Joke’s on them with funny festival return

Sean Lock at Chorley Little Theatre

Sean Lock at Chorley Little Theatre

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Some of the hottest names in comedy are heading to Sheffield for a month-long gag-fest.

Impressionist Alistair McGowan and TV personality Sean Lock are among the big-name acts who have signed up for this year’s Last Laugh Sheffield Comedy Festival.

Other stars of the small screen taking to the stage in October include Phil Jupitus, team captain on BBC Two’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Eight Out of Ten Cats regular Josh Widdicombe.

Headliners have been announced as the first wave of acts taking part in the festival of about 90 comedy shows at venues across the city.

Comedian and festival organiser Toby Foster, of Harley, Rotherham, said: “We’re in our ninth year now and still going strong. We’ve brought in popular stuff which we know will sell.”

Big names set to appear in Sheffield during the month-long festival include Ed Byrne, Jason Manford and Rob Newman.

Tickets for the festival are already selling, which is good news to the Last Laugh team who had contemplated calling last year’s event off – like other sectors, the comedy circuit is struggling in Britain’s age of austerity.

BBC Radio Sheffield presenter Toby, aged 43, said: “The world has changed. The sponsorships you used to get aren’t there any more. There are clubs shutting left, right and centre.

“It’s not easy – last year was a real test to see whether we could stand on our own two feet. Luckily for us, Sheffield is bucking the trend.

“The people are still coming to us because they want to have a laugh on a night out.

“The acts like playing it and the punters like coming to it. They always get a good reception.”

Alongside the big gigs will be showcases from up-and -coming comics, along with more family-friendly comedy for youngsters to enjoy.

A host of comics are still to be confirmed, but, Toby said, one of the most promising is Daniel Sloss, one of the youngest to appear on the circuit in recent years.

Toby has also enlisted the talents of former Phoenix Nights co-star Dave Spikey to ensure the festival goes out with a bang on Thursday, October 31.

n For ticket and line-up details, visit www.lastlaughcomedyfestival.co.uk

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