King of the world!

McIntyre is the planet's best-selling comic

Michael McIntyre was the biggest selling live comedian in the world last year, earning almost as much from touring as The Rolling Stones.

The comic grossed $33.9m (about £21m) from ticket sales for his Showtime tour according to concert trade publication Pollstar, outselling the likes of Aerosmith and only just falling short of The Stones ($35.5m), making him the 36th biggest selling live act overall.

Madonna topped the ranking ($296.1m), based on information from agents, managers and promoters, with Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band ($210.2m) and Roger Waters ($186.4m) in second and third place.

He also sold the third highest average number of tickets per venue (49,165), at an average price of of $53.04 (about £33) a ticket, only slightly behind Metallica and country stars Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw.

His profit margins should compare favourably with music acts, though, as the overheads of one man and a mic, even in an arena setting, are considerably lower.

Showtime played 73 arena dates to more than 639,000 people, including ten nights at the O2 in London. The scale of the tour earned him a nomination in the comedy section of last year’s US-dominated Billboard Touring Awards, which recognise ‘box office success and industry achievement’, alongside Flight Of The Conchords and American ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, who took the gong.

And the DVD was likely to have been the biggest-selling live comedy title of the year, after spending more weeks at No 1 than its only serious competitor, Mrs Brown’s Boys.

As recently as 2006 McIntyre was £40,000 in debt, telling the Daily Mail last year:‘The days when I couldn’t pay the rent and used a salvaged microwave as a dining table seem a world away. Yet I haven’t forgotten just how tough it can be.’

- by Jay Richardson

Published: 7 Jan 2013

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