£21m? You're havin' a laugh: Michael McIntyre profits from latest comedy tour
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Wednesday 09 January 2013
Comedy has been touted as the new rock’n’roll
ever since Newman and Baddiel played Wembley in the 1990s. But now Michael
McIntyre has proved the point by taking £21m – nearly as much as the
Rolling Stones – from his latest tour.
McIntyre may have been dubbed “comedy Marmite” but 639,000 fans flocked to see his latest show, making him the most successful stand up in the world last year, according to figures from ticket sales tracker Pollstar,.
While the London-born comic could not rival pop stars such as Madonna - who topped Pollstar’s table of top 100 Worldwide Tours in 2012 bringing in a staggering £184m - McIntyre was just £1m shy of the Stones’ sales. He was the only stand up among the top 50 touring acts.
Julian Hall, The Independent’s comedy critic, said: “McIntyre is a stadium comic, following the path pioneered by people like Lee Evans and Eddie Izzard. Yet judging by these figures he is almost in a category of his own.”
Due to the demand for tickets during last year’s tour across the UK and Ireland McIntyre extended the number of shows from 58 to 71. It made him the 36 biggest touring act beating Florence & The Machine and Aerosmith.
The 36-year old comedian played 10 nights at the O2 Arena in London as part of the tour, with Peter Kay the only comedian to do more.
“He’s got that mass appeal that crosses the boundaries between generations. You’re safe to give his DVD to your parents, but he still has a glint in his eye. The young also find his giddiness and momentum infectious,” Mr Hall said.
Comedy website Chortle acknowledged that while McIntyre was not a cutting edge comedian “in broad appeal arena-filling stand up, he remains the king.”
McIntyre also sells huge numbers of DVDs of his live shows. His latest release Showtime topped the official UK Comedy Stand-Up Chart on Christmas Day selling 65,000 copies that week alone.
Live and Laughing remains the biggest selling debut stand up DVD in the UK, while Hello Wembley became the fastest selling UK stand up DVD of all time. Combined they have sold over 2.5 million copies.
Mr Hall said: “His comedy is based off shared experiences and saying what the audience is thinking. There’s a communality we can all relate to when he riffs on things like going to the dentist.”
McIntyre is the son of comedy scriptwriter Ray Cameron, a script writer on Kenny Everett’s television shows and struggled for years to break into the comedy mainstream.
In 2003, he was nominated in the best newcomer category at the Edinburgh Festival, but his break TV break came with his first time appearance at the Royal Variety Performance in 2006.
He built his career on television doing Live at the Apollo as well as the rounds of television panel shows. His first tour of the UK came in 2009, and played to more than 500,000 people.
This mainstream appeal has also left him with a trail of critics, often from other comedians. Jonathan Ross and Lee Mack have both targeted McIntyre, while in one routine in 2009, Stewart Lee described his work as like “spoon feeding his audience warm diarrhoea”.
In interviews he has tended to shrug off the criticism, which has dogged him throughout his career. He once said: “Maybe people just can’t cope with how jovial I am.”
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
Glastonbury 2015 tickets: How to make sure you’re successful in Sunday's re-sale
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling