Vic and Bob are the comedy legends that will garner most attention, especially as the pair had to cancel the first leg of their national comeback tour, due to Bob Mortimer having heart surgery. But there are plenty of fantastic comedians appearing at the festival besides: Josie Long, Johnny Vegas, Katherine Ryan, Josie Long, Steve Hall, Romesh Ranganathan (who won Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year in 2012), Sofie Hagen, Abandoman, James Acaster, David O'Doherty, Elis James (star of BBC3 sitcom Josh), Luisa Omielan, John Kearns, Andy Zaltzman, Paul Foot, Max and Ivan, Paul Daniels and Debbie McGhee, Richard Herring, Pappy's, Tom Parry, Austentatious, Rhys James, Sara Pascoe … The list literally goes on.
And there's plenty of talent to behold among the less famous comedians who are on the up – such as Ali Brice, Michael Brunstrom, Jonny Pelham, Sarah Callaghan, Amir Khoshsokhan, Mr Susie, Alison Thea-Skot, Adam Hess and Tim Renkow.
For the full event listings across the whole festival, click here.
Also returning, of course, is the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year competition, with the final on 20 February. Past winners include Josh Widdicombe (left), Johnny Vegas and Rhod Gilbert, so get along to the Y venue to see a star of the future crowned …
As ever there are some special one-off events that catch the eye:
• Odd Couples – A show inspired by the much-loved Mr and Mrs TVshow, comedians are partnered and must compete to be crowned odd couple of the year.
• The UK Pun Championships – A festival favourite, taking place on 8 February. This year, it is complemented by a seminar celebrating the longstanding British tradition of puns, its history and the development of punning.
• Wisdom of a Fool – a one-man play about festival patron Norman Wisdom’s rise to success as a young performer.
• Seminars – New for this year are seminars on politics and free speech, and comedy and its relationship to mental health and wellbeing.
• Euroversity Challenge – in which a top team of international comedians vie for the title of Cleverest Nation in Europe. Imagine a cross between the Eurovision Song Contest and University Challenge.
• Hotel D’Comedie – Another popular and original festival creation; this intimate site-specific comedy experience takes place at Hotel Maiyango on 18 and 19 February.
• Secret Tour – a consistent festival sell out. Can’t decide what to see? Take a chance and book your place on the tour to see three shows in one night. Tickets must be booked in advance.
• Silver Stand-Up Competition – The search for the UK’s best stand-up over the age of 55 returns …
• Comedy Heaven – The spectacular finale to the festival, in aid of Amnesty International, Prostaid & Big Difference Company. Some of the best acts of the festival gather to see the festival out in style.
• I Say – the annual comedy conversation, this year featuring special guest Nicholas Parsons.
So you are spoilt for choice. Once again, here is the link for full festival listings, AND London is Funny has a competition to win tickets to a special preview show on 8 February plus other goodies, click here to enter.
• This is a sponsored article by Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival