10 things you may not have known about the Leicester Comedy Festival | From its founder Geoff Rowe.... © 1997 Leicester Comedy Festival

10 things you may not have known about the Leicester Comedy Festival

From its founder Geoff Rowe....

LCF programme1. It all began in 1994 when the first festival included a show by Harry Hill where tickets were £2.50

2. The festival started as a nine-day event, then grew to ten in the second year. In 2010 the festival grew to 17 days and it now runs for 19.

Vegas3. The first ever winner of Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition was Stevie Knuckles. No one ever heard of him again. Since then, the competition has been won by acts such as Jason Manford, Johnny Vegas (right), Josh Widdicombe and Romesh Ranganathan.

4. There have been over 4,500 shows over the past 23 years; that's around 270,000 minutes of comedy, which would take about 27 solid days to watch it all.

5. Graham Norton performed stand-up at the festival in 1997 – above.

6. In 2011, the Queen sent a letter wishing the organisers luck with the festival.

7. In 2001 Paul Merton interviewed comedy legends Galton & Simpson live on stage at the festival; since then Sarah Millican, Jason Manford and Alexei Sayle have all been interviewed exclusively during the festival

Roseanne
8. In 2006 American comedian Roseanne Barr performed her first ever gigs outside America at the Leicester Comedy Festival; she was supported by Alan Carr.

9. The Guardian called it 'one of the best comedy festivals in the world'.

10. Japanese comedian Zenjiro flew in to perform at Leicester Comedy Festival 2003.

And for no particular reason, here's Bill Bailey at the 1997 festival.

Bailey

• This year's Published: 26 Jan 2017

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