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Top 10 British Comedy Actors

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Andrea Buccino
These actors know how to have a laugh. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Comedy Actors. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at British actors who have gained fame through their comedy roles, or proven extremely apt at them. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 British Comedy Actors

These actors know how to have a laugh. Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 British Comedy Actors.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at British actors who have gained fame through their comedy roles, or proven extremely apt at them.

#10: Simon Pegg

This talented comic actor rose to fame as the writer and star of the Channel 4 comedy series “Spaced", and later as various protagonists in the popular “Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy” films, which he also co-wrote with director Edgar Wright. Now, Pegg stars in the big, blockbuster sci-fi movies he had loved as a young lad. However, while he’s moved between “Star Trek” and the “Mission: Impossible” franchises, he hasn’t ever forgotten his brilliant comedy roots. With or without his good friend and colleague Nick Frost at his side, he’s a really funny fella.

#9: Rik Mayall

A mainstay of many a British comedy show, Rik Mayall came to prominence with the Comic Strip comedy group, which he founded with other upcoming comedians of the time. A pioneer of ‘80s alternative comedy, he had a varied and successful career, including a number of cult classic sitcoms like “The Young Ones”, “The New Statesman” and “Blackadder”. He’s also had starring roles in numerous films and delivered some Emmy-worthy voice-over work for the 1995 adaptation of “The Wind in the Willows” and its sequel, “The Willows in Winter”.

#8: Sacha Baron Cohen

From Ali G to Borat and Brüno, this one of a kind funny man has created and portrayed some of the best-known comic characters of the past two decades. A talented actor in his own right, he has also performed in films ranging from Tim Burton's “Sweeney Todd” to Martin Scorsese's “Hugo”, proving he has a wider range than just straight comedy and satirical parody. His mockumentary style, through which he often tricks (to their enormous chagrin) real-life political figures and celebrities, has often been imitated, but never equalled.

#7: Jennifer Saunders

Another member of The Comic Strip, this multi-award-winning comedian, actress and scriptwriter rose to fame with her “French and Saunders” show, alongside frequent partner Dawn French. The duo became extremely popular in the '80s and '90s, and their show was reportedly given one of the highest budgets in the history of the BBC. Saunders has written and acted in too many shows to list, but her creation, “Absolutely Fabulous”, which gained her a BAFTA, an Emmy and international fame, remains one of the most loved and acclaimed sitcoms in British TV history.

#6: David Jason

As surely one of British television’s greatest stars, David Jason began his career in the ‘60s, alongside many of the great comedy actors of his generation. Renowned for his excellent comedic timing, he found his most popular role in Derek “Del Boy” Trotter, the leading character of the hugely successful BBC sitcom “Only Fools and Horses”. Other noteworthy appearances include the ITV series “The Darlings Buds of May”, as well as crime drama “A Touch of Frost”. And don’t forget, he’s the original voice of “Danger Mouse” too!

#5: Steve Coogan

Famous today for his popular Alan Partridge character, which has appeared in multiple TV shows as well as a movie and gained him numerous nominations and awards, Steve Coogan is a versatile actor who really shines when delivering the most absurd and hilarious lines – always with the straightest of straight faces. Active in film both as a writer and an actor, Coogan’s big screen highlights include his role as Manchester music legend Tony Wilson in "24 Hour Party People” and his appearance in Stephen Frears’ “Philomena”, which he also co-wrote.

#4: Rowan Atkinson

One of the best-known faces in comedy, Rowan Atkinson is a living legend, winner of a BAFTA and an Olivier award. His work as the title characters on “Blackadder” and “Mr. Bean”, some of the most popular shows on British TV, has made him an icon the world over. But many of his movies have gone on to do well at the box office too, even when the critics have turned up their noses. A talented all-around actor, he also appears in British classics “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Love Actually”.

#3: John Cleese

As perhaps the most popular Python, John Cleese shot to fame with the world-famous group on the BBC sketch show, “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” – and was one of the main contributors to both the TV gags and feature-length movies. But since the original troupe dissolved, he has appeared in (and fronted) many a comedy show, including the ever-popular "Fawlty Towers”, which he also co-wrote with his then-wife Connie Booth. Elsewhere, Cleese penned the script for the classic comedy film "A Fish Called Wanda”, in which he also acted, and was reunited with former Python pal Michael Palin.

#2: Peter Sellers

Sellers was the great chameleon of British comedy, and his performances rank among the very best in the genre. From his work on classic Ealing comedies like “The Ladykillers”, alongside Alec Guinness and other great British comedy actors, to his partnership with Stanley Kubrick on cinematic masterpieces like “Lolita” and “Dr. Strangelove”, there was little that this performer couldn't achieve. But one of his most famous and highly regarded roles remains that of Chief Inspector Clouseau in the “Pink Panther” series of films. And for good reason.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a couple of honourable mentions:

Victoria Wood

Richard Ayoade

Stephen Fry

#1: Charlie Chaplin

For most of his career Charlie Chaplin, like many other English actors who found fortune across the pond, was a household name in the States. But he was also as British as they come. His Tramp persona is probably the most recognisable comic icon in the world, and his early silent films set the template for all comedy to come afterwards – on the big or small screen. Chaplin’s approach to his characters, combining slapstick and pathos, as well as his infamous perfectionism, combined to make him one of the most important figures in the history of Film.

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