Survey of the stars shows Cancerians are laughing, but Leos will fail to raise a smile

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Heard the one about the comedian born under the star sign Leo? No need to worry. It probably wasn't funny anyway.

It seems that those born between 24 July and 23 August would be wise not to pursue a career in stand-up after a survey found that Leo was the unfunniest sign in the zodiac.

The study of more than 300 comic actors and performers found that just 6 per cent of Britain's funny men and women were born under Leo, which is unsurprisingly associated by astrologers with the qualities of fire rather than mirth.

The most popular star sign for comedians is Cancer - boasting 11 per cent of the nation's comic talent, including Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Saunders, Peter Kay, Richard Wilson and Meera Syal.

By contrast, Leos can only boast of Joe Pasquale, Brian Conley and David Walliams.

The second funniest sign was Virgo, whose ranks include Stephen Fry and Keith Allen. The second least-funny sign was Capricorn, which boasts Rowan Atkinson and Caroline Aherne.

Astrologers insisted that there was reason behind the findings of the survey, carried out for television channel UKTV Gold.

Russell Grant, the celebrity star-watcher, said: "Leos are the natural showmen and entertainers of the zodiac so this result is a surprise, but maybe they are stronger at scripted gags.

"The finding that Cancerians are the funniest doesn't surprise me because Jupiter, the planet of joy and happiness, is so at home there. Cancer is the sign of the stomach - so it's appropriate to be the sign of the belly laugh too."

Another study published earlier this year found that Liverpudlians, whose ranks include Ken Dodd and Paul O'Grady, were the most likely people to induce Britons to laugh.

Scousers were found to be twice as likely to raise a smile than the average. The least mirthful were the Welsh, who caused three times fewer laughs than the national daily average of 14.