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Leicester Comedy Festival returns with rising star comedians

Leicester Comedy Festival 2022 announces contenders for a series of competitions.

Leicester Comedy Festival, which takes place from February 2-20, 2022 is one of the key event dates in the Leicester social calendar.

A host of up and coming comedians from across the UK have been selected as contestants in three comedy competitions at next year's Leicester Comedy Festival.

The competitions include Silver Stand Up, Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition, UK Pun Championships and the Union JACK Radio’s Circuit Breakers showcase.

Director of Leicester Comedy Festival, Geoff Rowe, said:“I’m delighted that we are able to announce these comedians and continue to support new and emerging comedy talent as part of Leicester Comedy Festival.

"The three competitions and Circuit Breakers are vital parts of the festival programme and have, over the years, helped us discover the stars of the future.

"We know Leicester Comedy Festival is a great platform for acts to launch their careers and it’s amazing to play our part in supporting these acts.”

LEICESTER COMEDY FESTIVAL competition hosts: L-R Sikisa, Mrs. Barbara Nice, Jason Byrne, Eshaan Akbar

Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition

The Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year Competition has taken place each February since 1995 and past winners have included Johnny Vegas, Josh Widdicombe, Romesh Ranganathan, Jo Enright and Kate Lucas.

Entry is via nomination from a selected group of UK promoters and the winner is chosen by an industry judging panel.

The comedians confirmed to perform in 2022 are:

  • Nick Elleray

  • Hayley Ellis

  • Louise Leigh

  • Lucila San Martin

  • John Meagher

  • Firuz Ozari

  • Ashish Suri

  • Sam Williams

The competition will be hosted by South Londoner and Barbadian citizen and girl wonder comedian Sikisa, and will take place on Saturday, February 19 at The Y, Leicester.

UK Pun Championships

The UK Pun Championships were created by Leicester Comedy Festival in 2014 and the whole competition is a “celebration of the British pun”.

The show takes place at the end of #UKPunDay, - a hashtag originated by Leicester Comedy Festival which has grown to become a social media phenomenon.

The hashtag has attracted over 103.5 million impressions on Twitter alone.

The show takes place in the round in a boxing ring and in 2022 the competition will once again be hosted by much loved Irish stand-up Jason Byrne.

The competitors are confirmed as:

  • Pauline Eyre

  • Friz Frizzle

  • Iain MacDonald

  • Richard Pulsford

  • Rob Thomas

  • Chris Norton Walker

  • Richard Woof-lord

  • Jenan Younis

The UK Pun Championships will be held at De Montfort Hall, Leicester, on Punday Monday, February 7.

Union JACK Radio’s Circuit Breakers showcase

Union JACK Radio’s Circuit Breakers was launched in the summer of 2017 with a crowd funding campaign asking people to pledge money to support new and emerging comedians.

The showcase gives a platform for brand new talent who otherwise wouldn’t perform at the festival, and the Festival producers offer them professional support and advice.

All the comedians are also invited to attend a “meet the industry” lunch held during the festival where they will receive advice and support from producers and promoters.

They will also benefit from a professional photoshoot with acclaimed photographer Andy Hollingworth.

The comedians selected to take part are:

  • Adam Anwar

  • Matthew Hayhurst Kathryn Higgins

  • Plastic Jeezus

  • Kate Lovelock

  • Alice Markey

  • Joanne Sarginson

  • Rahul Somia

The Circuit Breakers showcase performances, which will be hosted by up-and-coming hotshot Eshaan Akbar, are on Friday 11 Saturday, February 12 at PETER Pizzeria, Leicester.

Silver Stand Up Competition

The Silver Stand Up Competition has been running at Leicester Comedy Festival for the past eight years and is exclusively for comedians aged over 55.

The competition is supported by established acts such as Alexei Sayle, Jasper Carrott and Arthur Smith and the 2022 shortlisted comedians are confirmed as:

  • Geoff Alderman

  • Alyn Ashby

  • Brian Cowles

  • Nicholas Hill

  • Kevin Hudson

  • Paul Jennings

  • Jimbo

  • Professor John

  • Lawrence Laidlow

  • Paul Merryck

  • President Obonjo

  • Chris Phillips

  • Sid

  • Tel Ternbull

  • Sha Wylie

The Silver Stand Up Competition, hosted by comedy legend Mrs Barbara Nice, takes place on Thursday 17th February 2022 at PETER Pizzeria, Leicester.

The 2022 Leicester Comedy Festival, which is the longest running comedy festival in Europe, will host over 560 shows, over 800 performances across 64 venues.

Headline acts for 2022 include; Angela Barnes, Ahir Shah, Catherine Bohart, Ed Gamble, Henning Wehn, Katherine Ryan, Maisie Adam, Mark Watson, Nabil Abdulrashid, Nick Helm, Pam Ayres, Rachel Parris, Ria Lina, Richard Herring, Rosie Jones, Ross Noble, Seann Walsh, Simon Brodkin, Stewart Lee, Suzi Ruffell, Tim Key and Tony Slattery.

The Gala Preview Show, the festival launch, will take place at De Montfort Hall, Leicester on January 7.

The show will be hosted by star of stage and screen Rosie Jones. and tickets are now on sale from


Written by Emily Miller

Emily is a Senior Journalist for Niche Magazine with over a decade of journalism experience. She enjoys going to gigs, visiting galleries and walking in all weathers.


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