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Top 10 British Male Comedians

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Aaron Cameron. The world is indeed a stage but these men are no mere players. Join as we count down our picks for the top 10 British male comedians. For this list, we’re looking at those male comedians from around the United Kingdom who are known as the funny men of stand-up. Special thanks to our users Jake Fraser, jwiking62, TheCardboardClaymore, Mohammed Tarradah, DhrjDes, Cameron French, cenaAVPWWE34, Stuart Gillies, Raymond Leduc, matthew.r.barratt@go, TheKippfather, Richie95, arimazzie, Mati, Some_Guy_2112, Die4Games and RatchetHeartsZ1 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Aaron Cameron.

Top 10 British Male Comedians

The world is indeed a stage but these men are no mere players. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 British male comedians.

For this list, we’re looking at those male comedians from around the United Kingdom who are known as the funnymen of stand-up.

#10: Peter Kay

Effectively retired until the public again demands his return, Peter Kay crept onto the comedy scene in the late-‘90s, winning the “So You Think You’re Funny?” competition in 1997 and earning a Perrier Award nomination at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the following year. But his observational wit didn’t go full mainstream until the early-2000s. Occupied with other successful projects, Kay wouldn’t tour again until 2009 when an intended four-night stand in Manchester ballooned to an over 100-show tour that included 40 nights in Manchester and 15 at London’s O2 Arena. In fact, the tour earned a Guinness World Record as the most successful standup tour ever, showing to 1.2 million.

#9: Lee Evans

Known in North America for his supporting role in movies like “There’s Something About Mary,” the cheeky and uber kinetic Lee Evans is a major force to be reckoned with in the comedy world. Evans is so hyperactive, in fact, that he goes through two suits a show, most of which have to be thrown out after three gigs due to the sweat. But, with his ridiculously strong ticket sales, which saw his 2010 tour sell ₤7m worth of tickets in one day, he can afford to. Sweat aside, Evans’ bizarre mix of the observational and hyper-physical comedy means few funnymen are willing or able to follow him.

#8: Michael McIntyre

Son of the late Canadian comedian Ray Cameron, the London-born Michael McIntyre seemed to come out of nowhere in the 2000s, before becoming the top grossing comedian in the world by 2012. Clean but cutting, the bobble-headed McIntyre collected numerous comedy awards and nominations along the way, including a 2009 British Comedy Award. While his mass appeal makes him a draw for all walks of life, McIntyre did once cancel a gig just before showtime when he found out he would be performing for debt collectors – a strong stance for anyone so delightfully goofy.

#7: Eddie Izzard

A category unto himself, Izzard was born in the Colony of Aden in Yemen, a British colony prior to 1963, but rose from street performing to the UK club circuit in the late-1980s and – thanks to friend and fan Robin Williams – dominated it by the late-‘90s. Despite his success in dramatic roles, Izzard is nonetheless pure fried gold in comedy. With routines that range in style from Monty Python-style surrealism to Spike Milligan stream-of-consciousness, the self-described male tomboy is also one of the few comedians able to milk legit laughs while not speaking the same language as his audience.

#6: Jimmy Carr

Born in London to Irish parents – from the city of Limerick, no less! – and raised in Slough, the dark-haired, dark-eyed, and slightly pudding-faced Jimmy Carr is hardly the voice of the people, but they seem to love him anyway. Serving up slow burning one-liners and lorry loads of black comedy, Carr is as ready to spar with any would-be heckler as he is to host “8 Out of 10 Cats.” Often banking on innuendo, puns, and double meanings, Carr is just as likely to make himself the joke, an ability that came in handy when he found himself in a tax scandal in 2012.

#5: Russell Howard

Having risen through the ranks, Russell Howard caught a major break when he was added to the panel of “Mock the Week” in 2007. There, Howard became a household name while his youth-tinged comedy helped counterbalance Frankie Boyle’s bleak and consistently dark humor and Hugh Dennis’s often stern dad-like vibe. Parting ways with the show in 2010, Howard has found solo TV success with “Russell Howard’s Good News” and has become a major live draw. As a touring comic, Russell’s 2011 “Right Here Right Now” tour was a complete sellout and the man has been known to pack the Hammersmith Apollo more than once.

#4: Billy Connolly

First working in the oil industry before striking it small as a folk singer, Connolly split with his musical partners, whom included Gerry Rafferty, and moved towards comedy in the early-‘70s, making his first big splash in 1975 with an appearance on Michael Parkinson’s chat show. Billy climbed the ranks and broke the UK comedy class barriers throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, and finally cracked the U.S. in the 1990s. American footing established, Connolly not only gained major respect in comedy, but also earned a movie death count that rivals only Sean Bean’s.

#3: Ricky Gervais

Pop singer, sitcom heavyweight, standup comedian – Ricky Gervais got the order of things all backwards. First coming to major public attention with “The Office,” and seemingly omnipresent ever since, Gervais first took to the stage in a big way in 2001. Despite tackling controversial issues such as atheism, politics, and gay rights, RG’s take on standup was well received and resulted in the “Animals” tour and selling-out-shows-in-a-flash “Fame” tour. Gervais has also “performed” standup in the game Grand Theft Auto IV, which was almost as controversial as his hosting of the Golden Globes. Almost.

#2: John Cleese

And now for something completely different. He’s a legend of the comedy stage and star of the screen, but did you know John Cleese was also in Monty Python? Oh, you did? Alright then, enjoy some clips... A student of black comedy, Cleese uses his towering frame to his advantage in physical bits, but has also crafted some of the most gloriously verbose routines ever. Either out of necessity or his own boredom, Cleese has spent his twilight years touring the globe, dishing out his trademark biting humor through a series of acclaimed stage shows. Not that Cleese’s comedy career has had many duds, but we’re not sure why he waited so long to return to the stage.

Before we unveil our top pick here are a few hono(u)rable mentions:

- Bill Bailey

- Frankie Boyle

- Stephen Fry

- Stewart Lee

- John Oliver

#1: Rowan Atkinson

Though he’s known for “Mr. Bean,” “Blackadder,” and for the truly hip, “Not the Nine O’Clock News,” Rowan Atkinson’s stage act is virtually untouchable. Rather than traditional standup, Atkinson’s sets drift into surrealism, advanced wordplay, and sketch comedy – and he’s usually working solo as our guide through it all. Whether Keith Mooning on invisible drums or channeling the man who would be Bean, Atkinson doesn’t need to say a thing to have people rolling in the aisles. Get him talking, though, and you get a whole other Rowan, one just as absurd and twice as deadpan, over pronouncing his Bs with maximum authority.

Do you agree with our list? Who’s your favorite British male comedian? For more chuckle-inducing Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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