Russell Brand, Ricky Gervais, Noel Fielding and more - a look back at famous noughties comedians from stand-up and TV
From Noel Fielding, to Matt Lucas and Russell Brand - UK comedy had some characters on the scene in the 2000s
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It's fair to say that there's a prevailing opinion that everything seemed better 10 to 20 years ago. And that's exactly what is often said about comedy on stand-up and TV all those years ago.
Either the world was a much less sensitive place and jokes that felt targeted came across as much less malicious, or we lived in some sort of bubble where we had not yet been awakened to the impact some of these punchlines were having.
NationalWorld has compiled a nostalgic look back at some of the biggest and - arguably - best UK comedians from the 2000s.
Russel Brand's career began as a stand-up comedian in 2000 before he landed a radio gig on XFM and then BBC 6 Music.
Never far from controversy, Brand lost his job as an MTV presenter in 2001 after he turned up dressed as Bin Laden a day after the 9/11 attacks in the US. Despite this, his career took a turn for the better when he landed the gig to host Big Brother's Big Moth on E4 in the middle of the decade.
In more recent years, Brand has cut out a following on the fringes - particularly on YouTube - where he talks about conspiracy theories, including some linked to Covid-19.
In September 2023, Russell Brand made headlines after being accused of sexual assault by four women - claims he has strongly denied through social media.
After entering comedy as a teenager, Russell Howard began to become known to a wider audience through his appearances on shows like Mock the Week and 8 Out of 10 Cats.
From this, he landed his own show - Russell Howard's Good News which first aired in 2009. The show went on the become BBC Three's highest-ever rated entertainment series.
Howard has since launched other new TV shows - namely with Sky - and toured his live stand-up show too.
Arguably the most famous British comedian ever. Ricky Gervais stands alone here as one of the only UK comedians to be able to gain significant popularity in the US.
His fame first grew thanks to the UK Office which started on the BBC in 2001. From this, he starred in Extras
With seven BAFTA Awards, five British Comedy Awards, two Emmy Awards and three Golden Globes, Gervais is undoubtedly one of the most successful comedians of his era
More recently, Gervais has continued his success with shows like The Office and Extras.
Lenny Henry has a comedic career that dates back much further than the 2000s, but his famous show The Lenny Henry Show enjoyed a successful revival in this decade that fit in well with other comedic offerings at the time.
The Dudley-born comedian was one of the most prominent black comedians of his time and he is known for having co-founded Comic Relief in the 1980s.
During its 2004 revival, Henry was back performing brilliant sketches and one where he parodied duo OutKast's smash hit Hey Ya! lives long in the memory.
After performing as a stand-up comedian in the 1990s, Noel Fielding got his big break alongside Julian Barratt when the pair began hosting The Boosh on BBC Radio London in 2001.
This later materialised into a 20-episode TV show called The Mighty Boosh in 2004 which featured a unique format.
Each season focussed around a different setting, with the first season being set in a zoo, the second season in a flat, and the third and final season in a secondhand shop.
The show's success has seen Fielding remain in the spotlight thanks to shows like Never Mind the Buzzcocks and more recently with The Great British Bake Off.
If you want to test how British someone is, throw a gag at them from Peep Show and see if they understand the reference.
Peep Show started back in 2003 and has lived long in the memory since. It's still available to stream on Netflix.
The show follows two men - or 'boys' is perhaps more accurate- in their late 20s who live together as roommates.
The iconic show launched the comedic due Mitchell and Webb - not to mention the career of Hollywood icon Olivia Colman too.
David Mitchell - and Robert Webb - are both still active in comedy and Mitchell has starred in the Channel 4 comedy-drama Back in since 2017.
Another iconic British sketch show is Little Britain. The truly unforgettable show was all the rave in the mid-noughties and remains hugely influential.
Lucas became a household name after the show and he's remained in the public eye since with appearances in big films like Paddington (2014) and also with another sketch show 'Come Fly With Me' (2010-2011).
Just like Noel Fielding, Matt Lucas also enjoyed a stint on The Great British Bake Off.