UK comedy festivals

The stand-up fests across the country that'll keep you chortling year-round

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Marcus Brigstocke at the 2011 Apple Cart Festival

Marcus Brigstocke at the 2011 Apple Cart Festival

We might be spoilt for comedy choice here in London town, but we're always up for more intense doses of stand-up mayhem. Good job London, and the rest of the UK, offers plenty of ace comedy festivals, from weekend-long jamborees, to month-long endurance fests. We've collated this list of UK comedy festivals, so you can pick and choose where to get your comedy fix.

  1. London comedy festivals
  2. Rest of the UK and Ireland comedy festivals

London comedy festivals

Udderbelly Festival

When: April-July

Where: Jubliee Gardens, South Bank

What: This giant upturned purple cow settles in behind the London Eye every summer for three months of cabaret, theatre and music. Plus, it's effectively the biggest comedy festival in London, with a consistently impressive line-up of stand-up shows.

London Wonderground

When: May-September

Where: Jubilee Gardens, South Bank

What: This summer-long pop-up cabaret festival offers an embarrassment of riches, including its fair share of comedy delights. Previous acts include Barry & Stuart, Heath Franklin's Chopper and Frisky & Mannish, and for 2013 Al Murray, The Horne Section and Rob Delaney are all programmed in.

London Sketchfest

When: Last weekend in May

Where: The Victorian Vaults, Shoreditch

What: This brand new three-day fest hosts four shows each day from sketch troupes at the more up-and-coming end of the scale. All 12 shows are then judged by a panel with the best show awarded a gong at the end of the weekend.

Balham Comedy Festival

When: Mid-July

Where: The Bedford, Balham

What: In SW12, the team behind regular weekend club Banana Cabaret host the Balham Comedy Festival, now in its second year. It takes place in various rooms of the Bedford pub and the promoters bring in an impressive list of big-name comedy mates (2012's line-up included Harry Hill, Al Murray and Ed Byrne).

Brick Lane Comedy Festival

When: Mid-July

Where: Allen Gardens, off Brick Lane

What: After four glorious years in the surroundings of the Old Royal Naval College, the Greenwich Comedy Festival has now moved across the river to the Allen Gardens and becomes the Brick Lane Comedy Festival. As well as a massive big top hosting superb line-up shows each night, the festival site includes live music on a bandstand, bar and food stalls, which are all free to visit without a ticket.

Ealing Comedy Festival

When: Mid-July

Where: Walpole Park, Ealing

What: As part of Ealing's summer festival line-up, a 1000-seater marquee is set up in Walpole Park for the long-running Ealing Comedy Festival. This fest features galas jam-packed with a mix of circuit favourites and the occasional superstar comic.

Camden Fringe

When: Late July-late August

Where: Various venues in Camden

What: The Camden Fringe hosts comedy, theatre, music and more, for the entire month of August. It clashes with the Edinburgh Fringe, meaning the quality can be a little hit and miss, comedy-wise. Nevertheless, there are always some enjoyable names playing throughout the month.


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