The Best of the Rest

Aaron McGruder

12 The creator of The Boondocks -- an outrageously provocative syndicated comic strip about two African-American kids getting by in the white suburbs -- has one goal. He wants to stick a ''daily foot in the ass of The Man,'' according to the intro to his collection A Right to Be Hostile. McGruder dings everybody from the NRA to BET. And when some newspapers spiked a series of Bush-bashing strips, the ensuing brouhaha helped land TV and movie deals for The Boondocks. WE LAUGHED AT His audacious take on Donald Rumsfeld's justification for war: ''Momma Rumsfeld ain't raise no punks!!''

Jack Black

13 Black is an entirely new classification of human: the frenetic slacker. Before his turn as doofus band reject/inspirational teacher Dewey Finn in School of Rock, he was the Ritalin-deprived half of Tenacious D (along with his partner, Kyle Gass) and the list-obsessed record-shop shlub in High Fidelity. He is, inarguably, the coolest fusion of music and comedy since Spinal Tap. WE LAUGHED AT The sheer audacity (and welcome chivalry) of the Tenacious D song ''F -- -Her Gently.''

Wanda Sykes

14 Don't be fooled by her size. Wanda Sykes is one furious ball of comedic energy. Whether lambasting Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm or heckling football players on Inside the NFL, the comedian with the distinctive nasal twang rarely fails to deliver a verbal smackdown. WE LAUGHED AT Her take on airport security: ''There's nothing random about it. You get to the gate and they're standing there with their Sherwin-Williams paint chart. If your ass is darker than khaki, you're getting searched.''

Augusten Burroughs

15 Burroughs' best-selling memoir Running With Scissors -- about being raised by a nutso shrink who studies his poo and rents the back shed to a pedophile -- is unbelievably disturbing. And sidesplitting. At first we felt guilty giggling at his adventures with an electroshock therapy machine, but Burroughs knows that laughter is the best antidepressant. Much better than booze, which the author struggles to kick in his equally effervescent follow-up, Dry. WE LAUGHED AT His Dry riff on Feed the Children's Sally Struthers: ''Well, somehow I felt that if I sent Sally a donation...she would then treat herself at Pizza Hut, using my envelope to dab pepperoni grease from her chin.''

Scot Armstrong

16 Shakespeare he ain't, but when it comes to puerile antics, Armstrong is the bard of bawdiness. A former adman, he fortuitously worked with director Todd Phillips on a beer commercial in 1998 and walked off with a partner. Having cowritten the brilliantly idiotic Road Trip, Old School, and Starsky & Hutch (not to mention an uncredited rewrite of Elf), Armstrong is now brainstorming escapades for Jim Carrey in The Six Million Dollar Man. WE LAUGHED AT Vince Vaughn's defense of eldercide in Old School: ''Dammit, Blue was old. That's what old people do. They die.''


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