John Cleese named top comedy icon | And what good timing, just as a Python series starts...

John Cleese named top comedy icon

And what good timing, just as a Python series starts...

John Cleese has been hailed as the most influential British comedy icon of all time, according to a new survey.

By sheer coincidence the poll was commission by TV channel Gold, who just happen to have the documentary series Monty Python: The Meaning of Live starting tonight. And it was precisely to publicise that show that the survey was conducted.

Steve North, Gold’s general manager said: ‘John Cleese is known and loved by many people both old and young. So it may not come as a surprise that he’s been named as the most influential comedy icon.’

With tedious predictability, the poll also found that half of the adults polled felt modern comedians are not as funny as classic comedy actors, finding modern acts too crude and sweary. Again, that makes good reading for for a TV channel based on repeating old classics.

Only Fools and Horses’ legend David Jason came second in the study of 2,000 people, just ahead of Rowan Atkinson. The late Ronnie Barker came fourth with Ricky Gervais fifth.

One of the top ten British comedy icons is not even British, with Irish Father Ted star Dermot Morgan coming in at No 20. Yet there was no space for Billy Connolly, who topped Channel 4's 100 Greatest Comedians run-down.

The respondents were given a pre-selected list of 50 names then asked to rank their favourites. The full top 20 is:

1. John Cleese

2. David Jason

3. Rowan Atkinson

4. Ronnie Barker

5. Ricky Gervais

6. Dawn French

7. Peter Kay

8. Rik Mayall

9. Kenneth Williams

10. Steve Coogan

11. James Cordon

12. Harry Enfield

13. Ronnie Corbett

14. Miranda Hart

15. Eddie Izzard

16. David Walliams

17. Michael Palin

18. Arthur Lowe

19. Jennifer Saunders

20. Dermot Morgan

Published: 13 Nov 2014

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