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Top 10 British Stand-up Comedians

VO: JB
Written by JJ Heaton Jokes, gags, and bossing hecklers. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Stand-up comedians. For this list, we’re rolling with the greatest UK stand-up acts of all time. We’ve focussed our rank on classic joke and punchline performers, as well as comics renowned for their storytelling. All round entertainers and performance artists, including the likes of the brilliant Bill Bailey, aren’t included today. For a specialised look at the world’s Top 10 Female Stand-ups, be sure to check out our sister channel, MsMojo. Special thanks to our users Jake Fraser, TheCardboardClaymore, craigski, Cameron French, Mohammed Tarradah, Die4Games, cenaAVPWWE34, arimazzie, Mati and Richie95 for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Stand-up Comedians


Jokes, gags, and bossing hecklers. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Stand-up comedians.

For this list, we’re rolling with the greatest UK stand-up acts of all time. We’ve focussed our rank on classic joke and punchline performers, as well as comics renowned for their storytelling. All round entertainers and performance artists, including the likes of the brilliant Bill Bailey, aren’t included today. For a specialised look at the world’s Top 10 Female Stand-ups, be sure to check out our sister channel, MsMojo.

#10: Michael McIntyre

Since starting up in the mid 2000s, Michael McIntyre has become one of Britain’s most popular comedians. A bright and energetic style shapes his routines, earning him solid rep as a hilarious host. A presenter for several stand up programs and a one-time judge on “Britain’s Got Talent”, “Michael McIntyre’s Big Show” is arguably his most successful vehicle, bagging him a BAFTA in 2017.

#9: Lenny Henry

While today’s audience probably knows him best for the slightly annoying Premier Inn ads, Lenny Henry’s comedy career dates back to the ‘70s. A perennial favourite, thanks to his broad and charming style and his lead role with Comic Relief, he has stayed at the top of his game for decades. Knighted for his services to drama and charity in the Queen’s 2015 Birthday Honours, this chap’s a national treasure.

#8: Lee Evans

A retired stand-up as of 2014, Lee Evans sure deserves a rest. He leaves behind a twenty-year legacy, including famously sweat-drenched routines packed with energy. At his prime he was one of the best-selling comedians in the country, as well as an occasional dabbler with Hollywood. He called time on his career to focus on his family, but didn’t he have a blast!

#7: Eddie Izzard

Famous for his brazen approach and unique wardrobe choices, Eddie Izzard embraces the odder side of life. His often surreal musings can tackle anything from serious societal topics to plain bizarre run-throughs of everyday life on the Death Star. He’s also noted for his film and TV work, his political influence and for undertaking some truly marathon challenges for charity. But Izzard’s stand up shows boast some of his best and boldest material.

#6: Frankie Boyle

Unapologetic. Controversial. But ever-popular. Frankie Boyle made a name for himself by angrily ranting his way through “Mock the Week”. Never one to shy away from big issues, his views on the likes of Brexit and the 2016 US election also led to a hosting gig on “Frankie Boyle’s New World Order”. Setting out to ruthlessly tackle current affairs, his stand-up shows always promise the same degree of savage pessimism.

#5: Peter Kay

A stark contrast from Bolton’s finest, Peter Kay proves that not all jokes need a biting satirical agenda, or a barrage of bad language. Kay rewrote the record books in 2011 by staging the most successful stand-up comedy tour of all time, and he has been a staple on British TV since the ‘90s. From dad dancing to dunking a biscuit, he turns simple things into ever-quotable yarns, finding the funny side of everyday life.

#4: Tommy Cooper

Right down to his iconic fez, Tommy Cooper is a comic legend. With routines often built on “failed” magic tricks, he’s still quoted as a leading inspiration for many of today’s comedians. Of course, Cooper tragically died as he lived, on stage while entertaining a rapturous audience. But, his lumbering manner and ‘just like that’ delivery drives a lasting legacy, and the ‘cheeky chappy’ persona still holds up today.

#3: Billy Connolly

Another who’s known for film and TV as well as stand-up, Billy Connolly worked on the Glasgow shipyards before becoming a folk singer, and a comedian. His frank, brash and ballsy shows soon saw him become an icon in Scotland, and an international hit. Affectionately known as the Big Yin, he plays the belligerent Scot to a tee and became well known for his constant touring in the ‘90s. He’s a man of the people, and a riotous one-off.

#2: Ricky Gervais

If you’re easily offended, look away now. He’s an actor, a writer, a director, he’s hosted the Golden Globes, but for pure Ricky Gervais, you have to see his stand up. His to the bone gags do tend to divide opinion, but the guy was arguably the UK’s most influential comedian throughout the 2000s. Forever pushing boundaries for what can and can’t be said, “Animals” and “Politics” are probably his most famous tours, taken shortly after the success of “The Office”.

#1: Jimmy Carr

His laugh is unmistakable. His deadpan delivery is always on point. His treatment of hecklers is brutal. Jab at Jimmy’s questionable tax history all you like; he’s always ready with a witty reply. Jimmy Carr has been a face of British comedy for years, hosting or appearing on a range of shows. But forget the studio, give this guy a stage and he will invariably own it. To quote his 2008 tour, he’s a Joke Technician, and nobody does it better.
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