Cigar Culture

Our Favorite Cigar Smoking Comedians

Holt's Staff Cigar's picture

Holt's Staff

Freud famously remarked, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” But in the comedy world, that may be an understatement. We can’t quite describe it, but there is a certain je ne sais quoi about cigar smoking that comedians are drawn to.

We all know the classics: George Burns, Ernie Kovacs, W.C. Fields, Alan King -- all quintessential kings of comedy who you would’ve been hard-pressed to find without a smoke. Fortunately, for cigar enthusiasts, the tradition shows no signs of stopping. Sure, the image of an old comedian with cigar in hand may look slightly different today, but for modern comics there’s still something about a stogie after their set that just feels right.

We’ve compiled a list of eight comedians -- past and present -- who carry the torch. Some you’ll know, but some might just surprise you.

Steve Harvey

Comedian and talk show host Steve Harvey paid his dues in the comedy scene during the ‘80s and ‘90s, tirelessly working the club circuit and occasionally even living out of his car. These days, he’s able to slow down and enjoy more of life’s pleasures. You may not see him smoking on the set of Family Feud or his eponymous talk show Steve, but Harvey loves to light up a smoke in his spare time. He has equated the activity to yoga, explaining that it helps him to take a moment during his busy day to sit down and relax.

Marc Maron

The standup comic-turned-podcaster is known to enjoy a Cohiba while kicking back with his cats or during his interviews with fellow comedians such as Norm MacDonald, Louis CK, and the late Robin Williams. Maron even had President Barack Obama over to his garage studio for an interview. He forewent sparking up during the chat, but he was sure to smoke a celebratory stick when the interview was done.

Whoopi Goldberg

Goldberg proves that cigars aren’t just for the boys. The strong female comedian and Emmy Award-winning actress known to light up the stage, Whoopi is also known to light up a smoke in her spare time. The iconic shot in The Associate featuring Whoopi with her feet up on the desk, Havana firmly in-hand, showed us cigars aren’t just a gentlemen’s treat.

Lucille Ball

Whoopi isn’t the only woman in comedy who is practiced in the art of smoking. On top of using a cigar as a prop in some classic I Love Lucy episodes, Ball was often seen smoking on the set with her husband and co-star Desi Arnaz. It’s no surprise she had a taste for the finer things in life, considering Arnaz was one of Cuba’s finest exports himself and the legendary mind behind the three-camera system that’s now a staple of most television sitcoms.

Michael Richards

Here’s a case where shtick meets reality. The venerable Cosmo Kramer, who perhaps ushered in the resurgence of cigar prop comedy in the ‘90s, is known for using a big old cheroot to comedic effect on the hit sitcom Seinfeld. These days, a smoke isn’t just a joke—in his personal life, Richards says he likes to have a cigar to celebrate or commemorate an event

Joe Rogan

Legendary stand-up and host of The Joe Rogan Experience often expresses his penchant for a fine stick. Even as a health and fitness advocate, Rogan can appreciate a good cigar, and sometimes does during the show with friend and comedy comrade, Tom Papa. And you can bet, cigars were aplenty on the set of The Man Show, as he and co-host Doug Stanhope (both enthusiasts) really leaned into their manly personas.

David Letterman

Letterman no doubt grew up watching his comedy heroes smoking cigars, so it’s no surprise he turned into an aficionado himself. While he didn’t smoke on screen during Late Night, Letterman liked to take a few puffs during commercial breaks, eventually incorporating the tail end of his smoke into a recurring bit. If you’re looking for a deep comedy cut, there’s an episode where Dave teaches a 19-year-old Shannon O’Neill (of Upright Citizens Brigade fame) to smoke a cigar on stage.

Groucho Marx

No list of comedians (especially one about comedians who love a good cigar) would be complete without the man who favored cigars over just about everything in life. Groucho Marx may just be the most famous cigar-smoking comedian in history. He’s certainly the most iconic—it was a rare sight to see him without a cigar in his heyday. As a tribute to the cigar devotee, it’s only right he caps off the list.

Like a hot dog and a ball game, the relationship between cigars and comedy is a complementary one—something about the timeless pairing just makes sense. I guess that’s why comedy greats for the last century have gravitated toward the inherently calming nature of a fine smoke. Here’s to hoping for many more years of lighting up and lightening up.

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