Clear your diaries comedy lovers, because the city’s annual extravaganza of jokes and jollity returns this month. Brighton Comedy Festival will take up residence in venues throughout the city from Fri 9 to Sat 24 Oct, including Brighton Dome, The Old Market and Komedia. Now in its 13th year, the festival will host some of the biggest names in comedy as well as championing brand new talent. The search will also be on for the next Jack Dee or Sarah Millican at the inaugural Squawker Awards, giving amateur funny people the chance to shine in the most befitting environment possible.
Here’s just some of the acts you can see over the Comedy Festival or visit www.brightoncomedyfestival.com for full lineup and dates.
Beardyman: One Album Per Hour, Wed 21 – Thurs 22 Oct, The Old Market, 8pm, £19
Prepare to get stuck in and creative, as comedian and musician Beardyman is back on tour with his sell-out show, One Album Per Hour. The show is a masterpiece of improvisation where audience members come up with song titles and Beardyman constructs the tracks to suit them, creating a unique and hilarious album each night. But these are no simple comedy ditties. Beardyman creates studio-quality compositions at lightening speed. Having previously produced songs such as ‘Clean Shaven, Not Behavin’ and ‘Gareth the My Little Pony is a Slut’, who knows what will prevail when this musical melting pot comes to Brighton.
Nina Conti: In Your Face, Thurs 22 Oct, Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, 7.30pm, £20
One of comedy’s most familiar and formidable acts today, sorceress of side-splitting improvisation Nina Conti has won a British Comedy Award, thrilled countless audiences at her sell-out shows and on TV and even made a BAFTA-nominated film, all without moving her lips. Now the ventriloquist brings her bag of tricks to Brighton, with her old pal Monkey in tow and brand new ideas up her sleeve. The audience become the puppets at the hands of this unerringly hilarious comedian, so don’t miss out on an evening you won’t forget. Just don’t sit in the front row…
David O’Doherty: We Are All In The Gutter, But Some Of Us Are Looking At David O’Doherty, Sat 10 – Sun 11 Oct, Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, 5.30pm/7.30pm, £17.50
All David O’Doherty needs to entertain his audience is a chair to sit on and a rubbish keyboard from 1986. The rest of his show is pure imagination and silliness as he puts life, love and all their eccentricities into song using his deadpan wit and cynicism. This show is a peek inside a brain that thinks life is like a box of chocolates, but one where somebody else has eaten all the chocolates. And replaced them with mouse heads and dishwasher tablets. Expect to be equally delighted and depressed in this brand new and unmissable hour of musical melancholy.
Lee Nelson: Suited and Booted, Thurs 22 Oct, Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, 9.30pm, £21.50
It’s been a busy year for Lee Nelson. As well stage-invading Kanye West at Glastonbury and showering Sepp Blatter with cash at a conference in Zurich, the alter ego of Simon Brodkin has been performing relentlessly. Due to huge demand, his tour has been extended until February 2016 and one of his many stops will be at Brighton Comedy Festival, where he will give his views on fatherhood, politics and the true value of a Cadbury’s Creme Egg. And gone are the cap and polo shirt of the old days; Nelson will appear like you’ve never seen him before – suited and booted. (See page xxx for our interview with Lee)
Milton Jones: The Temple Of Daft, Fri 23 Oct, Brighton Dome, 8pm, £25.50
Famed for his loud shirts, crazy hair and penchant for wacky one-liners, Milton Jones made a name for himself with appearances on Mock the Week, Live at The Apollo and Radio 4. The master of minimal comedy, Jones delivers simple gags that will leave you in stitches and unable to compose yourself before the next punch line hits. And now he’s back with a brand new show, The Temple of Daft. Consistently crazy and cleverly contrived, The Temple of Daft presents the comedian at his best; a stripped-back whirlwind of wit that will have you laughing until you cry.
Nick Helm: Masterworks in Progress, Sat 24 Oct, Brighton Dome Studio, 9.30pm, £13
Nick Helm recently told The Telegraph that there was nothing he wouldn’t do for a gag. And that says a lot about this bombastic comedian, who has been known to strip off and scream his jokes at the unfortunate front row in his full, sweaty glory. Now Helm will bring his shambolic spectacle of a show to Brighton Comedy Festival, to deliver truths about life, love and being a living legend. It won’t be long until this rising star hits the big time, so make sure you catch him now at the Dome’s intimate studio.
Rob Beckett: Mouth of The South, Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, Fri 23 Oct, 9.30pm, £15
He may not be a stand-up veteran but for many, Rob Beckett is already a household name. The perpetually grinning Londoner set out on the comedy circuit in 2009 and has since then gained multiple awards and nominations including Outside the Box New Act of the Year 2010. He made a guest appearance in Fresh Meat, has featured on just about every panel show on primetime TV and is the co-host of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here Now! But what glamorous topic does he take on in his stand up show? The humble Kit Kat, of course. (See page xxx for our interview with Rob)
Sarah Kendall: A Day In October, Brighton Dome Studio, Sun 18 Oct, 7.30pm, £14.50
One day in October 1990, when Sarah Kendall was at school, her best friend died for exactly 11 seconds. With sharp wit and a captivating knack for storytelling, Australian multi-award winner Kendall will take her audience back to that fateful day and revisit the remarkable effects those 11 long seconds had on her and her classmates. Fiercely funny and touching, this hour-long narrative performance is about life, death and 20 foot tall fibreglass chickens. You’ll be gripped from start to finish, and it’s certainly a story you won’t hear anywhere else.
Best of The Fest, Brighton Dome, Sat 17 and Sat 24 Oct, 8pm, £18.50
When there are so many acts performing at an event such as Brighton Comedy Festival, it’s hard to know how to choose between them. But there is one way to know you’re making the right decision. As the name suggests, Best of the Fest is a collection of some of the festival’s most impressive acts, from bigger names to under the radar performers. The line up is yet to be announced, but seeing as Simon Amstell, Michael McIntyre, Chris Addison and Mark Watson have all previously made appearances; you can trust the organisers to provide you with some guaranteed comedy gold.