Female comics enjoy surge in popularity

image captionSarah Millican's success on the small screen has boosted her live box office

Female comics are enjoying a surge in popularity, with audiences flocking to see live acts including Miranda Hart and Sarah Millican.

Box office receipts for female stand-up comedians in the UK now account for 14% of all sales, up from just 2% in 2009, according to a new Ticketmaster report.

Millican and Hart have been the biggest live draws in the past five years, followed by Dawn French.

Lee Evans was the most popular comic, with Hart the highest rated female.

She finished joint 10th with Frankie Boyle in a survey of comedy gig attendees.

However, the number of people going to see female comedy acts has trebled since 2011, with the number of events involving female comics going up more than ten fold in the last five years.

Hart and Millican have had their own television shows in recent years, with the findings further revealing that more than half of total audiences are more likely to pay to see someone they have already watched on the small screen.

The pair also embarked on a series of major national tours in recent years, encompassing some of the UK's largest venues.


1. Lee Evans (pictured)

2. Michael McIntyre

3. Peter Kay

4. John Bishop

5. Jimmy Carr

Source: Ticketmaster's State of Play: Comedy report

However, Australian comedy act Pam Ann, who has made less of an impact on mainstream TV, was placed fourth in the rundown of the most popular female comics.

Stand-up comic Shappi Khorsandi said: "It's great to see the surge in female comedians, stamping out the prejudice. We have still further to go though, I'd like to see more female comics enjoying the dominance that men do on the bigger stages.

"Perhaps we are not capturing the public's imagination in the same way, but it is all changing for the better," she added.

The State of Play: Comedy report also examined audience behaviour at live concerts, revealing that less than a quarter of respondents saying they have heckled a performer.

In 2014, they are more likely to check their mobile phone at regular intervals during the gig (32%).

Ticketmaster surveyed 2499 members of the public including 1259 people who had attended live gigs.

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