Billy Connolly 'most influential comic'

And Lenny Henry outranks Bill Hicks

Billy Connolly has been named the UK's most influential stand-up comic of all time.

A hundred comedians compiled a shortlist of who had most influenced them, which was then put to a public vote.

Morecambe and Wise came second, followed by Victoria Wood. Lenny Henry, who came on 83rd in the Channel 4 list of the 100 greatest comedians, was No 7 in terms of influence, according to this poll

A separate survey for international comics was topped by Robin Williams – although Bill Hicks, whose influence is certainly strong on the current circuit, failed to score.

Steve North, head of TV channel Dave, which commissioned the poll, said: ‘British stand-up is there with the best in the world ... It is great to see trailblazing stand-ups such as Billy Connolly and Robin Williams get the respect they deserve.

‘Both Connolly and Williams have consistently pushed the comedy envelope and whilst they may have more than 40 years of experience between them, they are still the funniest men on the planet.’

In fact, Connolly has 40 years experience alone, and Williams only marginally less.

The top 10 British comics were:

1. Billy Connolly
2. Morecambe and Wise
3. Victoria Wood
4. Eddie Izzard
5. Ben Elton
6. Peter Cook
7. Les Dawson
8. Lenny Henry
9. Sean Lock
10. Rik Mayall

And for the internationals:

1. Robin Williams
2. Spike Milligan
3. Dave Allen
4. Richard Pryor
5. Eddie Murphy
6. Chris Rock
7. Woody Allen
8. Steve Martin
9. Joan Rivers
10. Tim Minchin

Published: 30 Jan 2012

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