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Alfie Brown
© Mark Dawson PhotographyAlfie Brown

Alfie Brown’s top ten stand-up comedians

The brave, uncompromising stand-up reveals his favourite fellow comics

Written by
Ben Williams

Alfie Brown’s one of the bravest voices on the circuit right now. In his smart, uninhibited shows he tackles difficult topics head-on, but Brown’s not in the market for easy shock laughs; there’s depth and intelligence to his material. Stick with him, and there’s always a satisfying punchline or smart viewpoint at the end of the path, even if the journey itself looks painful.

As he brings his new show, ‘-Ism’, to London, he ran us through his ten favourite comedians – starting with his girlfriend, Jessie Cave

See more comedians’ favourite comedians

Jessie Cave

10. Jessie Cave

‘I’m writing this in a cafe and there is a man opposite me eating a tuna baguette, languid and open-mouthed. It’s fucking horrible, and it’s making it hard for me to say all the lovely things I need to say about Jessie… I am completely in awe of her. I have never met anyone that has such direct access to their own honesty and that’s what makes her art in all its forms beautiful. She is also good at making babies, watching box-sets with, and sex generally.’

Watch a clip of Jessie Cave

Ivo Graham

9. Ivo Graham

‘Oh God! It’s disgusting you can see flecks of tuna-mayo swirling in the lower carriage of his jaw… The once precocious and now just cocious comedian Ivo Graham has been one of my favourite comics and people since he was 18. If you saw his jokes written down you would know that they were his. That’s the mark of someone excellent.’

Watch a clip of Ivo Graham

Alex Edelman
© Will Bremridge

8. Alex Edelman

‘He’s now casually drinking full-fat Coke like it isn’t poison… This absolutely terrible star-fucker is a wonderful comedian. Alex’s routines are structurally impeccable. I’ve learned a lot from his moaning at me after my shows about being “tighter” and that he wanted to hear my jokes, not spend 20 minutes hearing me admonishing the bar staff for shaking cocktails and ruining my set.’

Watch a clip of Alex Edelman

Jimmy McGhie
© Steve Ullathorne

7. Jimmy McGhie

‘He’s gone back to work now… Jimmy McGhie – born James – has melty eyes. He’s sensationally funny. A truly wonderful ability to bring to life the absurdity of the mundane with brilliant language.’

Watch a clip of Jimmy McGhie

Mat Ewins

6. Mat Ewins

‘You’ll just have to see him. I don’t know what he’s going to gaffer-tape to himself next. Most comedians’ favourite comedian, and we’ve got the best taste.’

Watch a clip of Mat Ewins

Luisa Omielan
© Kristian Dowling

5. Luisa Omielan

‘Luisa’s shows are stand-up events. She is another whose incredible ability to perform brings to life her soul. She deserves every bit of her success and is an incredible comic original.’

Watch a clip of Luisa Omielan

Joe Lycett

4. Joe Lycett

‘The only comedian who I get the feeling I could watch for seven hours and not get bored. The third comedian on the list who I’ve kissed.’

Watch a clip of Joe Lycett

Daniel Kitson
© Pavel Antonov

3. Daniel Kitson

‘I’ve never seen him but I hear he’s excellent. Although I can’t really trust that he’s the best. A grown man who likes Ben Folds Five that much can’t be a true great, can he? Email me.’

Watch a clip of Daniel Kitson

Dylan Moran
© Andy Hollingworth

2. Dylan Moran

‘He made me want to be a stand-up. All the romance of a troubled Richard Yates character but absolutely hilarious. Making everyday life tragic and beautiful and ridiculous.’

Watch a clip of Dylan Moran

Stewart Lee
© Rich Hardcastle

1. Stewart Lee

‘I often wonder, in the ’60s when The Beatles were making records, what the other bands of the time must have felt. For another artist or band to be that consistently and objectively better; to be inventing and reinventing and for it seemingly never to stop. You get the point. Lee’s clearly the best. But with being the best comes a foundation that you lay for others; to be inspired and to move forward with you, from you. Not everyone is ripping you off… Okay. Doing this list almost gave me a nervous breakdown. It’s impossible to put ten people in order. Fuck. Ask me again next week and it could be different, or come and argue the toss with me at Soho Theatre by buying a ticket to one of my entertaining and reasonably priced shows.’

Watch a clip of Stewart Lee

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