Kay's winning formula ­ no politics, no sex and mum's seal of approval

He avoids jokes about sex and politics, never swears and is renowned for getting his mum's seal of approval for his work. And, a survey shows, we love Peter Kay for it, shunning other comedy greats to vote him our favourite comedian.

He avoids jokes about sex and politics, never swears and is renowned for getting his mum's seal of approval for his work. And, a survey shows, we love Peter Kay for it, shunning other comedy greats to vote him our favourite comedian.

The mastermind behind Phoenix Nights and its spin-off Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere beat Billy Connolly, Ricky Gervais and Eddie Izzard in a poll by Jongleurs Comedy Clubs, believed to be the largest of its kind carried out in Britain.

Heavyweight comedians, such as Peter Sellers, Tony Hancock and Eric Morecambe were curiously absent from a list of our 21 favourite comedians, derived from a survey of 10,000 audience members made by the comedy club.

With the exception of Tommy Cooper, who came in 11th, and Bill Hicks, listed at number 20, the audiences voted for relatively young acts still performing, ignoring old favourites.

Laurence Miller, managing director of Jongleurs, said the focus on new talent may be because voters were asked to think of their own favourites rather than be presented with a prepared list, but he is upbeat about the results.

"It is a very exciting list of people who are very much contemporary and working in the business. If you look back, comedians have always used past acts to inspire them.

"The Crazy Gang led to The Goons, you then had Inspector Clouseau and Monty Python following on from that. Comedians today still use older comedians for their acts. If you look at Lee Evans, his work has a direct line to Norman Wisdom. Peter Kay's comedy draws very much on the gentler observational humour of past decades.

"The thing with Peter is that he does his work on TV, but he also does a lot live, which is so important in keeping fresh and knowing what is going to make audiences laugh. It is true of all of those in the top five; they all appear regularly on TV, but they are doing stand-up too. It's a really important part of keeping your work fresh."

Kay, 31, has had a meteoric career. His latest DVD, That Peter Kay Thing, was the fastest-selling title of last year. Peter Kay Live at the Bolton Albert Hall pulled in audiences of millions when it was broadcast last summer, and was the fastest-selling live comedy act when it went out on DVD.

The comedian, who still lives in Bolton, Lancashire, remains modest about his success, saying: "I show everything to my mum. If she doesn't get it, I cut it out or reshoot it."

The poll also showed we are more likely to be tickled by local talent. Kay was favourite in the North, Billy Connolly won the vote in Scotland, and Lee Evans was number one in the South. The Office star Gervais was favourite with comedy fans in London and Wales.

Gervais said: "I'm very flattered. It's great to be liked in London where I live because now I know it's safe to walk the streets. It's even better to be number one in Wales because I've always wanted to see Max Boyce angry. Did he at least beat Anne Robinson?"

THE TOP 21 COMICS

1: Peter Kay

2: Billy Connolly

3: Lee Evans

4: Ricky Gervais

5: Eddie Izzard

6: Jack Dee

7: Roy Chubby Brown

8: Graham Norton

9: Jo Brand

10: Jimmy Carr

11: Tommy Cooper

12: Bill Bailey

13: Dawn French

14: Frank Skinner

15: Steve Coogan

16: Al Murray

17: Lee Hurst

18: Harry Hill

19: Jasper Carrott

20: Bill Hicks

21: Lily Savage

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Marketing - London

£60000 - £85000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Interim Head of Marketing / Marketin...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Digital Project Manager

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Digital Project Manager is needed to join an exciti...

Paid Search Analyst / PPC Analyst

£24 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Paid Search Analyst / PPC...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week