The big 2-0

Leicester Comedy Festival celebrates its birthday with a mammoth line-up

It might not be the ultimate prize... but one female punter will win a night out with a comedian at a Comedy Blind Date night.

It is one of several special events coming to next year’s Leicester Comedy Festival, which unveils its 2013 line-up this morning.

Now in its 20th year, the UK’s oldest comedy-only festival  hopes a raft of special events will help it stand out from the many similar festivals that have sprung up across the country.

Its programme launch comes as stand-up Jason Cook announced plans for a new comedy festival in Hebburn, Tyneside, to celebrate his BBC Two sitcom of the same name.

‘I’ve got plans to promote the [football] club and the town, by organising a Hebburn comedy festival, with some of the biggest names in stand-up,’ he told the local Shields Gazette.

The Leicester festival, sponsored by the Dave TV channel and running fro 17 days from February 8, will feature a massive 517 shows spread across over 50 venues.

As well as the comedy Blind Date, its programme includes:

  • A show celebrating comics over 55, called Old Folks Telling Jokes, which will then go on tour later in the year.

  • Playing For Laughs: An industry panel discussion about the past 20 years of live British comedy with Nica Burns, producer of the Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, Comedy Store founder Don Ward, comedy critic Kate Copstick and blogger John Fleming.

  • Ideal Night Out, in which Johnny Vegas and other cast members from the BBC Three show Ideal pick out favourite moments from the show and dub over a chosen episode live.

  • A return of the Secret Tour in which comedy fans book tickets for three shows, without knowing what they will be; Hotel D’Comedie, with comedians performing in hotel rooms; Comedy In The Dark; and Dave’s Curry House, mixing comedy with Indian food.

  • Showcases of Danish comedians thanks to a tie-in with Copenhagen’s Zulu Comedy Festival.

  • Brief Encounters, an exhibition of 20 comedians’ photographs, taken by Andy Hollingworth, which will go on display at Leicester railway station.

The full programme is available here.

Published: 26 Nov 2012

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