These comedians were mainstays on The Ed Sullivan Show

You might be surprised at who had the most appearances ever on The Ed Sullivan Show.

Image: The Everett Collection

Of course we remember The Ed Sullivan Show for the most famous appearances across a remarkable 23 year run, including The Beatles, Elvis Presley and so many more. 

You never knew what type of performance would take place during those primetime hours every Sunday night. Whether it be opera, rock 'n' roll, or a talent-based show, there was always room for comedy. And viewers loved it. 

Countless comedians appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, whether it was their breakthrough career moment or a return to the stage. Several comedians made multiple appearances, and it wasn't a surprise when they came back for another episode.

It was usually a testament to how their careers were going and, generally speaking, the more times they appeared on the show, the better off they were doing. 

Here are comedians who made the most visits to the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City, from the show's inception in 1948, to its final episode in 1971. 

1. Rodney Dangerfield - 17 appearances


Making 17 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Rodney Dangerfield was best known for his comedic routines of self-deprecation and one of his most famous catchprases, "I don't get no respect." He made his first of 17 appearances on March 5, 1967. His career gained some serious traction following the appearance, and was also seen on The Tonight Show, before turning to film with roles in Caddyshack, Easy Money and Back to School.

Image Credit: Rodney Dangerfield Youtube Channel

2. Joan Rivers - 21 appearances


Joan Rivers was arguably one of the most recognizable fashion critics and reporters on the red carpet. Before much of her career success came to fruition, she was a staple on The Ed Sullivan Show. Her first of 21 appearances came in 1966, when Sullivan accidently said her name instead of Johnny Rivers. Though she appeared on The Tonight Show several times before hosting her own shows, Rivers was never shy to credit large parts of her career longevity to The Ed Sullivan Show.

Image Credit: Associated Press

3. Jean Carroll - 29 appearances


The first of 29 appearances for Jean Carroll was on January 16, 1949. She was known for being a trailblazer and one of the first female stand-up comedians. According to Ed Sullivan's website, some of her most famous routines surrounded Florida and its vacationers. Carroll began her comedic career alongside her husband, Buddy Howe. After he was drafted, her career went solo, and she never looked back. She was the host of The Jean Carroll Show which went on the air in 1953. 

4. Stiller & Meara - 36 appearances


The iconic duo of Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara visited The Ed Sullivan Show 36 times throughout the Sixties and Seventies. They were married prior to coming together professionally. They remained together in marriage but eventually took separate career paths. According to a 2020 article, Stiller said, "I love Anne, but if I had depended on her in my professional life, I would have lost her as a wife." Stiller went on to play major roles as Frank Costanza in Seinfeld and Arthur Spooner on The King of Queens during a career resurgence in the Nineties. 

Image Credit: The Everett Collection

5. Alan King - 37 appearances


Known for his quick-wit and long (and angry) rants, Alan King was a fan favorite on The Ed Sullivan Show, making his first appearance after being named a last minute replacement following a cancelation from Victor Borge. According to the Ed Sullivan website, King was one of Sullivan's favorite comedians and could relate so well to the audience. He received 36 more invitations to return after his clutch fill-in performance in 1956.

Image Credit: Associated Press

6. Myron Cohen - 43 appearances


Making six more stops than King was Myron Cohen, who had a strong connection with the Jewish community in New York City. He first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1950, when it was then called Toast of The Town. He would go on to headline several shows in Upstate New York's Borscht Belt. Prior to his comedic career taking off, Cohen was a salesman, who often had clients tell him he needed to get into stand-up comedy. He'd appear with Ed Sullivan a total of 43 times.

Image Credit: The Everett Collection

7. Jack Carter - 49 appearances


Jack Carter had a wide-range of comedic styles, landing him 49 appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. His first came on Toast of The Town in 1949. Through the Fifties and Sixties, Carter was featured on several shows, before being a part of The Saturday Night Review and his own show, The Jack Carter Show. He would appear in several classic TV shows, including The Wild Wild West, The Lucy Show, Batman and The Dick Van Dyke Show, to name a few!

Image Credit: Associated Press

8. Wayne & Shuster - 58 appearances


Finally, per the Ed Sullivan website, the Canadian duo of Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster had the most appearances on the show with 58. The first being in 1958, "They allegedly earned around $7,500 a show, which was more than most of the other performers on the show (including Elvis)." Though they were the definition of mainstays on The Ed Sullivan Show, the duo primarily remained in Canada throughout their entire run, spanning from the early '40s to the late '80s.

Image Credit: The Everett Collection

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tootsieg 19 months ago
I was surprised John Byner did not make the list. Very funny and he did impressions as well.
RedSamRackham 23 months ago
* Jack Larson (Kenny Dexter on Dick Van Dyke Show) also performed his comedy monologue on Ed Sullivan Show. He was actually a funny talented guy. ☺
Moverfan 23 months ago
I can remember a gentleman on the Ed Sullivan Show--it may have been one of the compilation shows--who pretended to show slides of a recent vacation. "That's the bear--I took the picture...that's me--the bear took the picture...that's me and the bear...I don't know who took the picture!" Does anybody know his name?
I can't believe you just posted this question.... That why I'm here :)
He was a chubby guy
RedSamRackham Moverfan 23 months ago
* Jackie Vernon ~
RedSamRackham Moverfan 23 months ago
* Jackie Vernon! ☺
Moverfan RedSamRackham 23 months ago
Bless you, my son! I couldn't think of it and it was beginning to bother me.
WordsmithWorks 23 months ago
Based on the mention here, it seems as though Jean Carroll doesn't get her due credit. I've never heard of her until now.
Runeshaper 23 months ago
That's a lot of frequent flyers! They must have been having a lot of fun (-:
15inchBlackandWhite 23 months ago
One of my friends once met Anne Meara at a restaurant in New York. Says she was a charming lady.
bagandwallyfan52 23 months ago
I would like to see THE LAWRENCE
And also I would like to see Captain Kangaroo and Mighty Mouse Playhouse and EGGHEAD Cartoons
snivlingwimp 23 months ago
Senor Wences the ventriloquist was on 48 times so Wikipedia says.
Pacificsun 23 months ago
IMO Stiller was right, about their act together anyway. It was passes and he was forward thinking enough to realize they stood well on their own. As supporting characters of course. But not enough to carry a show, no worries. I enjoyed seeing them separately!
Lantern 23 months ago
Until fairly recently, I had never heard of Jean Carroll.
Andybandit 24 months ago
Joan Rivers and Rodney Dangerfield are very funny.
Sway 24 months ago
Anne Meara also went on to act in many TV and movie roles. That wasn't mentioned. She even had her own TV show, Kate McShane (it wasn't successful).
Barry22 24 months ago
In 1975 we were in Las Vegas and saw Myron Cohen. Don't know why. He was terrible, and his jokes were so old that I was whispering the punch lines to my Dad, until he told me to shut up.
BrittReid 24 months ago
Rodney was great. Joan was also very funny.
Sway BrittReid 24 months ago
Totally agree.
nd1irish BrittReid 24 months ago
Rodney: “ I could tell my parents hated me. My bath toys were a toaster and a radio” 😂
nd1irish BrittReid 24 months ago
Rodney: “I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. he told me to wear a brown tie”
madvincent nd1irish 24 months ago
my wife and I never have sex.....everytime we take our cloths off we can't stop laughing at each other.........
CLLewis nd1irish 23 months ago
Now THAT IS hate! Especially if it's your parents!!!
MrsPhilHarris 24 months ago
Don’t recall Jean Carroll nor Myron Cohen. Never found Alan King nor Jack Carter funny. Wayne & Schuster were on Canadian tv forever. My parents thought they were funny so we used to watch the show. Mind you we had little choice since we only had a handful of channels.
SalIanni MrsPhilHarris 23 months ago
I thought Wayne and Shuster were very funny and I used to watch them on the CBC all the time whenever one of their specials came on. I still love some of the classic routines they did like "Shakespearean Baseball", "Rinse The Blood Of My Toga", "The Scarlet Pumpernickel", "Economy Flight", and my favorite "The Unholy Goalie". It's too bad they never had much success on US TV or they would be ranked among the all-time greats. The Ed Sullivan Show YouTube page doesn't even have a clip of one of their shows and they're still the record holders for most appearances, a record which now can never be broken!
MrsPhilHarris SalIanni 23 months ago
That is odd isn’t it? I wonder why? 🤔

I think the CBC has some shows on-line.
TheDavBow3 24 months ago
Love Rodney! He seemed to have trouble having girlfriends in school. His friends would tease him so much that, so they would get off his back, he would go to drive-ins by himself and do push-ups in the back seat!! 🤣😂 Now that's no respect!
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