Whether they’re laughing with us or at us is anyone’s guess but one thing’s for certain is that the people of Birmingham and the West Midlands rarely fall short of a chortle. I’m here on the streets of the city to find out from Brummies who their favourite homegrown comedians are.
But many people I spoke to struggled to think of a comedian from the West Midlands, despite there being so many to choose from. To name a few myself, there’s Joe Lycett, Frank Skinner, Jasper Carrott, Adil Ray, Lenny Henry, Tony Hancock, Darren Harriott, Shazia Mirza and Janice Connolly, Stewart Lee - and surprisingly even John Oliver of American talk show fame hails from Erdington.
As my experience has shown when asking these sorts of questions, often Brummies seem unaware of their own icons - so I thought I’d ask them why they think this is too. Here’s what they told me.
Francis says: “So I only know Joe Lycett and Jasper Carrott. Joe Lycett would be my favourite just because he’s the only one I’ve got any exposure to! I don’t really know any of Jasper currents material. I think Joe Lycett’s funny but he’s not my favourite comedian -but I do like him. I like what he stands for.”
Joseph says: “Definitely has to be Frank Skinner. Skinner and Baddiel was the first place that I ever saw him. And yeah, he’s just hilarious.”
Annette says: “I think it’s because we are very friendly and that we we haven’t got that sort of… we have got pride in our city, but we haven’t got that competitive edge sometimes that we’ve got with other cities and I think we need to start developing it and start to be aware that if we don’t stick up for our people who else is gonna stick up for them?”