Funny old world

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The joke, it would appear, is on us. It is certainly not on them. The news that some of our top comics, the likes of Jasper Carrott, Rowan Atkinson, Jennifer Saunders, Adrian Edmondson, Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith, are multimillionaires may not come as a complete shock, but the scale of their wealth is certainly a little startling. Some, predictably enough, wonder if mere comics are worth it.

The joke, it would appear, is on us. It is certainly not on them. The news that some of our top comics, the likes of Jasper Carrott, Rowan Atkinson, Jennifer Saunders, Adrian Edmondson, Griff Rhys Jones and Mel Smith, are multimillionaires may not come as a complete shock, but the scale of their wealth is certainly a little startling. Some, predictably enough, wonder if mere comics are worth it.

Take Mr Carrott. The Brummie comedian, via his corporate vehicle, Jasper Carrott Complete Communications, is worth some £32m. He is still a familiar face on our TV screens, but his best work is firmly in the back catalogue, notably his 1976 hit single "Funky Moped". A more telling satire of the pretensions of the two-wheeled adolescent suburban male it would be hard to find. Jasper's worth every penny.

The Carrott example is not unique. Griff Rhys Jones makes more money from dressing up in costume to advertise Vauxhall cars than he does from proper comedy these days. Much the same could be said for several others. It may well be that the older and richer they are, the less funny the funny folk become. At any rate they've done well out of it. In terms of the bottom line, we've been a wonderful audience.

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