The finalists for the prestigious Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2019 stand-up competition have been announced.
The Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition has taken place each February since 1995 and is noted for highlighting future stand-up stars. Previous finalists of the competition include Johnny Vegas, Jason Manford, Jimmy Carr, Rhod Gilbert, Russell Kane, Seann Walsh, Josh Widdicombe, Jack Whitehall, Suzi Ruffell and Romesh Ranganathan.
Entry is via nomination from a selected group of UK promoters, whilst the winner will be determined by an industry judging panel at the final, which is scheduled for Saturday 23rd February.
The comedians confirmed to perform in 2019 are:
The UK Pun Championships
The UK Pun Championships was set up by Leicester Comedy Festival in 2014 and is billed as a "celebration of the British pun". The show is the culmination of #UKPunDay, a twitter phenomenon which in 2018 attracted over 103.5 million impressions on the social media platform. The competitors appear in a boxing ring to trade puns. Hosted by Jason Byrne, the final will take place on Punday, 11th February.
The competitors are confirmed as:
Silver Stand Up Competition
The Silver Stand Up Competition has been running at the Leicester festival for the past 7 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 competitors for the 21st February 2019 final are:
Circuit Breakers was launched by Leicester Comedy Festival in the summer of 2017, with a crowdfunding campaign asking people to pledge money to support new and emerging comedians. The showcase performances give a platform for people who otherwise wouldn't perform at the festival, and the Festival producers offer them professional support and advice.
The comedians selected to take part in 2019 are:
The Circuit Breaker showcase performances are on Friday 15th and Saturday 16th February at PETER Pizzeria, Leicester.
Director of Leicester Comedy Festival, Geoff Rowe, says: "Leicester Comedy Festival has always been a place where new & 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 2...
"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. It's also great that even in these Brexit times we live in, we are attracting interest from acts based outside the UK. The acts taking part are amongst the cream of the crop of British live comedy and help demonstrate the strength of the comedy circuit."
Leicester Comedy Festival 2019 will feature over 800 shows. It runs from 6th to 24th February. comedy-festival.co.uk