It will be a Good Friday for Leicester as Leicester Comedy Festival launches event

By Abigail Beresford

Leicester Comedy Festival is set to celebrate Leicestershire talent through virtual showcase ‘Leicester’s Good Friday’ to raise money for the live entertainment scene in Leicester.

The event is set to go ahead on Friday, April 2, at 7pm to showcase talents of Leicester, and to raise money for the arts and entertainment industry in Leicester.

Guests are set to include Grace Petrie, Jess Green, The Bed & Breakfast Men, Seetal Kaur, Kesha Raithatha and other fantastic talents.

“All the sets for this performance will be filmed in empty Leicester venues, following all the relevant Covid guidelines to ensure the artists and crew are safe,” said Geoff Rowe, the founding director of Leicester Comedy Festival.

“We hope people will watch the final show and be reminded of what a great cultural city Leicester is.”

Leicester has suffered during the coronavirus pandemic, surpassing 100-days in the national lockdown in the toughest restrictions. This has had a damaging impact on the arts and entertainment industry in Leicester.

“Hardly any live performances have taken place in Leicester for 12 months and we know artists, promoters, and venues have found it a really tough period,” added Mr Rowe.

“If this performance can help sustain the people involved, and make sure everyone can bounce back when things open again, that has to be a good thing.”

People are being encouraged to donate to the fundraising event, alongside the purchase of their ticket to show support for the Leicestershire Arts.

The profits made from the event will be given to support venues and the artists that are taking part.

Tickets are £1 to attend, but people are being encouraged to donate to the fundraising event. 

Tickets are available to purchase at https://comedy-festival.co.uk/event/leicesters-good-friday/ .

VIP Package announced for Leicester Comedy Festival 2021

By Erik Dawson

Leicester Comedy Festival is offering a ‘Leicester Comedy festival VIP pass’ for its newly streamed comedy festival in February 2021.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the annual Leicester Comedy Festival has been forced to move largely onto online streamed performances.

Together with its streaming partners NextUp Comedy, the team are offering a VIP pass for £59, which will include access to more than 60 shows, a free one year NextUp Comedy membership and a mystery gift.

The festival will be taking place from the 3-21 February next year, with appearances from comedians such as Ed Byrne, Ian Stirling and Al Murray already confirmed.

More information can be found on Leicester Comedy Festival’s website.

Lauren Pattison confirms new date for her show at Leicester Comedy Festival

By Beatriz Abreu Ferreira

Lauren Pattison has announced on Twitter she will be performing at next year’s Leicester Comedy Festival, which runs from February 3 to 21.

The comedian was in Leicester for the 2020 edition of the Comedy Festival and has now confirmed she will be returning in 2021 with her work-in-progress show Party of One.

“My first preview of what should have been my 2020 show was in Leicester and I thought ‘you know I think I’m onto something with this show.’ Anyway then a global pandemic happened so let’s start again in 2021 – same title, same venue, new show … hopefully, ”she wrote.

Lauren Pattison plays Peter Pizzeria on February 21. To find out more about the comedy festival visit: https://comedy-festival.co.uk/

Leicester Comedy Festival announces its return in 2021 with COVID-19 safety measures

By Adam Rear

The Big Difference Company, the charity in charge of producing the Leicester Comedy Festival, has announced that both Leicester Comedy Festival and The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival will be running in 2021.

Running from the February 3-21, the star-studded line-up for the 2021 festival includes big names such as Ed Byrne, Angela Barnes, Larry Dean, Stewart Lee, Zoe Lyons, Al Murray and Iain Stirling, as well as over a hundred more confirmed acts and many more to be announced in the future.

Al Murray: One of the headline acts for the upcoming 2021 Leicester Comedy Festival

Tickets will be available online and, in following with Government guidelines, the NHS Test and Trace system will be in use throughout the venues, as well as other safety measures.

Geoff Rowe, founder and Director of Leicester Comedy Festival & The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival, is hoping to shake away the winter blues in 2021.

“We are frankly delighted to be back in 2021 with our two festival programmes.  Since the end of our most successful festival to date back in February this year, the world has changed beyond all belief and there have been times when, like many people, we weren’t sure what the future would hold.”

A variety of additional safety measures will be put into place, including reduced capacities of shows, socially distanced seating and extra time between shows will be allocated for additional cleaning.

Big Difference is also excited to announce the return of an exciting fundraising event called the Stand-Up Challenge, which is due to take place in June 2021.

The headline name for the upcoming summer event is Jon Ashworth, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Member of Parliament for Leicester South.

“They laughed when I said I was going to do stand-up, well they ain’t laughing now,” he said.

“I can’t believe I’ve agreed to do stand-up. But it’s all for charity and sitting opposite Boris Johnson in the Commons has given me plenty of material.”

The Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition has been postponed until June 2021. Fans of the event fear not, a ‘Best of Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year’ show will be held on Saturday, February 22, showcasing the return of previous festival comedians who either won or were nominated in previous years.

For more information about tickets, dates, acts, safety measures and more, head to www.comedy-festival.co.uk and www.ukkidscomedyfestival.co.uk.

Leicester Comedy Festival review: Jo Brand and guests at De Montfort Hall

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Review by Olivia Maclaughlin

Tonight’s line up featured Eshaan Akbar, Arthur Smith, Ivan Brackenbury, Hal Cruttenden, Jo Brand, a barking dog and a man in the front row who came to watch, and ended up on stage.

In a night supporting the Big Difference Company, the charity behind the comedy festival, the entertainment didn’t stop right from the moment the host Phil Nichol stepped on stage.

That isn’t to say there weren’t moments that weren’t planned. Like the dog, making an unplanned guest appearance by barking at the back of the room. Thinking on his feet, Nichol made it part of his act.

He made connections throughout the crowd, whether four-legged or not, especially a man in the front row, who became a running gag whenever Nichol returned to the stage.

By the end of this two-and-a-half hour fundraiser, Neil had been lured on to the stage, and was singing while the audience chanted for him.

The line-up all brought their own different styles, ensuring there was something for everyone.

Akbar was first on, and brought political commentary and self-deprecation to stage which appealed to the younger members of the audience, but brought a tut from one woman near me.

She was keener on Arthur Smith, the godfather of British comedy, who came pre-armed with crowd-pleasing puns and a comedy poem. But at the end he recited a poem about kindness which allowed for moments of sincerity and added another level to the show.

Sometimes using using a gag over and over again doesn’t work, but with Brackenbury it did. His hospital radio DJ act has been around for a few years, but his songs and simple one liners got us back in the swing of things after the break.

After this came Cruttenden, immediately confessing to looking like Mr Tumble. Well, the crowd was thinking it too. His routine mined a rich seam of gags from marriage and turning 50.

Last up was Brand, who appeared from behind the red curtain to thunderous applause, and commanded the room from joke one.

Never one to shy from cheek-blushing comedy, she tore into topics about weight and the menopause, along with her life with her husband and two daughters.

She’s a natural storyteller, and showed just why she has lasted so long in comedy.

A perfect way to end an hilarious night.