The line-up for the prestigious Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year competition has been announced, alongside the finalists of the other competitions due to take place as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival 2018; Silver Stand Up, The UK Pun Championships and the Circuit Breakers showcase.
Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2018
The long-running New Act stand-up competition has previously featured winners including Johnny Vegas, Josh Widdicombe and Romesh Ranganathan. Unlike other competitions, entry can only be gained via nominations from a selected group of UK promoters. This year's final will take place on Saturday 24th February 2018. The line-up is:
The UK Pun Championships
This competition, setup by Leicester Comedy Festival in 2014, is billed as a "celebration of the British pun." The show takes place in the round in a boxing ring and the 2018 competition, due to take place on the 12th February, will be hosted by Jason Byrne. The competitors due to battle it out are confirmed as:
The Silver Stand Up Competition
This competition, exclusively for comedians aged over 55, has been running at the festival for the past 6 years and is exclusively for comedians aged over 55. The competition is supported by established acts such as Alexei Sayle, Jasper Carrott and Arthur Smith and the 2018 competitors set to take part in the Thursday 22nd February show are:
Circuit Breakers was launched in the summer of 2017 with a crowdfunding campaign asking people to pledge money to support new and emerging comedians. The showcase performances will take place on Friday 16th and Saturday 17th February, "giving a platform for people who otherwise wouldn't perform at the festival, and offering them professional support and advice." All the comedians will attend a 'meet the industry' lunch held during the festival where they will receive advice and support from producers and promoters. The comedians selected to take part are:
All the shows will take place as part of the 25th anniversary of Leicester Comedy Festival, which will run from the 7th to 25th February 2018. The 2018 festival will feature 836 events across 69 venues. Full details and tickets can be obtained by visiting comedy-festival.co.uk
Director of Leicester Comedy Festival, Geoff Rowe, says: "Leicester Comedy Festival has always been a place where new and emerging acts perform to develop their material and shows in front of hugely comedy savvy audiences. Comedians also find the festival is a great place to get good publicity, get reviews for their shows, increase their social media following, have the potential to get 'spotted' by the industry and also maybe win an award or two...
"Over the past 25 years we have supported hundreds of new comedians, as well as exclusive and one-off shows from some of the biggest names in comedy. We're hugely proud of our commitment to new talent and our competitions, and Circuit Breakers showcase, will hopefully continue to provide a helping hand to comedians. We've been inundated with applications from acts for all our competitions and showcases, and we are delighted that so many are from across the UK and not just London based acts. The acts taking part are amongst the cream of the crop of British live comedy and help demonstrate the strength of the comedy circuit."