Sarah Millican tops list of best-selling female stand-up comedians as ticket sales boom

Ticket purchases for gigs by female comedians in the UK have trebled since 2011, with TV appearances a big influencer among comedy goers

Sarah Millican is the UK’s top-selling female stand-up comedian, while ticket purchases for female-fronted comedy shows as a whole have seen a huge increase in the past three years.

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Since 2011 ticket sales for live female comedy have trebled, with 14% of all tickets sold for comedy gigs in the UK for shows by top female comics. The figure was just 2% in 2009.

Miranda Hart, Dawn French, Pam Ann and Joan Rivers complete the top five highest-selling female comics since 2009 according to a study by Ticketmaster, which described women in the profession as enjoying “an unprecedented surge in popularity”. 

Michael McIntyre, Peter Kay, Lee Evans, Micky Flanagan and Jimmy Carr take the top five spots among the top-selling male comics. Evans, who is currently on tour, was also named the UK’s favourite comedian in a poll of 1259 comedy attendees. Hart was the only female comedian to make this list, placing joint tenth with Frankie Boyle.

Earlier this year talk, among comedians and broadcasters turned to the topic of how many women featured on TV panel shows. Interestingly, Ticketmaster’s survey (completed by 2499 members of the British public) also found that more than half of those heading to a comedy gig (51%) wouldn’t have paid for the ticket had they not seen the headliner on TV first.

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On the subject of a female/male divide, the survey revealed that while most comedy goers attend with their partners (39%) men believe they have a better sense of humour than their female partners. Reasons given included, “My comedy taste is more academic/cerebral/clever than my wife” and “I’m weirder than her”.