Time Out readers' top ten comedians

Stewart Lee‘s ’The Ten Best Stand-Ups in the World Ever‘ shows at the Bloomsbury Theatre over the coming month got us wondering: would Time Out readers pick the same ten? We asked the question online and here are your chosen ones, in ascending order

  • Time Out readers' top ten comedians

    Still the king of comedy, Ricky Gervais

  • 10. Lee Evans

    Evans currently holds the world record for the biggest comedy audience ever: a staggering 10,108 watched him perform at the Manchester Evening News Arena in 2005. In October he’ll try to top this by entertaining more than 15,000 fans at the O2 Arena.‘He has a unique talent, combining stand-up comedy with physical humour. He’s Norman Wisdom and Peter Kay all rolled into one.’
    Mary O’Callaghan
    ‘Watching a Lee Evans video, aged 14, with my brother and friends, I laughed so much I actually shat myself in front of everyone.’ Stephen Doran

    9. Terry Saunders

    Probably the least familiar name on the list, this gentle, creative storyteller won a lot of friends with his last show ‘Missed Connections’ and his ‘Laughter in Odd Places’, which takes comedy out of clubs and into, well… odd places. ‘His whimsical stories are skilfully woven in a touching, beautiful way, while also being hilariously funny.’ Steve Thone
    ‘Because he is self-effacing with a beard.’ Kirsty Fallow

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    Dara O'Briain

    8. Dara O’Briain

    The Irish host of ‘Mock the Week’ has legions of dedicated fans… and a degree in theoretical physics. ‘Supreme wit and improvisation, and one of the most likeable guys around.’ Giles Ellis
    ‘He’s the funniest potato I’ve ever heard.’ Pat Wheeldon

    7. Harry Hill

    Hill has come a long way since leaving medicine and is now one of the most popular live comics in the country and the official jester of ITV with ‘TV Burp’ and ‘You’ve Been Framed’.‘The perfect mix of warmth, surrealism and good old-fashioned comedy business.’ Ed Humphrey
    ‘Because he gave me a box of chocolates once and his face makes me laugh.’ Samantha Welstead

    6. Peter Kay

    The star of ‘Phoenix Nights’ is famously the best digestive biscuit dunker ever to come out of Bolton. ‘He is the funniest guy around. Every word that comes out of his mouth has me rolling on the floor clutching my stomach.’ Jan Martin
    ‘Everyone can relate to his humour. He doesn’t rely on bad language and is a true professional.’ Susan Harwood

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    Bill Bailey

    5. Bill Bailey

    West Country-born troll Bailey is so obsessed with Star Trek that he named his son Dax after a character from ‘Deep Space Nine’.‘His comedy is intelligent, surreal and always makes me wet myself. He can be seen moseying around Barnes occasionally being nice to people.’ Trina Foo
    ‘Like Mr Bean but with humour.’ Ian Richardson

    4. Daniel Kitson

    Kitson is often described as ‘the comedian’s comedian’. He’s probably most famous to those outside of the comedy cognoscenti for his appearances in ‘Phoenix Nights’. ‘Under that geeky and gloriously hairy exterior lies a confident and hilarious man. What is intriguing, exasperating and impressive is that he ploughs his own furrow, follows his own path and appears only when and where he likes. Not in a town near you, soon.’ Dorothea Fox

    3. Janey Godley

    This tough Glaswegian raconteuse is the only woman to make the list. But that’s okay: she’s probably got more balls than all nine men put together. ‘I’ve had cancer and if it wasn’t for her clips on MySpace I doubt I would have survived. She literally had me in stitches.’ Jane Simon
    ‘I can’t imagine anyone else telling a story about her HIV-positive junkie brother going into hospital for cancer treatment and getting so many laughs. The phrase “one-off” doesn’t even begin to do her justice.’ Martyn Sadler

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    Stewart Lee

    2. Stewart Lee

    Mr Top Ten himself, the creator of ‘Jerry Springer: The Opera’ makes our list, proving that TO readers don’t let accusations of blasphemy by pressure groups such as Christian Voice bother them.‘He is the bravest and most innovative comedian currently working in the UK.’ Christina Martin
    ‘Because he bothered to come to Cheltenham Town Hall and he isn’t Jimmy Carr.’ Arabella Blaikie
    ‘He’s fearless… I am still waiting for “Abu Hamza: The Musical”.’ Glenn Marshall

    1. Ricky Gervais

    Sure he’s won Emmys and Baftas, as well as enough other awards to choke a donkey, but this is the one that really counts. For your money, the man who brought you live shows such as ‘Fame’ and ‘Animals’ is still the king of comedy.‘He was an honest, hard-working, middle-class Brit, a hero to the people, a modern-day Jesus bringing happiness to the world. He’s still all those things, but now he’s rich, and deserves every cent.’ Nick Scott
    ‘He’s an intelligent buffoon. He speaks in an erudite and effortless way about political, social and cultural events with a wry twist of wit, charisma and an awfully high-pitched laugh.’ Alison King

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