Feast of laughs at Harrogate Comedy Festival

04/10/2008 PA File Photo of Ed Byrne performing during Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball 2008 at the Royal Albert Hall. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ 5Mins2. Picture credit should read: Ian West/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ 5Mins2.
04/10/2008 PA File Photo of Ed Byrne performing during Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Ball 2008 at the Royal Albert Hall. See PA Feature SHOWBIZ 5Mins2. Picture credit should read: Ian West/PA Photos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature SHOWBIZ 5Mins2.
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THE third annual Harrogate Comedy Festival is launched this week and looks set to be the most successful to date.

More than 60 per cent of tickets have already been sold for the two-week feast of laughs at Harrogate Theatre which kicks off with Al Murray, ‘The Pub Landlord’ tonight, Monday, October 10.

At least five of the shows featuring 30 top comics and up-and-coming stars have sold out in the north’s biggest festival.

The shows in question are Al Murray, Shappi Khorsandi & Jon Richardson, The Boy With Tape On His Face, Russell Kane and Ed Byrne.

Running from next Monday, October 10 to Saturday, October 22, once again this year there will be some exclusive events, which mark Harrogate Comedy Festival as a rising fixture on the comedy circuit attracting top comedians who want to perform in the intimate environment of Harrogate Theatre.

The festival sees Andre Vincent bringing his brand new show The Sunday Roast (Sunday, October 16) to Harrogate for one of its very first performances.

The show will take a satirical look at current affairs via the Sunday newspapers. It is a spin-off from the festival favourite The Early Edition and BBC Radio’s The Late Edition.

Rising stars Chris Ramsey (ITV’s Comedy Rocks) and Elis James (BBC’s Russell Howard’s Good News) will share the bill (Friday, October 21) in an event that is not taking place anywhere else and will showcase two of the hottest properties in comedy.

They were recently seen together in the highly acclaimed Chris Addison’s Show & Tell on E4.

The Hyena Comedy Club (resident at Harrogate Theatre for seven years) has organised a very special closing gala featuring five comedians (Saturday, October 22).

On the bill will be Alun Cochrane (Michael McIntyres Comedy Roadshow), musical comedian Mitch Benn (BBC Radio 4’s Now Show), Australian comic Benny Boot and sketch troupe The Dog-Eared Collective.

The Studio Theatre at Harrogate Theatre will once again play host to an expanded line-up for this year’s festival with the best of emerging talent which have been drawing acclaim from major festivals all over the world.

Amongst the highlights are cult comedy podcasters Peacock & Gamble (Tuesday, October 11) who make their Harrogate debut, award-winning newcomer Diane Spencer (Thursday, October 13), who was winner of the Amused Moose Award at the Edinburgh Festival, Tony Law (Friday, October 14), highly-acclaimed Edward Aczel (Saturday, October 15), Alex Horne (Tuesday, 18), who has been seen on We Need Answers on BBC4, and BBC Radio 1 DJ Tom Deacon (Saturday, October 22) will all perform amongst many others.

The very best from the current crop of established comedians will be on show during the two week festival.

Highlights include: Tony Hawks (Tuesday, October 11), Justin Moorhouse (Thursday, October 13)), Frisky & Mannish (Monday, October 17), amongst many others.

There will also be a special performance from comedy legend Nicholas Parsons (Friday, October 14), host of BBC Radio’s Just A Minute, and James Campbell (Saturday, October 15) will be performing his highly acclaimed show for children.

This underlines the festival’s commitment to programme shows for all ages and tastes.

There are only a few tickets left for the Comedy Workshop (Saturday October 15), Jason Byrne (Wednesday, October 19) and Tommy Tiernan (Thursday, October 20).