John Bishop performed stand-up comedy for the first time in October 2000, and the following year made it to the final of all the major new act competitions, including So You Think You're Funny, the Daily Telegraph Open Mic Awards, the BBC New Comedy Awards and the City Life North West Comedian of The Year Award, which he won.
Prior to his career in comedy, John worked as a sales director for a pharmaceutical company; in the late 1980s he worked as a Medical Representative for pharmaceutical company Syntex, which subsequently merged with Hoffmann–La Roche. He also played semi-professional football for clubs including Southport and Hyde United.
In 2002, John Bishop was named best newcomer by BBC Radio Merseyside, and in 2004 he won the North West Comedy Award for best stand-up. In 2009, he appeared as the first act on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow in Manchester. That year he appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where his show Elvis Has Left The Building was nominated for an "Eddie" (Edinburgh Comedy Award).
In 2009 he appeared in Channel 4's short series Comedy Showcase, and was a contestant on Celebrity Mastermind. He has appeared five times on 5 Live's Fighting Talk quiz show, claiming four victories on the programme.
John Bishop’s material is drawn from his life's experiences, including fatherhood; cycling around the world; playing semi-professional football; and working as a nightclub doorman. His first television appearance was on the Channel 4 panel show 8 out of 10 Cats before he appeared on the BBC's Live at the Apollo which has rendered him as more of a noticeable comedian. In December 2009, John started his own TV programme on LFC TV called John Bishop meets…, where he interviews former Liverpool football legends.
John Bishop is a regular panelist on the Sky1 show, A League of Their Own, as well as a stand-up/sketch show for BBC One entitled John Bishop's Britain. In 2010, Bishop took part in Channel 4's Comedy Gala, a benefit show held in aid of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, filmed live at the O2 Arena in London on 30 March.
He appeared on BBC programme Have I Got News For You and Would I Lie To You? as a guest, and hosted an episode of the 40th series of Have I Got News For You in October 2010.
Aside from live stand-up, John Bishop has achieved huge success with a number of his own comedy, entertainment and documentary shows including ‘John Bishop’s Australia’ (BBC1), ‘John Bishop’s Britain’ (BBC1), ‘John Bishop’s Only Joking’ (Sky1), ‘The John Bishop Show’ (BBC1), ‘The John Bishop Christmas Show’ (BBC1) and ‘John Bishop’s Gorilla Adventure’ (ITV1). And in 2016 John turned his hand to something completely different – interviewing. ‘John Bishop: In Conversation With…’ saw him chatting, one on one, with some of the UK’s biggest names from the world of entertainment, sport and music to discover the people behind the public persona, in 10 intimate and revealing one hour interviews on the W Channel.