It’s back! After a difficult year, and the first ever virtual event in its 29 year history, Leicester Comedy Festival is hitting the venues of our city and county again, so get your tickets booked and prepare those laughing muscles, because there are hundreds of shows to take in!

Leicester has the biggest and longest running comedy festival in Europe, and from 2-20 February, the city will be celebrating with an incredible line-up of more than 560 shows and 800 performances across 64 venues.

The comedy festival has always attracted some of the biggest names on the comedy circuit and this year is no different. A who’s who of comedy talent will be appearing across the city, including Katherine Ryan, Ross Noble, Richard Herring, Seann Walsh, Rosie Jones, Stewart Lee and many more!

The almost sold out Gala Preview Show is held at De Montfort Hall on Friday 7 January, and the perfect way to wet your appetite for the main event by sampling some of the acts who will be performing when the festival rolls into town in February.

Alongside some of the household names, there will be the chance to experience some of the fantastic special shows which make the comedy festival unique. A sell out for the last six years, the UK Pun Championships is being held on 7 February and is a quick-fire celebration of the best witty, groan-out-loud puns. And if you’re a fan of short gags, then the One Liner Show is running every Wednesday throughout the festival.

If you’re on a budget then you can see some great comedy for great prices too, Just The Tonic presents 7 Acts for £7 every Friday of the festival at Hansom Hall. And then at the same venue on Saturday 12 February, Marcus Brigstocke hosts a special Saturday show also featuring Jarred Christmas and Lou Conran. As a tribute to last year’s festival, there are online events running, including the Just The Tonic Working From Home special on Sunday 6 Feb.

The Tickled Pink comedy night has long been established as the place to see the very best female comedians and they are hosting Comedy Festival specials at The Guildhall on 4 February and Wygston’s House on 10 February (plus online shows every Wednesday). Female comedians are featured throughout the festival, with comedic legend Pam Ayres being interviewed by comedy festival director Geoff Rowe at Curve on Sunday 13 February.

As well as the newest stand ups, it’s time to revisit those classics. 60s radio show Round The Horne gets a revival at the Little Theatre, or experience the hilarious Elizabethan world of Blackadder and the Laurel and Hardy Cabaret at the Guildhall. And for those of a certain age, the chance to don the horned helmet awaits, as Knightmare Live comes to the Y Theatre.

One of the features of recent comedy festivals has been the Fringe which takes great comedy out into venues across the county and this year is no exception. HaHa Harborough features English Comedian of the Year Josh Pugh, you can sit down for dinner and watch a tribute to Only Fools and Horses at Conkers or hear Funny Folk Tales at Moira Furnace.

The last 18 months have been hard for the festival and the live comedy industry so book your place now and give yourself a reason to smile as we head into 2022. The full listings can be found on the Leicester Comedy Festival website.

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