Glasgow Comedy Festival announces 2017 programme

The Glasgow Comedy Festival celebrates its fifteenth year with over 470 shows across 50 venues offering plenty of comedy highlights to choose from.

Feature by Ben Venables | 12 Jan 2017

The colossal line-up hosted at the Glasgow Comedy Festival makes for an eclectic mix of household names (including Frankie Boyle, Jimmy Carr and Russell Howard) alongside some of the best shows from the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe and many emerging artists from the local comedy scene. Successful hours on the final leg of a tour join all-new works-in-progress – often at bargain prices.

This mix is reflected in the vast number of venues across Glasgow, spanning from the SSE Hydro with its capacity of thousands, to the double-ding of Bob Slayer's BlundaBus sidling up to McPhabbs, the new home of Glasgow's alternative comedy collective CHUNKS. The Stand features an especially strong programme and one more chance to see Richard Gadd's Monkey See Monkey Do, the fearless show which won the Edinburgh Comedy Award. Then there is YesBar, which is again one of the best places to catch a first look at developing shows. 

The Best of the Edinburgh Fringe

Along with Richard Gadd's show (11 Mar, 5pm), some of our favourite and highly-rated Fringe hours make an appearance at the festival. The provacatively titled Fingering A Minor on a Piano by Adam Kay brings together music and medicine at Cottiers (14 Mar, 8.30pm), while over at Citizens Theatre Bridget Christie's Because You Demanded It  (18 Mar, 8pm) is a perceptive look at a post-Brexit world of both under- and over-confidence in political will.

Fern Brady's triumphant Male Comedienne (24 Mar, 7.30pm) takes her story of a brunch-time snub into an examination of identity to Blackfriars Basement, then there's Scott Agnew's hedonistic and searingly honest I've Snapped My Banjo String, Let's Just Talk (10 Mar, 7.30pm) at the same venue. Agnew will also introduce a work-in-progress to The State Bar (25 Mar, 7.30pm).

New Shows and Works-in-progress

Notable new shows include Stewart Lee's Content Provider (16 Mar, 8pm) and Josie Long's Something Better (9 Mar, 8.30pm; 11 Mar, 7.30pm) at the Clyde Auditorium and The Stand respectively. Both were trialled as works-in-progress at the 2016 Fringe and were already promising-going-on-exceptional then. Now comes a chance to see the fully sculpted material.

Then, debuting at Saint Luke's, is Like Father Like Son by Best Newcomer and local hero Scott Gibson (18 Mar, 8pm). A look at the influence of his father and late-grandfather will doubtless be a storytelling show about how far the acorn falls from the family tree. Others road testing fresh ideas include Bec Hill and Tiernan Douieb at The Hug and Pint (12 Mar, 7pm) and Imran Yusef at YesBar (19 Mar, 7.15pm).

Alternative and Local Heroes

It's quickly become impossible to imagine any comedy festival without Bob Slayer and his wonderful BlundaBus trundling into view and Eleanor Morton returns home on the top deck with Happy Birthday Kate Lewis (11 & 12 Mar, 6pm). Inside, McPhabbs will become a hub of anarchic comedy with CHUNKS putting on their festival-within-a-festival. The collective have recruited some intriguing new bedfellows of late, such as the lovely guys who make up the sketch trio Planet Caramel. Their Simpsons' inspired sketch is one of the most memorable comedy routines we've seen in the last twelve months.

Finally, there's a chance to see some of our favourite regular nights as Joe Heenan and Billy Kirkwood turn their attention to Highlander 2 (22 Mar, 7.30pm) and Reefer Madness (9 Mar, 7.30pm) in Watch Bad Movies with Great Comedians at the Tattoo Studio, and The Wee Man's Rap Battle Showdown on the final weekend ensures the festival send-off begins on a violently funny high (Hug & Pint, 25 Mar, 10pm).

Glasgow Live International Comedy Festival runs from Thursday 9 – Sunday 26 March 2017.