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Chuckles in store

The Comedy Festival PR handout has been exclusively cut and pasted elsewhere, but here’s Will Melvin's in-depth guide

Published on January 19th 2011.

Chuckles in store

THE Liverpool Comedy Festival enters its 10th anniversary (in its current form) at the end of April.

As usual, there's a strong bill of top comics using it as a dry run for an assault at the Edinburgh Fringe.

Osho could be using Liverpool, as a springboard to Edinburgh, in a bid to become Britain’s biggest female comedian, given her easy mainstream delivery and repertoire of impressions

The big draw will undoubtedly be the festival’s headliner, Irish genius Dylan Moran at the Royal Court, who will be joined by Mock The Week panellist and arch surreal punsmith Milton Jones.Andy Parsons, a resident panellist on MTW, is the other headline act of the festival, playing the Philharmonic. He is, for my money, the most interesting act of the big three, someone with a keen political mind and one of the most recognisable styles in the business.

But the big story of this year’s festival is the sheer number of acts with TV experience using it as an opportunity to fine tune Edinburgh Festival shows.

The Unity, as ever, will host the majority of these one-hour shows. Alternative comedy pioneers Arthur Smith and Simon Munnery lead the gaggle of acts and are tipped to put on challenging shows that go beyond the kind of straight stand-up that has come back to the fore in recent years.

But they have fearsome competition. Diminutive Lancastrian Jon Richardson, a former 6Music co-host of Russell Howard, who has put in a couple brilliant recent turns on Have I Got News For You, will surely gather a fine crowd. Then there's Andi Osho, Greg Davies and 2010 Edinburgh Foster’s Prize winner Russell Kane, all of whom have had prominent slots on BBC’s Live at the Apollo this year.

Osho could be using Liverpool as a springboard to Edinburgh in a bid to become Britain’s biggest female comedian, given her easy mainstream delivery and repertoire of impressions.

The one wild card of this Unity-bound bunch, perhaps, is Welshman Lloyd Langford, Rhod Gilbert’s radio and TV sidekick, who is perhaps not very well known to the wider audience, but is deeply loved by younger comedy goers.

The Unity will also host the cultish Pete Firman, a popular comedy magician with childrens’ TV on his CV, as well as Idiot of Ants, a fast paced sketch act with tonnes of TV and radio experience under their belts and an Edinburgh prize nomination in 2009 to boot.

The local acts in the brochure will play the BaaBar and Liverpool Hope University Student and hotly tipped stand-up Jake Mills should build on a sold-out show last year in a double header with former Hollyoaks and Casualty actor-turned comic James Redmond.

Waterloo-born Steve Gribbin, as ever, presents a specially written one-off, one hour show with I Was The Fifth Beatle, which will address the myths and half truths of the Fab Four, including his usual clutch of brilliant songs.

Comedy Trust director and stand-up Sam Avery also plays the BaaBar as does St Helens lad Dave Twentyman, who wins the award for the best show title this year for Scousers & Wools.

Some other local acts like Chris Cairns, Silky and Keith Carter are slotted in, with dates and venues to be announced in the coming weeks.

Liverpool has pioneered the modern comedy festival as more than merely a week or so of stand-up shows, so there will also be the rewarding comedy workshops, young people’s comedy nights as well as the old favourite Best of Liverpool night. The comedy pub crawl Drink Up, Stand Up will again have its amphibious and river-going cousins Duck Up, Stand Up and Ferry Funny for company.

Finally, the festival, which runs from April 28 to May 8, will also potentially go beyond Fort Perch for the first time and head out into the Irish Sea in a tie in with The Liverpool Boat Show which takes place at the Albert Dock during that same period.

The press release from the organisers might say ‘Something for everyone, etc etc,’ but we don’t cut and paste at Liverpool Confidential, so we won’t.

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Second Best Comic in St HelensJanuary 19th 2011.

Go and see Twentymans show at the Unity, it'll be a belter from a guy who is sure to please!

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