Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival Preview Show
Friday 9 January 2015
De Montfort Hall

Dave's Leicester Comedy Festival

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival got out off to a cracking start with their annual festival preview show at De Montfort Hall. Hosted by QI’s own Alan Davies who led the way through a rip roaring evening packed with new comedy talent due to star in February’s festival.

The preview show offers a great way of checking out new acts tipped to be ‘ones to watch’ at the festival and beyond. Past preview show acts reads like a who’s who of comedy with Jimmy Carr, Frankie Boyle, Lee Mack, Russell Howard, Sarah Millican, Jenny Éclair, Jasper Carrott and many more.

Kicking off the evening’s proceedings Irishman Andrew Ryan, with previous performances on BBC3’s Russell Howard’s Good News and Best of the Edinburgh Festival Live shows to his name. Andrew took us through the travails of being single without kids in your early 30s and modern life’s joys such as reversing the call centre security process. Much in demand across Ireland’s and the UK’s biggest comedy clubs, Andrew Ryan plays during the festival at The Cookie on 7 February and The Criterion on 8 February.

Kate Lucas with guitar in tow brought us songs with her self-deprecating and dark wit. Winner of the Leicester Mercury Comedian of the Year 2014, Kate’s growing career includes opening sets for Jo Brand, Omid Djalili and Harry Hill. Kate has a great lyrical and cutting style; with a cheeky grin she delivers songs such as ‘What if you had a kid and didn’t like it’ she describes the miracle of birth in her own hilarious way and relationship joy on ‘How could you, you bastard! Lurking behind those cheeky songs is some great new incisive writing, check her out in the intimate surroundings of the Globe on 18 February.

Canadian Booby Mair stepped into the breach of the cancellation of Nish Kumar’s appearance. The late booking didn’t stop him being one of my highlights of the night. His dry and cutting style brought us stories of his one night stand experience in Leicester, favourite X-Men and one of the lines of the night “Stop touching me (kids), you’re violating my parole”. Bobby Mair is probably best described by Jimmy Carr “A brilliant stand-up. He’s either going to be a huge international comedy star or the funniest homeless man ever”. Bobby’s full hour of stand-up is at The Cookie on 20 February.

Bring the first half to a close was the ever hilarious Jarred Christmas. A festival faithful and I think the one comedian I’ve seen most, he’s been at the festival for the past 12 years. His great storytelling style brought a needed energy to proceedings with a breakdown of the months of the year and favourite of the night, how to properly play Monopoly round at his new girlfriend’s families house. Get your tickets early for his show at Firebug on 20 February.

Winner of Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer 2014, Alex Edelman was hotly tipped as ‘Best Comedians under 25’ by New York Underground Comedy Festival. Alex delivered great stories of a family tradition of coming out at Thanksgiving, serving under a Colonel at KFC and the joy of Greggs. With some of the best writing of the night, I’m definitely looking forward to his full set at The Cookie on 5 February.

Brutally honest and frank Tim Renknow, winner of Leicester Square New Comedian of the Year in 2013. Tim has a severe case of Cerebral Palsy which perhaps made the crowd feel a little uncomfortable at the start but the crowd soon warmed to his material, particularly the merits of being able to kick Hitler’s ass! See Tim bring his dark but funny material to LCB Depot on 13 February.

Closing the night was renowned Sara Pascoe, that’s Sara, definitely without the h, winner of the 2014 Chortle Breakthough Award. With a witty and amicable style, it’s a shame her set came last up as the crowd seemed to run out of steam, looking to catch her again at Just the Tonic’s residency, Hansom Hall on 14 February.

Booby Mair, Alex Edelman and Jarred Christmas were faves on the night, but the preview show is a fantastic night of comedy catching new and established talent and giving an enticing taste of what promises to be a brilliant festival next month!

Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival 2015 will be its 22nd year. The festival takes place from 4– 22 February, with over 600 shows across more than 50 city venues. Check out the full festival programme and get booking! www.comedy-festival.co.uk

By James Hickford