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02 Aug 2010

The comedy industry is up in arms over a recent poll naming Gavin and Stacy stars James Corden and Mat Horne as the greatest comedy duo of all time.

The pair, whose BBC3 sketch show was a flop and was even branded a mistake by Corden himself, beat comedy legends Morecambe and Wise to the top spot.

The survey has been branded "futile" by comedy website which mocks Corden and Horne's success in comparison to other stalwarts of the British comedy scene.

"Horne and Corden made a single series of a BBC Three sketch show which attracted at best 800,000 viewers," wrote a Chortle reporter.

"Morecambe and Wise had a career that spanned 43 years, peaking with the 28million viewers who tuned in to their 1977 Christmas special."

In the poll, run by obscure online TV service, Corden and Horne received 16% of the votes, with Morecambe and Wise taking 15%, followed by David Walliams and Matt Lucas and Peter Kay and Paddy McGuinness.

Paul Jenkinson, cofounder of Morecambe and Wise tribute site also questioned the result of the survey.

"I do like Gavin and Stacy, but to be the greatest comedy duo you need more than just popularity, you need longevity," he said. "If they are still going in 40 years then I would say they deserve the title."

He also pointed out that Corden and Horne are different types of comedians to the likes of Morecambe and Wise who honed their skills performing in working mens' clubs and learning how to handle a live audience before becoming TV stars.

Tim Clark, editor of comedy website agreed.

"The poll is trying to compare comedians from completely different genres," he said.

"Surveys to find the 'best comedy star of all time' are becoming more popular, but you have to take them with a pinch of salt as they often end up just looking at who is the most popular at the time."

The uproar over the SeeSaw survey comes just days after a Foster's beer poll was set up to find the "Foster's Comedy God".

The attempt by the sponsors of the Edinburgh Comedy Awards to find one comedy great from the last 30 years was criticised by comedian Stewart Lee and has sparked a Twitter campaign for the most obscure entry to win.

On his official website, Mr Lee said the poll was "poorly thought out" as it was not fair to list different eras of comedians alongside each other, particularly as some of the older favourites had little or no prominence on the likes of YouTube.

His protest vote for the little-known the Japanese female art duo Frank Chickens resonated with many fans who have since promoted the cause on Twitter, sending the unknown pair to first place.

If they scoop the prize, perhaps it will put an end to the PR-driven surveys that so irk the comedy world.


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