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The Best Of Birmingham Comedy Festival 2014

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by David Vincent (subscribe)
Occasional blogger and sometimes freelance writer, hammering away in the West Midlands.
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Five great reasons to check out the city-wide fest
As Birmingham Comedy Festival returns this autumn (from Friday 3 to Sunday 12 October 2014), Weekend Notes selects some of the must-see shows and events.

birmingham comedy festival

1: The Birmingham Comedy Festival All-Dayer
Sunday 5 October 2014, Cherry Reds & The Victoria pub, John Bright Street

Wow! A festival within a festival as two city centre venues, just a few yards apart, throw open their doors from 1pm with a full day of 15 back-to-back 1 hour Edinburgh Fringe comedy show.

It's a pretty solid mix of seasoned acts, newcomers and local names, including hotly tipped Chris Turner, 'Geezer Bird' Karen Bayley, political comedian Kate Smurthwaite, improvisation groups Foghorn and Two Seats Four Cheeks, and Lost Voice Guy. Paul B Edwards delivers a messed up history lesson, while George Egg cooks up a three course meal using implements you'd find in a budget hotel (this man is rumoured to be able to make ice cream with a fire extinguisher and poach fish in a kettle). And eleven of the shows are free or only require donations.

Breaking Talent Award
Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award 2014 nominees.

2: Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award
Friday 3 October 2014, The Glee Club

Rather than run through the usual heats, several leading comedy names, including Mrs Barbara Nice and Job Lot actress and comic Jo Enright, have selected six new acts from the area who they reckon have what it takes to hit the big time.

Battling it out will be Andrew McBurney, Danny James Clives, Christopher John Hall, Hannah Silvester, Lindsey Santoro and Wayne Beese.

And we hear a rumour that the judging panel includes local comedy legend Jasper Carrott. Should be a bostin' night.

the goon show, birmingham comedy festival
The Goon Show - scan of show poster

3: The Goon Show
Friday 3 and Saturday 4 October 2014, Old Joint Stock Theatre

What a great idea--why anyone hasn't done this before, heaven knows. The festival and Old Joint Stock Theatre Company are bringing two 50 year old Spike Milligan radio scripts to life, re-enacting them as if it was a radio broadcast, complete with live audio effects and a live jazz combo.

Many people reckon Monty Python are the Godfathers of modern British comedy, but a decade before them, Spike, Harry Seacombe and Peter Sellers were re-writing the rules of British comedy with some seriously out-there stuff.

tony law, comedian
Mr Tony Law: Enter The Tone Zone

4: Tony Law: Enter The Tone Zone
Wednesday 8 October 2014, The Glee Club

Last year, Tone's festival show sold out in advance, so it's great to see him back this year. He's not a joke-teller by any stretch of the imagination, but the bearded Canadian comic's nonsense ramblings are imaginative and hysterical.

5: The Roadhouse's Comedy Festival Wrap Party
Sunday 12 October 2014, The Roadhouse, Strichley

The festival concludes for the second year with a day's worth of varied entertainment hidden away in Strichley. Kicking off at 2pm, the programme features stand-up comedy (from a run of local acts), music, and burlesque too. An updated twist on the old fashioned mixed bill review shows.

james acaster, comedian
James Acaster, whose new show is called Recognise.
Other shows to look out for include Tommy Tiernan, Mark Watson, James Acaster, Zoe Lyons, Doc Brown, Robin Ince, Dead Ringers' Jan Raven, Rory McGrath, Rob Rouse, Joe Enright, Susan Calman, David O'Doherty, Patrick Monahan, Wil E Robo, The Brett Domino Trio and Laurel and Hardy.

The Birmingham Comedy Festival runs from Friday 3 to Sunday 12 October at venues across the city, mixing stand-up with theatre, visual art, music and more.

For the full line-up of the 2014 festival, check out theBirmingham Comedy Festival website.
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Why? Ten days of top comedy
When: October 3rd - 12th
Where: Various venues across Birmingham
Cost: Prices vary
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