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Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2016

The nation’s biggest and longest running comedy festival returns with a programme bursting with live comedy you can’t ignore
“One of best comedy festivals in the world” The Guardian

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival (3 – 21 February 2016) today launches its 2016 festival with a bumper brochure. The festival’s 23rd year is set to be its most diverse and inventive yet, making Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival the ideal destination for the seasoned comedy fan or someone just looking for a great night out.

Geoff Rowe, founder and Director of the festival said “February 2016 will see Leicester become the top UK destination for comedy & entertainment, as the festival brings together the huge variety of top British comedy talent, events, competitions and seminars. There is no better place for comedy fans to see their heroes live, discover fresh new talent and experience the thrill of live entertainment unique to the festival.”

Partnered for the fifth year by UKTV comedy channel Dave, Europe’s longest running comedy festival will include the now legendary UK Pun Championships, performances from the cream of the UK comedy crop, seminars on how comedy tackles the big issues of the day, exclusive events, performances from award winners, nominees and about-to-break-through-to-the-big-time talented young (and old) newcomers, celebrated with the Leicester Mercury comedian of the year Award and the Silver Stand Up Award, the festivals acknowledgement that with age and wisdom comes wit.

Steve North, General Manager of Dave said: “Our continued relationship with Leicester Comedy Festival has gone from strength to strength, winning awards and setting the bar for what a festival should be; unique, varied and a huge benefit to the city of Leicester and an ever expanding audience of comedy fans. This year, we are particularly excited about Dave Presents the UK Pun Championships and all the other unique events the festival offers.”

Highlights for 2016 include Vic & Bob, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Ryan, Josie Long, Steve Hall, Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year winner 2012 Romesh Ranganathan and 2015 Foster’s Comedy Awards Winner Sam Simmons and Best Newcomer Sofie Hagen. The festival continues to pay homage to its original patron comedy genius Sir Norman Wisdom with a staging of the play about his life, Wisdom of a Fool, written and performed by Jack Lane.

Further highlights will include shows from Abandoman, 2015 Foster’s Best Newcomer nominees Adam Hess and Tom Parry, 2015 Foster’s Best Comedy nominees James Acaster and Nish Kumar, Andrew Lawrence, Andy Zaltzman, Chris Ramsey, Dane Baptiste, David O’Doherty, Elis James, Felicity Ward, Gary Delaney, Henning Wehn, Joe Lycett, 2014 Foster’s Comedy Award winner John Kearns, Luisa Omielan and Ellie Taylor, Mark Dolan, Mitch Benn, Pappys, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee: The Intimate Magic Tour, Richard Herring, Rob Newman, Rory McGrath, Shappi Khorsandi and Tom Stade.

Dave presents the UK Pun Championships and History of the British Pun Seminar

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival has a tradition of creating unique events and competitions, from the long running Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year competition to the search for the best Silver Stand Up. 2016 sees the return of Dave Presents the UK Pun Championships, now in its third year, presented by Dave and hosted by Lee Nelson. Taking the format of a ‘rap battle’ topics are picked randomly on the night and competitors then take it in turns to pun about the topic. Described by Chortle as “an annual comedy fixture” with “a pantomime atmosphere; hits are cheered, misses are groaned.” Last year’s winner Leo Kearse is now an established performer in the stand up scene. And in celebration of the longstanding British tradition of puns, a seminar discussing the history and development of punning in the UK comes to the festival for the first time.

2016 Highlights include:

Odd Couples: A show inspired by the much-loved Mr and Mrs television show, comedians are partnered and must compete to be crowned odd couple of the year.

Seminar on politics and free speech: Political comedy has undergone a renaissance in the last couple of years, with the new generation of comedians railing against the diminishing opportunities available to them, everyday sexism and the shrinking of the state that so benefitted previous generations. An event for anyone keen to find out more about how comedy can be a tool for change.

Seminar on comedy and mental health and wellbeing: A discussion about performing comedy and its effects on the wellbeing of the mind, this seminar is a must for anyone embarking on a comedy career, or keen to learn more about the ‘sadness of a clown’.

Wisdom of a Fool: a one-man play about festival patron Norman Wisdom’s rise to success as a young performer

Returning festival favourites will include:

● Comedy in the Dark: This innovative show is a homegrown festival creation which has gone on to delight audiences with the lights out all over the country. Senses are heightened, language takes on new life and laughter sounds even louder in the dark.

● Euroversity Challenge: returns for its second year. A top team of international comedians vie for the title of Cleverest Nation in Europe! A mash up of the Eurovision Song Contest and University Challenge, expect madness and mayhem, music and mirth ... and possibly the odd question (probably very odd).

● Hotel D’Comedie: Another original festival creation which has audiences checking in year after year; this intimate site-specific comedy experience at Hotel Maiyango.

● Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year is an annual sell out. This 22 year old competition, judged by the comedy industry cognoscenti, consistently identifies the stars of tomorrow. Previous winners include Romesh Ranganathan, Johnny Vegas, Jason Manford, Rhod Gilbert, Josh Widdicombe & Miles Jupp.

● Secret Tour is another consistent festival sell out. Can’t decide what to see? Take a chance and book your place on the tour to see three shows in one night. Tickets must be booked in advance.

● Old Folks Telling Jokes is another Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival concept which has enjoyed success at the festival and beyond, including a riotous run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014, showcasing the skills of the funniest fogies around.

● Silver Stand-Up Competition returns as Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival continues its search for the UK’s best seasoned stand-up talent, in association with Silver Comedy. Entry is for both new and experienced comedians strictly over the age of 55. The competition grows each year; previous winners have been featured on BBC Breakfast News, Saga Magazine and Sunday Times Culture Magazine.

● Comedy Heaven is the spectacular finale show for Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2016, in aid of Amnesty International, Prostaid & Big Difference Company. Some of the best acts of the festival gather to raise money for good causes and see the festival out in style.

● I Say is the annual comedy conversation, and this year features special guest Nicholas Parsons.

● The complete programme is available now www.comedy-festival.co.uk

● All ticket enquiries: 0116 242 3595

● Twitter: @DavesLeicsFest