YAWPS

It is one thing to be funny. It's another thing to yell funny.

Yawp. A harsh or hoarse cry or yelp. North American usage: foolish or noisy talk. Sometimes found in blog form.

I love a comedic shout. It's really tough to pull off a yell—a sound more connected with fear and anger—in a funny way. It's the emotional equivalent of prat-falling.

And just like with prat-falling, some of the greatest artists of the comedic yawp indulged in DIY pain-killing. I'm talking cocaine. Allegedly.

Here are my Top 5 Comedic Yawp Artists.

Number 5. Max Greenfield. I am a huge fan of New Girl. I prefer it to Friends. I said it. I think the relationships are deeper, the situations—while ridiculous—are more grounded in reality (including the Prince episode), and the emotional glue that holds them all together is Schmidt. Max Greenfield does a lot of comedic yawping as Schmidt. Schmidt is sort of like a yawp in human form. There are so many examples. I could post these ALL DAY. #alldayson

Number 4. Sofía Vergara. I think Modern Family was so consistently good and was on for so long that it went largely overlooked. We took it for granted, people. I'm re-watching the entire series now (up to Season 7 of 11) and it is solidly, consistently hilarious. And, of course, Sofía Vergara's Gloria has a propensity to yawp. Sofía probably doesn't get due credit for being as funny as she is because of the whole being gorgeous thing, but she's a treasure.

Number 3. Steve Carrell. He had a lot of opportunities to hone his craft on The Office. He was already an accomplished yawper by the time he brought us Brick Tamland. Here is one of his greatest moments. You might think—and it's valid—that he needs to be further up this list, but it's a competitive class. You'll see.

Number 2. Gene Wilder. He would take this position sole for his Oscar-worthy yawping in The Producers. What he started on fictional Broadway he perfected in fictional Transylvania in Young Frankenstein. And, of course, who could forget his psychedelic yawping in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? This remains my favorite Wilder yawping scene from Young Frankenstein. Really, I should just link to the whole movie, but I don't want to get sued by Mel Brooks.

Number 1. Sam Kinison. Who else could it be?

Honorable Mentions

I said it was a competitive class. Here are your runners up!

Carol Burnett. Yawper. Goddess. I had to give the edge to Sam, but this was by the slimmest of margins. Here is her trademark Tarzan yell. She also yawped a lot as part of "Mama's Family" sketches. Look them up. Every single one of them should be in the Smithsonian.

Richard Pryor. Few people could do anything as funny as Richard Pryor doing...well, anything. Including yelling. So many great examples, all of which have the N-word in them. Go listen to his voice via YouTube.

H. Jon Benjamin. Whether as Sterling Archer or Bob Belcher (or a host of others), our GenX Mel Blanc is a first-rate yawper.

Scott Grimes. You might know him from his work on The Orville and Justified. He's also a prolific voice actor for animation. As Steve Smith in American Dad, he has perfected the teenaged, angsty, desperate—and desperately funny—yawp. Clips are hard to come by, sadly.


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