Tim Key's top 10 stand-up comedians

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The poet savant reveals his ten favourite comics – with video evidence

Tim Key Tim Key - © Rob Greig

Following two sell-out Edinburgh Fringe runs and five-weeks at the Soho Theatre, our favourite shambolic poet Tim Key is bringing his stunning show 'Masterslut' to the West End. To celebrate him lugging a bath back to London, we asked the 'Mid Morning Matters' star for a list of his ten favourite (living) stand-ups, and here's what he came back with. 'These are in no particular order,' he explains. 'I always find ranking things tough, but I suspect that Gittins would probably come in around eighth.'

What do you think of Key's choices? Are you on the same wavelength? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


  • Simon Amstell

    'Amstell's the real deal. He talks engagingly, honestly and wittily about his life for an hour and then waddles back off to work on his highly successful sitcom or hair. Brilliant.'

  • Russell Brand

    'I saw him for the first time this year. He walked on like he was Jesus. The charisma of this man is insane – the whole audience was covered in it. By the end I was more or less convinced he was Jesus. But with stronger material and tighter jeans.'

    Read Time Out's interview with Russell Brand
  • Adam Buxton

    'Supremely original goblin. A little hat perched on his head and a patent on YouTube-comment-analysis. Warm-hearted, funny and positive in the face of the muddle-headed and bleak contributions of online twonks. Buxton is king.'

    Read Time Out's interview with Adam Buxton
  • Nina Conti

    'Novelty act. Ventriloquism. But in Conti's puppeted hands it's elevated to a thing of beauty. Smart writing, stuffed with heart and a complete control of her intoxicating world.'

  • Brian Gittins

    'I include Gittins even though he's still not as polished as these other guys. Flashes of brilliance, though. He quits comedy every few months and then comes back again slightly more beleaguered. A genius.'

  • Alex Horne

    'Genial, warm, effortlessly funny. Beholding him on stage; you want to be friends with him. I am friends with him, though. He's better on stage.'

    Read Time Out's interview with Alex Horne
  • Daniel Kitson

    'Unparalleled. Pebble-thick glasses and, now, a smooth egg-head, so has the advantage of looking hilarious. But backs it up with incredibly funny bones and writing.'

  • Kristen Schaal

    'Magical. Just opens her beak and her warblings have me in stitches. Brilliant writing; heavenly delivery. And she's American, too, so my list now has an international feel to it.'

    Read Time Out's interview with Kristen Schaal and Kurt Braunohler
  • Tim Vine

    'A torrent of one-liners oozing with cheese and intelligence. So bloody funny. He leaves the audience wanting less because they can no longer breathe or see straight.'

  • Mark Watson

    'Gangly and dangerous. At his best when shrill and freewheeling. Weighs almost nothing and yet can do Herculean things with a microphone. Also instigated a new genre with his 24 hour shows: delirious events delivered in Welsh.'

    Read Time Out's interview with Mark Watson

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