The Top 100: What we've learnt
Andrew Mickel22 June 2012
It's been a long old week rattling through the top 100: here's some lessons we've learnt.
- There are about 86 people who are claiming or given credit for finding and making McIntyre and Millican.
- We already mentioned on Monday that the biggest arguments were fought over whether influential figures from the eighties can still take credit for the current direction that comedy is headed. Interestingly, the same arguments don't seem to be replicated with their agents: the management figures who set up big-name agencies in the eighties are the same people who are getting programmes on TV to exclusively showcase their acts, and therefore guaranteeing solid audiences for their live shows. The flood of new comedians in recent years hasn't been matched a flood of new agents – yet.
- To save anyone counting the men:women split, it's 97:24.
- To save anyone counting the number of white:ethnic minorities split, it's 121:0.
- PRs and journos didn't rate well in the list, with only Chortle's Steve Bennett ranking. Whatever influence reviews have had on comedy in the past seems to be becoming more and more marginal as it becomes an easier to wade through a mass of online reviews to find a positive quote. For our two pennies, that seems like to make gold standard names like Bennett more powerful in future as trusted arbiters of taste.
- By contrast, writers continue to wield power, with all the creatives who have ranked high on the list penning shows that give platforms to other comedians. Pure performers seem to have done rather badly by comparison.
- The 'BBC needs to pull its finger out its arse if they're going to pull back any creative market share from Sky' narrative we've banged on about continually on SSP is strong, based on this list. It was a struggle to point to successes for the bulk of the Beeb's output, with Sky's nimbler commissioning policies, financial firepower and eye for fresh shows seeing them rightly entering the comedy hierarchy in double quick time.
- Some interesting facts we turfed up during research: Jongleurs' Maria Kempinska studied Jungian psychotherapy at university.
- Mick Perrin is Harry Enfield's brother-in-law.
- Peter Serafinowicz is Graham Linehan's brother-in-law.
- Addison Cresswell's brother Luke created Stomp, the sole supporters of the metal dustbin industry since 1991.
- Not that we vanished down a Wikipedia hole for a very long time or anything, but Luke Cresswell was also in a band called the Yes/No People who appeared in a 1991 CITV show, hosted by Fish Tank film director Andrea Arnold, alongside the poet Benjamin Zephaniah.
- We'd quite like to be at the Cresswells at Christmas, you know.
- The list's entries and exclusions which were most debated by contributors: Dara O'Briain, who is either being lined up as the next Jonathan Ross, or has pitched himself a little too perfectly as Dave's sarcastic frontman.
- Gervais has either peaked or he hasn't.
- McIntyre is a comedy genius or he isn't.
- Jongleurs is a bovine hellhole, or the venue to watch for mass taste-making.
- UKTV are the broadcaster to watch, or they're not.
- Rowan Atkinson is a bugger to quantify.
- Mel and Sue.
- Tim Key and Bill Bailey are either the vanguard of a musical comedy renaissance, or have had no impact in the sector beyond their own careers.
- Surprisingly, placing Billy Connolly at 100 required virtually no battling whatsoever.
- Some names who didn't make the list: no Munnery; no Chris Langham; no Roy Hudd. Make of that what you will.
- Banal but important statement: people empathise with comedians like them. The one woman contributor for the list fought French and Saunders to much higher on the list than they were originally put; ditto the only gay contributor and Graham Norton.
- Everyone involved in contributing to this list is petrified about who has been forgotten.
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