15 of the Best Self-Deprecating Jokes from Top Comedians

‘I’ve never been in an orgy, but I feel like it’d be like what happens when I try to play pickup basketball: No one passes me the ball, and everyone asks me to keep my shirt on’
15 of the Best Self-Deprecating Jokes from Top Comedians

Maybe more than any other type of comedy, self-deprecating humor is most emblematic of the human condition. We’re all flawed in ways that if we don’t laugh about, we’ll cry. And so, joking about it gets it at least temporarily (fleetingly?) out of our system. It’s also a significant piece of body armor for the joke-peddlers themselves. After all, there’s absolutely no criticism that you can throw at a comic who is mocking themself that’s gonna be any worse than what they’ve already turned into material. They truly are their own worst heckler.

With that in mind, here are some of our favorite comedians being way too hard on themselves… 

Aparna Nancherla

“I suffer from depression. I’ve had it my whole life, and a lot of times, I’ll feel sad for no reason. But then I’ll remember some of the reasons. Like, ‘This actually makes a lot of sense. This adds up.’ There are certain types of weather that are better for depressives. Personally, I love it when it rains. It reminds me of why I got into the whole sad game. It keeps me grounded. Whenever it’s pouring outside, as a sad person, you can turn to any random optimist on the street and just be like, ‘Hey, you’re in my world now.’”

Patton Oswalt

“My fitness goals? One, I’d like to stop looking like I’m wearing a bulletproof vest all the time. And then, I’d like to not be in a Rascal scooter at my daughter’s high school graduation. I don’t want to be cut. I don’t want to be muscular. I don’t want to be trim. I want to be standing on my original kneecaps — no metal, no plastic, original patella. Not sitting in my little scooter that they parked under the tree, in the shade, because pop-pop gets hot. I’m waving the towel I brought from the hotel, ‘Daddy’s proud, sweetie!’”

Jim Gaffigan

“This shirt is actually a 2XL. That’s right, I did it! Mission accomplished! There should be a moving-up ceremony for when you hit 2XL: ‘It is with great pride, and slight disgust, that we present this garment roughly the size of a circus tent to this slob who actually struggles to put on his own socks. You may now burp for no reason at all.’”

Kyle Kinane

“Anyone else get to that point where you realize your dreams aren’t gonna come true? You’ve got plans when you’re a youngster; you’ve got ideas, premonitions. But then you wind up down the road and find out, ‘Oh shit! Just because I’ve been waking up naked outside once a month or so, doesn’t mean that the night before I was a werewolf!’ You try to drum up support from your friends, ‘Well, it makes sense, what with all those Coors Lights I’ve been drinking! Maybe those were the silver bullets that were used to kill the beast, rendering me in human form come daybreak!'”

Mike Birbiglia

“I’m not the kind of guy who has a huge weight problem, but I am the kind of guy who could really put the brakes on an orgy. Everyone would be like, ‘Was he invited? Why is he eating a cake?’ I’ve never been in an orgy, but I feel like it’d be like what happens when I try to play pickup basketball: No one passes me the ball, and everyone asks me to keep my shirt on.”

Dana Gould

“A somewhat odd thing happened to me a couple of months ago — I lost my wedding ring. I was in one of those, um, what do you call it? Oh, a divorce! And now I have to find somebody new, which is easier said than done, because I was married for so long I have nothing. I have no game. I don’t know where the stadium is anymore. Because I’m so trained as a husband, that’s all I know. I’m just gonna be staggering up to women in bars, ‘Excuse me, I saw you sitting there all by yourself, and I thought you might have a long list of chores and errands you wanted me to do. Maybe tomorrow, I’ll come by your place and drive your mom to Target. And when I get back ,you can be angry at me because I didn’t realize something you thought.’”

Marc Maron

“I went out and bought a book on anger management. And now I have that book, and I don’t know if I’ll get to the book. But I’m certainly excited about the day where I can’t find the book, and I get to say, ‘Where the hell is my anger management book?!?!’”

John Mulaney

“I was hoping by now that I’d look older but it didn’t happen. I don’t look older; I just look worse. When I’m walking down the street, no one’s ever like, ‘Hey! Look at that man.’ They’re just like, ‘Whoa! That tall child looks terrible. Get some rest, tall child. You can’t keep burning the candle at both ends.’ Have you ever seen America’s Most Wanted when they age a photo of someone? Just take my kindergarten photo, yellow the teeth, put bags under the eyes and be like, ‘This is what he would look like now.’”

Jim Norton

“I came out of a horrible depression. I know a lot of people go through it. It’s not uncommon — that type of depression where you gotta give yourself a pep talk every morning. The type where you wake up every morning, and you gotta yell, ‘Belt around the waist, not around the neck.’ Or the train pulls into the station, and you gotta gently back up against the wall: ‘Don’t do it, don’t do it. You gotta wipe your hard drive first.’”

Neal Brennan

“Most interactions I have feel like when you go to throw something away and it’s in one of those garbage cans that’s got a garbage hole, a recycling hole and a compost hole. You do your best, but afterward you’re like, ‘I don’t think I did that right.’ That’s how I feel most of the time: Going through life feeling like I fucked up, and I’m going to get in trouble. I worry that my final thought on Earth, on my deathbed, is going to be, ‘Is that nurse mad at me?’”

Mark Normand

“My brain is evil. It attacks me. It’s like a bully. I’ll be at a party, hanging out, and everybody’s having a good time, talking. My brain’s like, ‘Hey, you weirdo, you’re being too quiet. Everybody’s wondering why you’re such a quiet weirdo. Come on. Get in there, say something, you lunatic. Come on, you freak. Jump in, you psycho. Come on, get in there.’ Then you finally say something, and your brain goes, “Whoo… that’s what you picked?’”

Emo Phillips

“I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, ‘I’m going to mop the floor with your face.’ I said, ‘You’ll be sorry.’ He said, ‘Oh, yeah? Why?’ I said, ‘Well, you won’t be able to get into the corners very well.’”

Dylan Moran

“I’m quite a compulsive person, but I’m also very indecisive. I don’t know what I want, but I know that I want it now.”

Garry Shandling

“After making love, I said to my girl, ‘Was it good for you, too?’ And she said, ‘I don’t think this was good for anybody.’”

Bo Burnham

Being overly self-critical is always best set to music:

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