Jerry Seinfeld is easily best known for his self-titled sitcom, Seinfeld, but his stand-up act is an equally clever (though less cynical) blend of sly observations and neurotic self-deprecation with an absurdist bent (which makes sense, as his sitcom was developed out of his stand-up). Seinfeld is also one of the biggest comics to always work clean, a choice that is merely a fact about his stand-up, not the defining characteristic. He's a rare comedian who's able to appeal to everyone -- even those comedy fans that may typically stay away from "clean" comedians they may deem "too safe." Seinfeld is proof that funny is funny, with or without vulgarity.
Comedian and talk show host Ellen Degeneres has a lot in common with Jerry Seinfeld: her routines are largely observational, occasionally abusrdist and often based on her own neuroses. Plus, like Seinfeld, Degeneres works clean. Like most of the comics on this list, Degeneres' comedy isn't for everyone; some audiences want more "edge" in their stand-up. But there's little denying that Degeneres is an incredibly funny, quick-witted comedian and brings her own comic sensibilities to every project she takes on, rather than adapting as the job demands. When comedians work clean, it can sometimes be easier to avoid compromising themselves. Degeneres is proof of that.
Sure, he gave up on being funny years ago to fill his days as a professional lecturer and grump, but from his days as a stand-up in the 1960s through his run on The Cosby Show, Bill Cosby was one of the funniest clean comedians of all time. His classic stand-up albums, from Bill Cosby is a Very Funny Fellow...Right! through his concert film, Bill Cosby: Himself, are terrific examples of how to be hilariously funny without ever being vulgar or dirty. His routines are even great for kids (he was the first comic I grew up listening to), making him a good gateway comedian for young people. Cosby is one of the all-time greats.
Bill Engvall, a founding member of the original Blue Collar comedians, is one of the most "family-friendly" of the Blue Collar comics; he never works blue and a good deal of his comedy is based on his own life as a family man. With eight stand-up albums and over two decades in stand-up, Engvall has proven himself to be incredibly hard-working and devoted to comedy. His material may play it safe a lot of the time, but that can sometimes be the trade-off when you're working for all age groups and audiences. Plus, it's hard to disagree that he seems like a heck of a nice guy and deserving of his success.