News: Leicester Comedy Festival Launches 2020 Programme

Leicester Comedy Festival, the longest running comedy festival in the UK, has launches its packed programme for 2020 with more venues, more talent and more unique events than ever before.  The festival will feature over 1,600 performers, performing over 800 shows on more than 90 stages across Leicester & Leicestershire.

The full line up and tickets for all shows will be available from 10am on 30th October 2019 via 

Headline acts for 2020 include Jo Brand, Stewart Lee, Milton Jones, Shappi Khorsandi, Fascinating Aida, Paul Sinha, Josie Long, Jason Byrne, Tony Slattery, Angela Barnes, Griff Rhys Jones, Andy Parsons, John Shuttleworth, Dane Baptiste, Rhod Gilbert, Mark Steel, Flo & Joan, Arthur Smith and Reg D Hunter.

For 2020 the Festival is working with Time To Change, The Samaritans, De Montfort University and Leicester based charity LAMP, to produce a mental health guide to the festival, aimed at ensuring performers, comedians, promoters, venue staff, volunteers and audiences have a positive time whilst visiting the event.  In addition to the guide, a seminar will take place exploring how comedy can help people improve their mental health. The programme will also feature shows with specific mental health material, including comedian Harriet Dyer whose comedy night in Manchester, Barking Tales, gives fellow comics a platform to speak openly about mental health issues – with humour.

After launching in 2019 The UK Kid’s Comedy Festival returns for its second year as does Union JACK Radio’s Circuit Breakers, a programme supporting new & emerging comedians. 2020 sees the return of all the Festival’s unique and much-loved events; The UK Pun Championships, the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition, Loving Laughing, Comedy Heaven, Silver Stand Up and Laugh Term Comedy School

The main festival will also feature the best up & coming international and UK acts including Phil Wang, Jordan Brookes, Olga Koch, Diane Spencer, Tony Law, Matt Green, Jack Gleadow, Kwame Asante, Sarah Keyworth, Bilal Zafar, Simon Munnery, Tez Ilyas, Matt Forde, Mark Dolan,  Mitch Benn, Paul Currie, Scott Capurro, Zoe Lyons, Carly Smallman, George Rigden, Catherine Bohart, Dom Joly, Spencer Jones, Jamali Maddix, Ahir Shah, Lucy Beaumont, Stuart Goldsmith, Maisie Adam, Stephen Bailey, Dan Nightingale and Tom Rosenthal.

Geoff Rowe, founder and Director of Leicester Comedy Festival & The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival said “Leicester Comedy Festival 2020 is going to be massive and we’re incredibly proud to launch the huge programme today.  We’ve always said we would launch Leicester Comedy Festival 2020 on 30th October; no ifs no buts.  We have kept our word so fortunately I won’t have to go and die in a ditch.

It’s fantastic that over 1,600 acts are going to visit the festival and entertain thousands of people at more venues than ever before.  We’re delighted that we can continue to grow and develop the event in so many ways, and continue to claim the crown of the biggest comedy festival in the UK. 

We're also thrilled to be continuing The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival, featuring loads of shows and activities for children under 12 and their families.  This unique sister festival was launched in 2019 and it went so well, we’re bringing it back to entertain and inspire young people to get into live comedy, either as audience members or performers. 

Both the festivals only work because of the support we continue to receive from acts, comedians, promoters, agents, venues, business partners and of course audiences who flock to the events each February.  The last 26 years have been a blast and we’re so looking forward to continuing the fun in 2020.”



The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival- celebrates the comedy talent of the future while nurturing & growing younger audiences. Shows, workshops and events aimed at children under 12 include Loving Laughing, a project teaching joke telling to Primary School children. Laugh Term Comedy School, is a dedicated half-term programme for teenagers to develop their skills and experience of performing live comedy.

BBC Radio Leicester Presents - for the second year Leicester Comedy Festival has been commissioned by BBC Radio to produce 3 live comedy shows for broadcast by BBC Radio Leicester, and online. Featuring a range of festival comedians, and special guests, BBC Radio Leicester Presents will take place at the award-winning venue, The Cosy Club on Tuesday evenings throughout the festival period. 

Beyond A Joke – exclusive Q&A’s with Milton Jones, Lost Voice Guy, Arthur Smith and Tony Slattery, the festival’s patron since 1994, as well as seminars and discussions exploring issues linked to contemporary comedy such as transphobia, refugees and censorship. 

BIG Weekends – for 2020, the Festival is developing its programme in Leicestershire districts, including The National Forest (Coalville & Ashby), Harborough district (including Market Harborough and Lutterworth) and Oadby & Wigston.  The programme gives a taste of the main festival and will include performances by Lost Voice Guy, Paul Sinha, Zoe Lyons, Dad’s Army Radio Show and Mrs Barbara Nice.

Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year – one of the longest running comedy competitions in the UK, the 26th edition takes place on Saturday 23rd February. Previous winners include Romesh Ranganathan, Johnny Vegas, Jason Manford, Rhod Gilbert, Josh Widdicombe & Miles Jupp.

The UK Pun Championships and #UKPunday – a total sell out for the past 6 years, the Championships return on Punday (Monday) 10th February 2020.  Celebrating the great British pun with contestants from across the UK, the competition is a major part of Leicester Comedy Festival and links with the crazy phenomenon which is #UKPunDay (which attracted over 30 million impressions on twitter in 2019). 

Silver Stand-Up Competition - returns as the search continues for the UK’s best seasoned stand-up talent. Entry is for both new and experienced comedians over the age of 55.  The competition will be part of an Older People’s Fringe of the festival, funded by The Baring Foundation.


Leicester Comedy Festival is run by Big Difference Company (registered charity 1135167). All surpluses made by the charity are invested back into the event. The festival has a long tradition of providing a platform for new and emerging comedians. 

Leicester Comedy Festival 2020 is supported by Leicester City Council, De Montfort University, Union JACK Radio, East Midlands Railways and a consortium of local and national sponsors. 

The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival is supported by De Montfort University and Red Monkey.  It’s a partnership between Big Difference Company, Curve Theatre, Spark Arts for Children and The Mighty Creatives.


The Leicester Comedy Festival The UK Kids’ Comedy Festival run from 5 - 23 February 2020 

The full line up and tickets for all shows will be available from 10am on 30th October 2019 via 

Stewart Lee picture by Idil Sukan.


Hello! Thanks for reading all the way down. I wish I could give you a prize. But BTJ needs your support to continue - if you would like to help to keep the site going, please consider donating.

Zircon - This is a contributing Drupal Theme
Design by WeebPal.