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Best of the Birmingham Comedy Festival 2015

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by David Vincent (subscribe)
Occasional blogger and sometimes freelance writer, hammering away in the West Midlands.
Event: -
A fest of fun
noise next door
Birmingham Comedy Festival: something to shout about.


Birmingham Comedy Festival returns this October for 10 days of top entertainment, mixing big TV names and international stars with some of the best cult and emerging comics around.

Here's our top tips for five of the best shows:

Nish Kumar
Foster's Comedy Award nominee Nish Kimar


1. Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award

Six rising comics from across the West Midlands battle it out for the prestigious comedy title. Each act has been selected by a panel of comedy professionals, including actress and comedian Jo Enright (Alan Partridge, Trollied, Job Lot, Phoenix Nights) and MyComedy's Maureen Younger.

In a night compared by James Cook and topped off with a set from Fosters Comedy 2015 nominee Nish Kumar, the six acts are Josh Pugh, Jo D'Arcy, Lucy Thompson, Michael Dryburgh, Jack Kirwan and Thomas Rackham.

A chance to see the next generation of comedy stars.

Friday 2 October 2015, The Glee Club Birmingham

comedy, stand-up, birmingham


2. Birmingham Comedy Festival (Free) Half-Dayer

Eight one-hour Edinburgh Fringe styled shows at two city centre venues, just seconds apart ... and all free/ by donation.

Featuring Masai Graham (who picked up praise from TV channel Dave for writing one of the best one-liners of the Edinburgh Fringe this year), Ben Briggs, Andy White, Hannah Silvester and Corrie actor Gareth Berliner.

Plus the New With Jokes podcasters, sketch group The Lovely Men and trio Lindsey, Danny and Michael.

Sunday 4 October 2015, Cherry Reds & Victoria pub, John Bright Street, Birmingham. From 1.30pm

doug stanhope
Cult US comedian Doug Stanhope


3. Doug Stanhope

Cynical US comedian, as seen on Charlie Brooker's Screen Wipe. An acquired taste for sure. You'll either love him - or his bile fuelled brand of comedy will leave you confused, bewildered, possibly bored, and maybe offended.

"Doug is vulgar, opinionated, brutally honest and shockingly uninhibited," boasts his bio', which claims he started his career telling tasteless gags in Vegas in the '90s, and that "not much has changed, save for the mullet."

Wednesday 7 October 2015, O2 Birmingham Academy

james hamilton, casual violence, comedy
Casual Violence, featuring James Hamilton

4. James Hamilton / Casual Violence

Rare live outing for the Casual Violence collective, whose YouTube videos cry out for a TV show. Expect random and weird sketches.

Meanwhile lead Casual Violence writer James Hamilton also performs his solo show, ... Is So Lonely, a dark, twisting yet clever time warping journey inspired by relationship woes.

One for real comedy aficionados.

Thursday 8 and Friday 9 October 2015, Mockingbird Theatre, Custard Factory, Birmingham
Red comedy
Red B******, not for the faint hearted.

5. Red B******

If you like your comedy dangerous and challenging, this is the show for you. The US act is not for the faint hearted, with audience participation compulsory.

Devilish, cunning, terrifying yet highly amusing and strangely charming ...

Friday 3 October 2015, mac Birmingham

And there's more ...

Also in the festival, look out for appearances from Chris Ramsey, US superstar Weird Al, Frankie Boyle, Lee Nelson, Daniel Sloss, Rob Beckett, Tom Stade, The Noise Next Door, Henning Wehn, Andrew Maxwell, The Amazing Guy and Phil Kay.

Plus Laurel and Hardy and the World Premiere of Meera Syal's Anita and Me.

Birmingham Comedy Festival runs from Friday 2 to Sunday 11 October 2015 at venues across the city. For full listings see: www.bhamcomfest.co.uk
chris ramsey
Chris Ramsey
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Why? Laughter filled nights as festival returns.
Where: City-wide, Birmingham
Cost: From free to around £20.
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