by Hans ten Cate
Sunday, 2 January 2005

John Cleese has been voted the second greatest comic of all time, after Peter Cook - so say the comedy experts. More than 300 comedians, comedy writers, producers and directors in the United States as well as Britain were asked to rank the 50 biggest names in comedy.

Eric Idle also made the list at #21, as did Michael Palin at #30.

Cook was named the world’s most talented comedian, followed by Cleese in second place, then American film-maker Woody Allen and the late Eric Morecambe.

The list of 50 top comedians was compiled for the Channel 4 show The Comedians’ Comedian, which aired January 1, 2005 and was hosted by Jimmy Carr. Those who contribute to the program include Mike Myers, Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer, Jackie Mason, Joan Rivers, Sid Ceasar, David Baddiel, Barry Cryer, Steven Wright, Bill Oddie, Eric Sykes, Harry Shearer, Greg Proops, Leslie Neilsen and Carl Reiner. The show aired at 9:00 PM and ran for 3 hours.

The 50 top comedians are:

1. Peter Cook
2. John Cleese
3. Woody Allen
4. Eric Morecambe
5. Groucho Marx
6. Tommy Cooper
7. Laurel and Hardy
8. Billy Connolly
9. Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer
10. Richard Pryor
11. Chris Morris
12. Tony Hancock
13. Bill Hicks
14. Peter Sellers
15. Steve Martin
16. Ronnie Barker
17. Steve Coogan
18. Charlie Chaplin
19. Eddie Izzard
20. Paul Merton
21. Eric Idle
22. Peter Kay
23. Larry David
24. Rowan Atkinson
25. Bob Hope

26. Harry Hill
27. Victoria Wood
28. Spike Milligan
29. Christopher Guest
30. Michael Palin
31. French and Saunders
32. Eddie Murphy
33. Bob Monkhouse
34. Rik Mayall
35. Steven Wright
36. Ken Dodd
37. Les Dawson
38. Chic Murray
39. Stephen Fry
40. Joan Rivers
41. Joyce Grenfell
42. Phil Silvers
43. Jackie Mason
44. Eric Sykes
45. Robin Williams
46. Paul Whitehouse
47. Bill Cosby
48. Mike Myers
49. Ricky Gervais
50. Mel Brooks