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Leicester Comedy Festival

About

Leicester Comedy Festival

Comedy is at the heart of Leicester, with a festival that’s the oldest in the UK, names including Adrian Mole and Monty Python, not to mention a proud link to Red Nose Day. Sit back and enjoy the best stand-ups all year round!

Visitor Details

Key Information

Leicester, Leicestershire, LE1 1FZ

Opening Times

LCF is an Annual Event in February (1 Jan 2022 - 31 Dec 2022)

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  • Uncover the story - While Leicester may be famous for a set of royal bones, it’s also the place to give your funny bones a workout, with top comedians playing the city all year round, a thriving local comedy scene, and the oldest comedy festival in the world.   <hr> The story starts back in the early 90s, when alternative comedy was just breaking out, and arts administration student Geoff Rowe proposed a project to his lecturers at De Montfort University. Set up and run a comedy festival for Leicester.   <hr> You might think that sort of thing would get laughed out of the lecture theatre, but Leicester does have a great comedy pedigree. Graham Chapman of Monty Python fame was born and grew up in the city, Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole novels were required reading for every teenager and the Red Noses for Comic Relief were made here.   <hr> So when Geoff started calling around, comedy legends including Tony Slattery, Harry Hill and Matt Lucas were more than happy to sign up for the inaugural Leicester Comedy Festival in 1994. The first festival had 40 events across 23 venues and attracted an audience of 5,000.  <hr> There was clearly an appetite for this kind of thing and what started as a student project quickly became a mainstay of the city’s cultural calendar with such household names as Bill Bailey, Graham Norton, Ross Noble and Craig Charles performing.   <hr> The festival gained fame for spotting new talent early on. The Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Award is given each year to the best young comedian at the festival and has become one of the most prestigious awards in the comedy community. It has been awarded to such names as Johnny Vegas, Jason Manford, Josh Widdicombe and Romesh Ranganathan. Equally impressive is the list of people who just missed out, including Jimmy Carr, Greg Davies and Jack Whitehall.  <hr> The popularity of the Festival has seen it become an important part of the UK comedy calendar, bringing some light to the long winter nights of February. In recent years, the festival has expanded even more, with Fringe events running around the county from Loughborough to Lutterworth and Coalville to Foxton. Now in its 29th year, Leicester is proud to host what is Europe’s biggest and longest running comedy festival with 560 shows across 64 venues.   <hr> As well as bringing smiles to people’s faces, Geoff and the team were committed to give something back to the city, so The Big Difference Company was founded as a charity. Through this they provide opportunities for young people to experience and learn about comedy, address health inequalities and improve people’s wellbeing.   <hr> They have also just launched a new home for comedy in Leicester, with The Big Difference venue being the place to see up and coming talent. Add this to regular big name comedy shows at De Montfort Hall, The Y, Upstairs at the Western and many other smaller venues, you can see why comedy is in our funny bones.  

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