Dave Gorman's top 10 stand-up comedians



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The docu-comic reveals his ten favourite comics – with video evidence

Dave Gorman Dave Gorman - © Avalon

Ahead of his latest London shows at the Southbank Centre, we asked 'Genius' star Dave Gorman if he would provide a list of his top ten (living) stand-ups. Below are the ten names he came back with.

What do you think of Gorman's choices? Any glaring omissions? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

  • 10

    Milton Jones

    'Everyone knows the quality of the gags they’re going to get with Milton. But there’s so much more going on; there’s a character act there too and a lot of the time the jokes have a backstory. What isn’t being said is just as funny as what is. He’s the kind of man who’d set up sound recording equipment to monitor his Rice Krispies. Amazing.'

  • 9

    Susan Calman

    'An audience relaxes in her company the minute she walks on stage. They trust her. They’re right to.'

  • 8

    Nick Doody

    'Political but not preachy. Clever but not clever-clever.'

  • 7

    Richard Herring

    'One of the most inventive, creative and restless minds out there…'

  • 6

    David O'Doherty

    'Comedy is not about giving the audience what they want. It’s about giving them something they didn’t know they wanted. It’s about bringing them to your sense of humour. I can’t imagine anyone resisting D O'D.'

  • 5

    Simon Evans

    'Dry. Precise. Tightly written. He gets better and better. And now the right age for his material he’s earned the right to inhabit that persona.'

  • 4

    Tommy Tiernan

    'I don’t think it’s possible to really appreciate Tommy unless you see him live. He’s fierce. Always exciting.'

  • 3

    Stephen Merchant

    'Long before 'The Office' and 'Extras' and all that I sat at the back of a tiny London pub and fell off my chair laughing at Stephen Merchant’s act. At the time he was a sort of character act, he played a small time comic with a monstrous ego – a man who’d tell the audience off for not knowing his catchphrase. Some of the audience thought he was for real. But most of us got it. It was an act that couldn’t work to an audience that recognised him as that-bloke-off-the-telly, so I guess he had to throw it away. So he tore it all up and started again. And it was just as bloody funny.'

  • 2

    Lee Mack

    'There’s simply no fat on the bone.'

  • 1

    Tim Minchin

    'Once upon a time he was in small rooms, posturing like a rock God, and a part of what made it funny was the disparity between the reality of the situation and the ambition on display. The rooms got bigger, and so did the posturing. He ends up at the Royal Albert Hall with a full orchestra and you realise it’s not just posturing, he’s an authentic rock God and yet none of the funny has gone away. Bastard.'

Users say


Where's Dan Kitson :s ?


Tommy Tiernan? I amreally surprised Dave Gorman would give him the time of day. have seen him live and he awful, quite apart from being racist.


I suppose Dave Gorman is probably to young to have seen Tony Allen or Alexei Sayle ... brilliant both of them


Seems I might be first here, so before anyone states the obvious, I'll offer up the following theory. Maybe Dave Gorman chose the people he did, because he considered there's no point in listing Bill Hicks, George Carlin, Billy Connolly, Eddie Izzard, etc, because they're in the top ten from everyone, every time. We KNOW they're great. Why not take the opportunity to shine a light on a few people who are doing well, but perhaps not breaking thru to the upper levels, like Calman, Doody,Evans, etc. At the same time, he seems quite honest, so I imagine he's chosen people he's actually seen and enjoyed which is why that obscure but genius act you're thinking of isn't on there. On another note, why didn't you mention 'The Bastard son of Tommy Cooper'? :D