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Liverpool audiences toughest to crack say Brit comedians.

LONDON, Friday 15th April 2011: Heckles, joke theft and stage fright – all in a day’s work for British stand-ups – according to a new report from comedy channel Dave.

Perrier Award-winning stand-up Daniel Kitson has been named by his contemporaries as the best British stand-up of all time in a wide ranging survey of UK-based comedians released today.

The study which provides a fascinating insight into the daily lives of stand-up comics also names Liverpool as the city with the toughest audiences and reveals that 31% of comedians admit to suffering intense stage fright before they go on stage.

The study which was specially commissioned by Dave – the home of witty banter – to mark their new series of ‘Dave’s One Night Stand’ which launches on the 14th April at 9pm, and is the first survey of British based stand-ups ever compiled. Led by renowned comedy critic Bruce Dessau, the research involved one-to-one interviews with over a hundred comedians including the likes of Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Tim Vine, Dave Gorman, Rhod Gilbert, Mark Watson, Jason Byrne and Greg Davies.

The results provide a fascinating overview of the nation’s regional responses to humour.  Liverpool was named as the city with the toughest live audiences with 18% of the comedians admitting they have to work harder to get a scouse audience laughing.

The majority of stand-ups who voted for the Merseyside region chose it because audience members often think they are funnier than the acts they’ve paid to go and see. Nottingham was voted as the second hardest place to crack (5%), followed by Maidstone in Kent.

Conversely, the regional audiences that are the most receptive to British stand-up comedy were named as the Midlands with two in ten (21%) comedians voting for the region. The place where political jokes go down best was London and the South East with 39% of those polled stating that satirical humour goes down better with sardonic fans in the South East.

The study also suggests that while more and more young people are attending comedy gigs, they aren’t always laughing once they get there. A whopping 46% of the comedians surveyed noted that the 18 – 25 year old age group were the hardest to raise a chuckle from and tended to have a ‘too cool for school’ attitude. One comedian quipped that “young audiences are often too busy texting to listen”. In contrast, the ideal age range for a comedy audience was said to be 26-33 year olds.

When it came to revealing which regional audiences heckles the most, the North West came out top with 29% of the votes, followed by Scotland with 18% – and rather than just ignoring the comments, almost two thirds (65%) of comedians say they immediately react with a pithy put-down.

Tough audiences often mean that nerves can play a big part in a stand-up’s act and it would seem that stage fright amongst comedians is rife, with 31% of those polled admitting to suffering so severely that they are physically sick moments before going on stage.

When discussing the sensitive subject of alcohol use during a gig, contrary to popular belief over two thirds (70%) of comedians revealed that they never drink before going on stage worrying that alcohol may hinder rather than enhance their performances. Referring to the sensitive subject of joke stealing revealed that over half (55%) of stand-ups had been the victims of joke theft. However, rather than running to the nearest lawyer, a quarter (25%) of comedians admitted that there was little they could do about it and that imitation is sometimes the sincerest form of flattery.

The research study also reveals the stand-up’s favourite stand-up of all time. When asked to nominate the greatest UK comedy act, West Yorkshire-born Daniel Kitson was the clear favourite with almost a quarter of votes (24%), proving that he has a fiercely passionate following in the industry.

The 33 year old has defiantly carved out a niche for himself and resists offers to appear on TV, preferring to appear live at festivals and gigs. He narrowly beat Billy Connolly (20%) who was arguably the first UK comedian who really popularised the modern genre of honest, self-authored storytelling. Eddie Izzard came third with 13% of votes, ahead of old school stand-up Tommy Cooper with 7% of the votes. Interestingly, two comedians refused to vote for their greatest UK stand-up stating that “all-time hasn’t happened yet”!

Finally, when asked who they thought was the most offensive stand-up in the UK was today, 14% of comedians voted for Frankie Boyle, just ahead of Jerry Sadowitz with 12%.

Commenting on the survey, Dave’s channel head, Steve North said “Being a stand up has to be one of the hardest jobs in the world. And these guys do it for fun! It’s great to hear from the Dave One Night Stand Up Survey that audiences are making the comedians work for their laughs. The better they get, the better the entertainment.”

Dave’s One Night Stand features a host of stand up comedians returning to their home towns to perform a single comedy gig. Featuring Chris Addison, Dave Gorman, Jason Byrne, Mark Watson and Greg Davies, the series will premiere exclusively on Dave weekly from Thursday 14th April at 9pm.

Press Contact: Taylor Herring PR


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