With the rise of short, light-heated online content, it’s no surprise that the divide between journalists and comedians is thinner than ever. Perhaps that’s why more hacks are taking their skills to the stage.

You can read more about that in this year’s XCity but here we’ve found six surprising celebs who prove it’s not just journalists who have been bitten by the stand-up bug:

Eric Bana

The star of Ang Lee’s Hulk (2003) didn’t start out smashing tanks. Before he got superpowers, Bana toured Australia performing sketch and stand-up comedy. Just don’t heckle during his show – you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

Richard Bacon

Richard Bacons talked about being fired from Blue Peter in his first ever stand-up gig during the 2010 Edinburgh Festival. It goes about as well as first gigs tend to go, with the only difference being that Bacon’s bombing went out live on BBC radio. We’d say stick to presenting Blue Peter, but… well, you know.


Admitting she is a “closet comedian” on The Tonight Show may not have been the smartest idea. Proceeding to make her stand-up debut right there on TV definitely wasn’t. Still, don’t be disheartened Madge. You just needs some new Material, Girl.

Tony Blair

The former Prime Minister has admitted that he started life as a “really dire” stand-up comedian. He also acted in TV skits, including a Star Trek parody in which he played “Captain Kink”. Presumably the sketch lost its way a bit when the Captain ordered the invasion of a planet on the pretence it had WMDs.

Tom Hanks

While he was still on the brink of fame, Hanks took to performing stand-up to rehearse for his role as a struggling comic in Punchline (1998). Fittingly enough Hanks struggled, but wasn’t terrible.

Christopher Hitchens

You might assume someone as funny, confident and fond of heavy drinking as Hitchens would have killed it as a comic. That assumption was quickly destroyed in 2003 when he hosted Late Night Hitch, billed as an hour-long of stand-up set. He only lasted half an hour.

Read more about stand-up in the upcoming edition of XCity.

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