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Welcome to the official home of the Bath Comedy Festival

Welcome to the home of Bath Comedy - for both the Spring time Bath Comedy Festival and events throughout the year.

Latest News

Bath Comedy Club Nights - the return of live indoor comedy!

We're thrilled that our Bath Comedy Club nights will continue fortnightly from September, at Bath's best wharfside arts centre, a.k.a. Widcombe Social Club:

Bath Comedy Club gigs herald a triumphant return for live comedy, with three or more top notch comedians in one night!

Next shows:

Friday 26th Nov: Bath Comedy Club - Widcombe Nights Bumper Edition!
Starring Mark Maier, Ben Woodward, David Tsonos, Holly Leggett & Tor Hudswell
Click here for full details and booking

Friday 3rd Dec: Jess Robinson - The Twelve Days Of Jessmas
An evening of musical comedy and festive fun!
Click here for full details and booking

Sunday 12th Dec: Stand-up, Stand-out, with Silky
Limited place comedy workshop taster session
Click here for full details and booking

Sunday 12th Dec: Suck It And See Sunday With Silky
An evening of music and comedy from a master of both
Click here for full details and booking

Tuesday 14th Dec: Winter Wonderband
Sing-a-longs, foot stompers, beautiful ballads, lots of laughs and musical treats
Click here for full details and booking

See the what's on calendar for more details of all shows on sale now, including Winter season and some exciting big gigs next year...

We are also live-streaming the Club shows - for those who can't be here in person - streaming via our YouTube channel - anyone can watch, anywhere in the world! We ask for a voluntary donation via PayPal, to help support the comedians and keep Bath Comedy rolling.

Covid-secure conditions in the venue include temperature checks, regular sanitising and cleaning, modern air conditioning (fresh air in/out), distancing disguised as cabaret seating and table service.

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Archived News

BATH COMEDY FESTIVAL is proud to present
Permission To Laugh

Permission To Laugh

A Special 16 Day Festival of Live Comedy across Bath

16th - 31st July 2021

Yes! We're allowed to laugh once more, and what better way to celebrate than to enjoy two weeks of top-notch live shows curated by Bath Comedy? Director Nick Steel says "We've tried to honour as many shows from the 2020 Festival-that-never-was as possible, including some big names alongside solo shows from up-and-coming comics and a competition to find the stars of tomorrow."

Stand-up and stand-out highlights at Widcombe Social Club include a work-in-progress show from 'German Comedy Ambassador' Henning Wehn, a by all accounts astounding show from Simon Evans (the content of which is a closely guarded secret!), and a fantastic Friday Night Live Line-up starring Arthur Smith, Silky, David Eagle, Yuriko Kotani and Carey Marx!

There's a unique crossover musical comedy treat in the shape of Ian Shaw, who explores the thrills, horrors and hashtags of living in the modern world, and several different walking tours of Bath brought to you by Arthur Smith, Show of Strength and Natural Theatre Company.

The Affordable Comedy Festival is back with a host of solo shows based at a new venue – the Forum Coffee House – where tickets are £5 in advance, or Free entry (pay what you feel) on the day! Witness works-in-progress from well-established comedians such as Alan Francis, Neil McFarlane & Alistair Barrie, or previews from the best of up-and-coming comedy stars including Bilal Zafar, Chelsea Birkby, Michael Akadiri, Drew Taylor and Sasha Ellen.

Also rising from the still-warm ashes of 2020 – the New Act Competition sees 100 contenders compete in ten heats held at Bath Brew House and a Grand Final at the Forum Ballroom including the presentation of the coveted Lovehoney Bath Comedy New Act Of The Year Award!

Here's to a triumphant return to (ab?)normality and a great big Bath barrel of laughs on the way!

Some shows are only just coming online, and others have had more tickets made available now restrictions are easing – keep your eyes on the What's On page for the ever-evolving line-up and ticket avails.

Permission To Laugh programme

Rescheduling the Festival proper

Further to previous announcements, we are working on rescheduling as many of the posttponed 2020 springtime Festival's shows.

Soon we'll be announcing a "Permission To Laugh" comedy festival in July 2021, and in the meantime we'll be running Bath Comedy Club nights, with appropriate safety measures.

All tickets purchased for previously postponed Festival events remain valid for the rescheduled dates (or refunds are available if you can't make the dates). Bear with us while we reorganise!

If you'd like to read the 2020 Fest on the front cover image below to view the PDF. We will try to honour as many of these shows as we can as we get going again!

Bath Comedy Festival - Crowd Fund launched

It was incredibly sad to have to postpone 2020's springtime Festival, and particularly bad timing just as we were launching the biggest and best line-up to date. Bath Comedy Festival has suffered a huge financial blow from the effects of the pandemic – as you can imagine, such short notice meant that most of this year's non-refundable budget had already been spent. 

We're determined that the Festival will get through this crisis, avert disaster and resurface in as many ways as possible. To this end we've set up a GoFundMe crowd funding campaign, from which every single penny raised will go to paying people and getting our house in order so that we may again present something that everyone in Bath can be proud of, and that everyone involved with will enjoy!
Over the years we've been able to bring an amazing number of top line acts to Bath, whilst encouraging new talent and championing women in comedy. Let's hope we can all get back together sooner rather than later and let the laughs flow once more!
To donate to the fund, click the image below or follow this link to the GoFundMe page:

Thank you to everyone for your help and support, keep well and we'll all be laughing again soon!

Bathtime Comedy Festival

In loo (sic) of a physical Festival, we bring you a series of BathTime Comedy Festival messages, from comedians and patrons:

Our friend and patron Arthur Smith started us off with this message from his bath:

We've set up a special YouTube channel - please visit this channel to view all the BathTime videos, which include messages from Simon Evans, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre and others, plus a series of missives from a certain Lord Rivington, who bears a strange resemblance to comedian Alan Francis...

Please follow us on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and share our announcements and latest news.

Bath Comedy Festival 2020 - POSTPONED

Following the latest advice from the Government on public gatherings, we have decided to postpone Bath Comedy Festival until later this year.  We are working to move the 300+ comedians, 170+ event festival sponsored by, provisionally to September 2020.

Our Festival director Nick Steel says: "It is with much regret and sadness that we have taken the decision to postpone the 12th Bath Comedy Festival, but along with many other event organisations, we must honour our duty of care to audiences and performers alike. We worked incredibly hard to bring these amazing names to perform in our beautiful city, and will be working even harder now to ensure we can still provide much needed entertainment to The City of Bath with a rescheduled event later this year. In these difficult times, comedy is more important than ever and we want to bring laughter back to this city as soon as possible. Our thoughts are with everyone who is being affected by this situation."

We will be consulting closely with venues, artists and management, working with sponsors and partners, and will issue updated information as and when the situation becomes clearer, performance by performance. Tickets already purchased will remain valid for any rescheduled performances once the new dates have been announced, and optional refunds will be available via box offices.

Bath Comedy Festival

Bath Comedy - pre-Festival shows

We are delighted to present a variety of comedy, music, cabaret and food events throughout the year, not just within the springtime Festival itself.

Next up is a return of the ever-popular Bonkers Burns Night at Widcombe Social Club on Saturday 25th January, featuring a fabulous three course supper with all the trimmings, entertainment from stars of The Comedy Store Players and 'Whose Line Is It Anyway', MC Jacky McSween and virtuoso multi-instumentalist John Sampson!

Our favourite 60-seater room upstairs at the Ring O Bells is one of the most intimate comedy venues around. With the pub under new management there's great beers and pub food available downstairs. Come and see the latest refurbishment of this amazing small space as we present two great shows in February - Silky on Tuesday 19th, and Catherine Bohart: Lemon on Wednesday 20th Feb.

Bath Comedy Festival New Act Competition 2019 - David Eagle wins the Lovehoney Newcomer Award

This year's New Act Competition saw a total of 120 long-listed contenders battle it out over twelve heats and two semi-finals, with 10 finalists reaching the Grand Final, judged by a panel comprising comedy industry heavyweights including Graham Smith, Alan Nixon and Jill Edwards, guest judge and master comedian John Moloney plus Bath Comedy Festival Director Nick Steel. Here are the results:

First place: David Eagle
Second place: Martin Durchov
Joint Third place: Chelsea Birkby

David Eagle receives the coveted Lovehoney Newcomer Award, a cheque from Bath Comedy Festival for £250, plus at least two paid appearances at next year's Festival.

New Act Competition Winners
L to R: Chelsea Birkby, Martin Durchov, David Eagle, Geoff Whiting (Mirth Control), Nick Steel, Elaine Sosna (Lovehoney).
Photo by Lloyd Ellington

The announcement was live-streamed on Twitter - click here to watch the video

All the finalists were given a goody bag containing items from Principal Sponsor Lovehoney and Festival Sponsor Bath Ales:
Lovehoney Newcomer Award finalists
L to R: Chelsea Birkby, Martin Durchov, Nathan Eagle, Michael Cummings, Alex Prescot, Paul Hilleard, David Eagle, Nick Steel, Saban Kasim, Fran Kissling, Will Hall, Jenny Laville, Geoff Whiting, Elaine Sosna
Photo by Lloyd Ellington

Read the British Comedy Guide report here

Lovehoney Best Joke Award 2019

This year's Lovehoney Best Joke Award was presented at the end of the Festival's Closing Gala Show at the Apex Hotel, to Bill Clarke, the man behind local favourite character Bill Smarme, for the best innuendo-laden joke of the Festival.

The joke in question was made off the cuff when talking about the weather, with a cheeky wink in the direction of Festival sponsors online sex toy retailers Lovehoney: "…of course we did get some snow…you know what it's like – one day you've got a full 12 inches, then the next day it's all gone".

Nick Steel said "We are hugely grateful to our sponsors Lovehoney and I'm delighted to award the 2019 Lovehoney Best Joke Award, for best innuendo-laden joke, to Bill Smarme, a.k.a. Mr Bill Clarke."

The award was presented at the end of the Festival's Closing Weekend Gala at the Apex Hotel Bath's Conference Centre venue, on stage with a line-up of some of the stars of the evening which included comedians John Moloney, Fred MacAulay, Alan Francis, Emily Rose Simons and Pete Latham.

Lovehoney Best Joke Award presentation
L-R Richard Longhurst (Lovehoney), John Moloney, Nick Steel, Emily Rose Simons, Fred MacAulay, Alan Francis, Barnaby Power, Bill Clarke
Photo by Louisa Gummer

Bill Clarke a.k.a. Bill Smarme, pictured with the Lovehoney Best Joke Award 2019
Photo by Nick Steel

Bath Plug Award 2019

This year's Bath Plug Award, which acknowledges significant achievement or contribution to comedy, was presented to comedian, broadcaster and "famously grumpy old man" Arthur Smith.

Bath Plug Award presentation
Left: Jem Roberts, Arthur Smith, Nick Steel; Right: Arthur Smith & The Smithereens
Photos by Louisa Gummer and Nick Steel

The presentation took place at one of the festival's most popular core venues, Widcombe Social Club, at the end of a moving performance of Smith's show Syd. Accompanied by The Smithereens, the show tells the story of Arthur's father Syd, a POW and PC, on night duty in 1950s London - an ordinary man who lived through extraordinary times.

To present the medal, co-organiser of the Bath Plug Award, author and historian Jem Roberts, was joined on stage by Festival Director Nick Steel, who said the award was "also a personal thank you for all the years of laughter and support, as a friend and as a patron of the festival."

Previous recipients have been Terry Jones, Peter Richardson, Barry Cryer and Rachel Parris.

Bath Life Awards 2019 - Winner

We are delighted to announce another award win for Bath International Comedy Festival in partnership with Visit Bath - the Arts category of the 2019 Bath Life Awards!

Bath Business Awards 2018 - Winner

We are delighted to announce Bath International Comedy Festival in partnership with Visit Bath was awarded the Leisure & Tourism Award at this year's Bath Business Awards. The awards are run by Bath Chronicle and the Leisure & Tourism award was presented by Tarquin McDonald, Chief Executive of Bath Rugby, who sponsored the award, at a ceremony held at the Pavilion hosted by TV star Martin Roberts.

L-R Tarquin McDonald (Bath Rugby), Les Redwood (Visit Bath), Ralph Oswick (Bath Comedy), Martin Roberts (Homes Under The Hammer), Nick Steel (Bath Comedy)

Check the what's on diary for event details and online booking links.

Sign up to the e-mailing list to be among the first to know what's happening. There is an archive of the 2019 festival and year of shows here.

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To keep up to date with the Festival join the e-mailing list below:

Read our archived e-newsletters here


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