Seven must-see shows at Liverpool Comedy Festival

We look through the archives of our comedy spotlight, and highlight seven shows not to be missed at this year's Liverpool Comedy Festival

Feature by The Skinny | 12 Sep 2016

Liam Pickford

Unpredictable and often antagonistic, Liam Pickford is the fierce but loveable maverick of the Northwest scene. He has some intricate, well-worked jokes in his routine, but he’s even better off script, taking the audience down wild diversions on a surreal scenic route to the punchlines. "I just want to be every household's favourite cuddly northern funster,” he told The Skinny back in 2013, “and host Saturday night gameshows like Who's Hiding In Barry? and Punch the Pauper!" He’s almost got the first part covered. 16 Sep, 81 Renshaw

Read our Comedy Spotlight with Liam Pickford

Gein’s Family Giftshop

Four razor-sharp minds have been giving sketch comedy a good name over the last few years. Gein’s Family Giftshop’s Kath Hughes, Ed Easton and James Meehan (more of fourth, behind-the-scenes member Kiri Pritchard-McLean below) may look adorable in their identical school gym kits, but there’s a coal black core to their comedy (they are named after a serial killer after all).

Their sketches fly by at a whip, with jokes and scenarios often overlapping and rolling into one another. The real joy, however, is the interaction between the three, the brinkmanship and barbed comments only just hiding the love. Expect mint fresh material in this work-in-progress night. 18 Sep, 81 Renshaw

Read our Comedy Spotlight with Gein's Family Giftshop

Kiri Pritchard-McLean

The behind-the-scenes member of Gein's, Kiri Pritchard-Mclean unveils her impossibly ambitious debut show Hysterical Woman, which looks at race, genetics and gender. Specifically she’s tackling that depressingly persistent question: are women funny? The best rebuttal to such insidious sexism within the comedy industry is to be fucking hilarious. Pritchard-McLean wins this debate in straight sets – read our four-star review of Hysterical Woman from this year's Edinburgh Fringe if you're unsure. 18 Sep, 81 Renshaw

Read our Comedy Spotlight with Kiri Pritchard-McLean

Top Joe

If you've ever been to a comedy gig in Liverpool then you might have already spotted Top Joe. Maybe not on stage, but around and about it: his hi-vis coat, mad scientist thatch and matching wild-eyed stare are pretty hard to miss. Top Joe has created a new word for the English language and for 2017, and, intending for it to be added to the Oxford English Dictionary, he needs your help. 17 Sep, 81 Renshaw

Read our Comedy Spotlight with Top Joe

Ed Aczel

"I've always liked comics who are inclined to be a shambles," Ed Aczel once told the Guardian. Suffice it to say, Aczel isn’t your typical comedian. His routines aren't slick or even seem to be planned or rehearsed. Don’t expect righteous anger, perceptive observations or personal storytelling. You’re more likely to get a maths lesson or an assessment of where his own show is failing. This is anti-comedy. And, perversely, it’s very funny. 24 Sep, 81 Renshaw

Read our Comedy Spotlight with Ed Aczel

Rachel Fairburn + Katie Tracey

“Cynical, occasionally jovial. Bit of a prick.” That’s how Rachel Fairburn describes herself. We’d rather go with "funny as hell." Be careful after the show, though: she’s got a worrying obsession with serial killers. When we asked her what she’d be doing if she wasn’t a standup, she said ““I think I’d probably be a criminal psychologist. I wouldn’t need the training. I’ve read almost every true crime book ever written. Even the trashy ones.”

Fairburn’s joined in a double bill with Katie Tracey, who’s on the wrong side of 40 and thought she was handling it well until she realised that “getting older doesn't suit you when you can't dance for too long in case you piss yourself." She’ll explain all in her new show In Her Prime26 Sep, Pilgrim Pub

Read our Comedy Spotlight with Rachel Fairburn


Veteran reggae outfit UB40 may not be fans (well, half of them at least), but when it comes to comedy, Jeremy Corbyn has some of the UK’s finest standups in his corner. Just over a month since Corbyn addressed an audience of 5000 at St George’s Plateau, the #JCFPM (Jeremy Corbyn For PM) tour comes to a close at Liverpool Comedy Festival with a fine lineup of funny firebrands, including Rufus Hound, Sara Pascoe, Jeremy Hardy and Francesca Martinez at St George's Hall. 25 & 26 Sep, St George's Hall