City arts festival promises laughs

Birmingham Comedy Festival is back for 2018, with Joanna Lumley, James Acaster, Robin Ince and more

Birmingham Comedy Festival: Joanna Lumley

Annual city arts festival features appearances from Ab’ Fab’s Joanna Lumley, Rich Hall, James Acaster and Tom Binns, plus two Free Half-Dayers and more …

The award-winning Birmingham Comedy Festival is back with another 10 days of cracking comedic entertainment (Friday 5 to Sunday 14 October 2018).

Leading the pack is undoubtedly Joanna Lumley (9 Oct, Symphony Hall), whose Absolutely Fabulous character of Patsy ranks as one of the greatest comedy creations of the last 40 years.

She’s joined by James Acaster (12 Oct, Sutton Town Hall), The Infinite Monkey Cage’s Robin Ince (12 Oct, Comedy Junction, Sutton Coldfield), and the brain behind BBC One’s Hospital PeopleTom Binns (12 Oct, The Glee Club).

James Acaster, Birmingham Comedy Festival
James Acaster

Adding an international flavour to the proceedings are American legend Rich Hall (11 Oct, Bham Town Hall), Jimeoin (12 Oct, Bham Town Hall) the Aussie-based comic of Irish descent, and Canadians Bobby Mair and Dana Alexander (12-13 Oct, The Glee Club).

Podcasters are well represented with a return live appearance from The Scummy Mummies (10 Oct, Sutton Town Hall), plus The Thinking Drinkers (5 Oct, The Old Rep), Private Parts (6 Oct, The Old Rep), and Josh Pugh and Phil Pagett’s Knowledge Club (14 Oct, The Victoria, Bham).

Robin Ince
Robin Ince

The very best comedians from across the West Midlands are also out in force, from Barbara Nice (13 Oct, Hippodrome) and Man Like Mobeen star Guz Khan (5-6 Oct, The Glee), to Black Country ‘internet sensation’ Gary Powndland (7 Oct, The Glee Club), and the multi-award nominated The Elvis Dead creator Rob Kemp (14 Oct, The Victoria, Bham), with a brand new show.

Other highlights include acclaimed ISIS tragi-comedy Bismillah! (4-6 Oct, Old Joint Stock), the premiere of writer Leo Butler’s All You Need Is LSD (4-13 Oct, The REP), and The Gilded Merkin (14 Oct, The Glee Club), who bring some of the very best cabaret and burlesque acts to the city. There’s also the return of the Birmingham Comedy Festival Free Half-Dayers (7 and 14 Oct, Cherry Reds & The Victoria), featuring 16 free shows in Birmingham city centre on successive Sunday afternoons.


The festival officially launches on Friday 5 October with the prestigious Edinburgh Gin Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award 2018 (The Glee Club), which recognises the very best new talent from the region.

A spokesperson for the festival said: “We’ve got another packed line-up this year with over 70 performances featuring not only stand-up comedy, but also sketch shows, improv’, spoken word, theatre, music, game shows, podcasters, fine art, and loads more – with more than 20 shows free/ pay-what-you-want!”

The Birmingham Comedy Festival runs from Friday 5 to Sunday 14 October 2018 at venues across the city. For more information, see:


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